Swaziland Basics

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The Basics


Time: Local time is GMT +2.

Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. The plug type used is a 15-amp round, three-pin plug as used in South Africa.

Money: The official currency is the Lilangeni (SZL), plural Emalangeni, which is equal to 100 cents. The South African Rand is also accepted as legal tender (notes only) and is pegged to the Lilangeni (L1=R1). Visitors should exchange any Emalangeni they have left back into their own currency before leaving the country. Travellers cheques are widely accepted and are best taken in US Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling, to avoid high commission. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. Banks are generally open Monday to Friday, and some banks are open on Saturdays. Visa ATM machines are available in the main towns.

Currency Exchange Rates

SZL1.00 = USD 0.07GBP 0.05CAD 0.09AUD 0.10ZAR 1.00EUR 0.06NZD 0.11
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: The official languages are Siswati and English.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. A valid passport is required. Extensions of up to 90 days are possible.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK citizens do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. A valid passport is required.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. Extensions are possible up to a maximum of 90 days. A valid passport is required.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australians do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. Extensions are possible up to a maximum of 90 days. A valid passport is required.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African nationals do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. Extensions are possible up to a maximum of 90 days. A valid passport is required.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: Nationals of New Zealand do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. Extensions are possible up to a maximum of 90 days. A valid passport is required.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. Extensions are possible up to a maximum of 90 days. A valid passport is required.

Passport/Visa Note: All visitors require a passport, tickets and documents for return or onward travel, and sufficient funds to cover their stay. Travellers wishing to stay longer than 90 days may obtain a Temporary Residence Permit from the Chief Immigration Officer at Mbabane prior to expiration of visa-free travel. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: For health purposes, travellers arriving in Swaziland within six days of having been in a yellow fever infected area require a vaccination certificate. Hepatitis A, rabies, polio and typhoid vaccinations are recommended, as are malaria prevention measures for those visiting the lowland areas. Bilharzia exists in some rivers, and cholera outbreaks occur. There is an extremely high HIV/AIDS infection rate and all precautions should be taken. Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink and food, including dairy products, presents no risk. Medical facilities are poor in the country, but the tourist hotels offer private services for minor problems. Serious cases can be transported to South Africa for treatment. Medical insurance is recommended.

Tipping: Service charges are not normally included in bills, but tips of 10% are customary.

Safety Information: The crime rate is low and most visits are trouble free. It is wise, however, to take precautions against theft, and avoid travelling by road at night as there is a danger of hijacking.

Local Customs: While Swaziland has no law in place that deals with matters of LGBTI relationships, it is frowned upon and majority of its people practice societal discrimination against the LGBTI community.

Business: In Swaziland business etiquette is quite informal, however lightweight suits are recommended for meetings. Entertaining and meetings often take place outdoors due to a temperate climate. Appointments should be made in advance and business cards carried for identification. Handshakes are the normal form of greeting for both men and women. Meetings are not restricted to business matters only and may take a while over prolonged lunches. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken at lunch.

Communications: The international dialling code for Swaziland is +268 and the outgoing code 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). The city code (0)67 is used for Villaverde de Guadealimar only. The country is covered by a GSM 900 mobile network, and an Internet service provider is active. Post offices open weekdays from 8am to 5pm, and Saturdays 8am to 11am. Public telephones are well distributed through the towns and villages.

Duty Free: Travellers to Swaziland do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 20 cigars and 250g tobacco; 2 litres of wine and 50ml of perfume.