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Swaziland

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Swaziland. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
  • Petty crime such as pickpocketing and robbery is common in major towns. Violent crime also occurs. Security risks are greater at night, including on roads and in rural areas. See Safety and security.
  • Avoid travelling into and out of Swaziland at night due to the threat of carjacking. Carjacking has been reported in major routes from South Africa and Mozambique. See Safety and security.
  • Driving in Swaziland can be dangerous due to poor driving practices, speed, lack of street lighting, inadequately maintained vehicles and the presence of pedestrians and livestock on the roads. See Local travel.
  • The level of HIV/AIDS infection in Swaziland is very high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Swaziland. The Australian High Commission in South Africa provides consular assistance to Australians in Swaziland.

Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the Swaziland High Commission in South Africa for up-to-date information.

You'll need to show a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if you're arriving within six days of visiting a country with yellow fever infected areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides a list of yellow fever countries.

Transiting South Africa: If you are travelling to or from Swaziland through South Africa (including transiting), read the Entry and exit section of our travel advice for South Africa. South Africa has specific documentation requirements for children travelling to South Africa. South Africa has specific requirements for Yellow Fever vaccination. South Africa does not accept provisional travel documents (i.e. one page travel documents).

You may be refused entry by local officials if you attempt to enter the country as a same-sex married couple.

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.

Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime such as pickpocketing and robbery is common in major towns, particularly Mbabane and Manzini. Incidents of violent crime, including armed assault and car-jacking, also occur. Security risks are greater at night, including on roads and in rural areas.

Avoid travelling into and out of Swaziland at night due to the threat of carjacking. Car-jacking has been reported in major routes from South Africa and Mozambique.

Due to the very high rate of HIV/AIDS, if you are a victim of violent crime, especially rape, seek immediate medical assistance.

Don't expect the same level of service from police as you would in Australia.

Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations occur periodically and can lead to violent clashes between protestors and security forces. Avoid large public gatherings and street demonstrations, as they may turn violent.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information:  Terrorist threat worldwide

Money and valuables

The Lilangeni is the local currency of Swaziland. The South African Rand is widely accepted.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe and dry place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:

Local travel

Driving can be dangerous due to poor driving practices, speed, lack of street lighting, inadequately maintained vehicles and the presence of pedestrians and livestock on the roads. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you're four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Swaziland than in Australia.

More information: Road safety and driving

Avoid travelling into or out of Swaziland by road at night due to the threat of carjacking. Avoid travelling alone in remote rural areas.

Avoid travel by bus and taxi, as they are poorly maintained and often overloaded.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include mandatory prison sentences.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Serious offences, such as murder and treason, carry the death penalty.

It is illegal to possess pornographic material.

Photography of government buildings, military installations, armed forces, royal residences and official ceremonies is prohibited.

Homosexuality is illegal and penalties include a minimum of two years imprisonment.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Corporal punishment exists, including for children.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia.

If you are detained or arrested, the authorities may not automatically notify the Australian Government. As soon as possible ask police or prison officials to notify the Australian High Commission in the Pretoria, South Africa.

Information for dual nationals

Swaziland does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Swaziland dual nationals who are arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Get comprehensive travel insurance to cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

More information:

The standard of medical facilities is limited. There can be shortages of basic medications. Hospitals will require confirmation of insurance cover or a guarantee of payment before commencing treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with the required facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation costs would be considerable.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is very high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Malaria occurs throughout the year in most areas except the capital Mbabane and the highlands (Highveld). Other insect-borne diseases (including filariasis, plague and African sleeping sickness) are also common. Take measures to avoid insect bites including using insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof. Consult your doctor.
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including cholera, hepatitis, bilharzia, tuberculosis and rabies) occur. Boil drinking water or drink bottled water with intact seals, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies

For criminal issues, contact the local police. The national emergency number is 999. Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

To complain about tourism services, contact the service provider directly.

Australian Government

Australia does not have a High Commission in Swaziland. You can get consular assistance from the nearest Australian High Commission in South Africa:

Australian High Commission, Pretoria

292 Orient Street
Arcadia
Pretoria 0083, Republic of South Africa
Telephone: (27 12) 4236000
Fax: (27 12) 3428442
Website: southafrica.highcommission.gov.au
Email: consular.pretoria@dfat.gov.au

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the above High Commission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Expect severe thunderstorms with lightning and heavy rains during wet summer months (October to April).

Additional resources