Traveling Luck for Swaziland. Swaziland, Africa

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Swaziland is located in Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa.

Land in Swaziland is mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains.

Swazi land covers an area of 17363 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than New Jersey

Swaziland has borders with Mozambique for 105km and South Africa for 430km.

Swazi flag Swazi national flag (Flag of Swaziland)

As for the Swazi climate; varies from tropical to near temperate.

Swazi(s) speak English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official).

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Places of note in Swaziland

Swazi Map Swazi map

Regions of Swaziland

Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted in 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s pressured the monarchy (one of the oldest on the continent) to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy. Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection.

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Country Profile for Swaziland

In this small, landlocked economy, subsistence agriculture occupies more than 80% of the population. The manufacturing sector has diversified since the mid-1980s. Sugar and wood pulp remain important foreign exchange earners. Mining has declined in importance in recent years with only coal and quarry stone mines remaining active. Surrounded by South Africa, except for a short border with Mozambique, Swaziland is heavily dependent on South Africa from which it receives about nine-tenths of its imports and to which it sends nearly two-thirds of its exports. Customs duties from the Southern African Customs Union and worker remittances from South Africa substantially supplement domestically earned income. The government is trying to improve the atmosphere for foreign investment. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and sometimes floods persist as problems for the future. More than one-fourth of the population needed emergency food aid in 2004-05 because of drought, and nearly two-fifths of the adult population has been infected by HIV/AIDS.

Swazi natural resources include asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc

landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa

Swazi religion is Zionist 40% (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship), Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish and other 30%.

Natural hazards in Swaziland include drought.

Travel Advice for Swaziland

Swaziland

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Health section (rabies).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • There is no British High Commission in Swaziland, but there is an Honorary British Consul in Mbabane who can be contacted for emergency consular assistance only (see contact details below).  All other enquiries should be directed to the British High Commission in Pretoria.

  • Do not drive at night along the N4 or other isolated roads, as there is a risk of being hijacked. Livestock and unlit parked vehicles pose additional hazards.

  • HIV/AIDS prevalence is high –around 43% of the local population are infected.

  • The threat from terrorism is low. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • Around 40,000 British tourists visit Swaziland every year.  Most visits are trouble free. The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Swaziland is for replacing lost or stolen passports.  You should keep a photocopy of your passport with you and keep the original in a safe place.

  • Crime levels are low but sensible precautions are needed.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

The political situation is stable, but demonstrations do occur.  You should avoid any large public gathering.
Local Travel
All areas of Swaziland are accessible, though care should be taken in rural areas (see Road Safety below).
Road Safety
The standard of driving is lower than in the UK.  Drivers often cross the central reservation to avoid obstructions.  Speeding (the maximum speed limit is 120 km) by other drivers is a problem on the good tarmac roads.  The minor roads are not well maintained and road markings are poor.
On rural roads there have been a number of serious accidents and deaths as a result of animals straying onto roads.  Avoid driving on rural roads at night.  As well as the risk of hitting animals, there is the additional risk of abandoned unlit trailers and poorly lit heavy vehicles.
Do not use public transport (buses and taxis).  Vehicles are poorly maintained and overloaded.
Be wary of anyone who offers you help if you breakdown or need to change a tyre as it presents the opportunity for theft, muggings and hijackings.  You should park in well-lit areas.  Do not pick up strangers. Do not stop to assist (apparently) distressed motorists, as these are all techniques sometimes used by hijackers.  It is better to report the incident to the police.
UK or international driving licences (provided the latter are in English) are acceptable.
Air Safety
The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.  You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel: http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/air/safety/flywell_en.htm


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Drug taking (dagga/marijuana) and smuggling, though common in local culture, is illegal.  Foreign nationals have been imprisoned on drug offences.  Penalties can be severe.
Homosexuality is legal.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Visa
British passport holders and most Commonwealth citizens do not require visas for Swaziland.  Visitors will normally be given entry permission for up to fourteen days.  This can be extended at the Swaziland Immigration Department in Mbabane.  All Swaziland border posts open daily throughout the year but hours of operation are variable.
Vehicles
If you travel in a vehicle other than one registered in South Africa, you will have to complete Form 36 at Swazi border posts on entry and departure for customs purposes.
Vehicles may be searched at the borders.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration, please contact: Swaziland's representation in the UK


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling, including cover for medical evacuation.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance
Basic healthcare is available, but there are increasing shortages of even basic medications.  Medical evacuation to South Africa is necessary for serious accidents and emergencies. Local private hospitals can arrange evacuation but only if you are fully insured or you can produce funds in advance to pay for evacuation and treatment.

There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland.  You should be aware of the dangers of infection from unprotected sex.

Bilharzia, a tropical flat worm found in water and which is parasitic in humans, exist in some rivers.

Malaria is common in most parts of the country apart from Mbabane and other parts of the highveld. More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as taking malaria prevention tablets. However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country.  Before travelling you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Swaziland.

Anyone intending to camp or walk in the bush should be aware of the risk of tick bites.

Rabies is endemic in most African countries.  The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals and transmitted to humans through bites, scratches or contact of saliva with broken skin and can be fatal once symptoms manifest themselves.  All travellers who have possibly been exposed to the rabies virus, whether by bites, scratches or other exposure, should seek medical advice without delay (even if pre-exposure vaccine was received).  This also applies to travellers in low risk areas in case other animal-transmitted infections are present, or the animal may have strayed across the border from an endemic country.  More information can be found o9n the National Travel Health Network and Centre website at:  http://www.nathnac.org.

You should take good hygiene precautions, such as washing fruit and vegetables.  Drinking water may not be safe, especially in rural areas.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on health check the Department of Health website at: www.dh.gov.uk.
NATURAL DISASTERS
Swaziland has suffered from a drought in the lowveld in the past two years.  In the wet summer months (November to April) violent thunderstorms with lightning and heavy rains are common in the highveld areas.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see: What We Can Do To Help
There is no British High Commission in Swaziland, but there is an Honorary British Consul in Mbabane, who can be contacted  for assistance with consular emergencies only.

Frank Pettit
PO Box A 41
Eveni
Mbabane
H103
Swaziland

Telephone/Fax: +268 551 6247

E-mail: honbritcon@realnet.co.sz

All other enquiries should be directed to the British High Commission in Pretoria, who cover Swaziland.
Before you set off, you should ensure that your passport retains sufficient validity for your stay and has several unused pages remaining. Applications for new passports are accepted by the Consular Section at the British High Commission in Pretoria in person or by courier (if a courier is used, the cost is borne by the applicant).

Money

The local currency (Emalangeni) is not convertible. South African Rands are accepted, as are most major credit cards. ATM machines are readily available.