Swaziland Travel Information
About Swaziland, Africa
Swaziland holds the accolade as the only absolute monarchy in Africa (and one of only a handful left in the world). The king, Mswati III, plays a central role in political and cultural life, with the country’s most important annual events closely linked with his household.
With traditional customs still central to everyday life, the Kingdom of Swaziland offers an unparalleled insight into Africa’s tribal societies in a setting that is safe and welcoming to visitors. Combine this with a varied landscape and the most iconic species on the continent, and you have a nation ripe for exploration.
Though smaller events involving traditional dress and celebrations can be found across the country at almost any time of year, it is the set piece ceremonies that draw the largest number of participants. In fact, the Umhlanga (Reed Dance) festival is one of Africa’s biggest cultural events. Thousands of unmarried Swazi women travel to the round, mud-brick buildings of the royal compound at Ludzidzini, where they pay tribute to the Queen Mother with reeds, song, and dance.
Around the turn of the year, the Incwala or Kingship Dance is a rare survivor of what was once common across southern Africa. The highlight of the week-long festival is the spectacular sight of Swazi men in full battle regalia the likes of which you will not have seen outside a Hollywood blockbuster.
Swaziland also hosts a great diversity of landscape, ranging from river valleys, cool mountainous Highveld in the west, and hotter and dryer Lowveld in the east. A typical African landscape of acacia-dotted grasslands, the Lowveld is where Swaziland’s most iconic wildlife can be viewed. Mkhaya Game Reserve, one of 17 protected areas, is considered one of the very best places in Africa to witness rhino in their natural habitat.
Friendly, safe and spirited, Swaziland’s distinct and ever-present cultural traditions, together with its landscapes and wildlife, make this small land-locked country a unique and enticing destination.
Swaziland weather, climate and geography
Best Time To Visit
Due to the variations in altitude the weather is changeable. Except in the lowland, it is rarely uncomfortably hot and nowhere very cold, although frosts occasionally occur in the Highveld which has a wetter, temperate climate. The Middleveld and Lubombo are drier and subtropical with most rain from October to March.
Bring light clothing, linens are good, and a jacket for the evenings. Waterproofs are rarely needed unless you’re doing a lot of walking between October and March.
Swaziland is surrounded to the north, west and south by the Mpumulanga of South Africa and to the east by Mozambique. There are four main topographical regions: the Highveld Inkangala, a wide ribbon of partly reforested, rugged country including the Usutu pine forest; the Peak Timbers in the northwest; the Middleveld, which rolls down from the Highveld through hills and fertile valleys; and the Lowveld, or bush country, with hills rising from 170 to 360m (560 to 1,180ft).
The Lubombo plateau is an escarpment along the eastern fringe of the Lowveld, comprising mainly cattle country and mixed farmland. One of the best-watered areas in southern Africa, Swaziland’s four major rivers are the Komati, Usutu, Mbuluzi and Ngwavuma, flowing west-east to the Indian Ocean.
Swaziland Passport And Visa Requirements
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To enter Swaziland, a passport valid for at least three months upon entry is required by nationals referred to in the chart above.
Visas for Swaziland are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to 30 days, except:
1. Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania.
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy/high commission to check visa requirements for Swaziland.
Types And Costs
Single-entry visa: E80; multiple-entry visa: E300 (three months), E700 (six months), E1,000 (nine months) or E1,300 (12 months).
Single-entry visa: three months; multiple-entry visa: three to 12 months.
Consulate (or consular section at embassy).
Swaziland Health Care & Vaccinations
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* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from an infected area.
Although medical facilities are generally limited in Swaziland, Mbabame Clinic is well-equipped to deal with minor problems. Most international visitors will use private services, frequently attached to the larger hotels. The public sector is improving and treatment is available at low cost. In emergency cases, where specialized treatment is required, the patient may be transported to a South African hospital. Health insurance is recommended. Personal medications may be brought into the country, but a doctor’s note is advisable in case of questioning by authorities.
Mains water is generally safe but bottled or sterilized water is preferable. Drinking water outside major cities and towns may be contaminated. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption; exercise caution if milk is of uncertain provenance. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water; swimming pools which are well chlorinated and maintained are safe.