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Eswatini

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local conditions.
  • Pickpocketing, theft and other petty crime 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.
  • Carjacking is a threat along major routes from South Africa and Mozambique, especially at night. Avoid travelling into and out of Eswatiniat night. See Safety and security.
  • Driving in Eswatini can be dangerous. Be alert to hazards. See Local travel.
  • The level of HIV/AIDS infection in Eswatini is very high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection. See Health.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Eswatini. The Australian High Commission in South Africa provides consular assistance to Australians in Eswatini.

Entry and exit   

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

You can enter Eswatini for tourist purposes for up to 30 days without a visa. For other visits you'll need to get a visa in advance.

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

More information:

Other formalities

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. More information: Yellow fever risk and certification requirements (by country, World Health Organisation).

If you're travelling to or from Eswatini through South Africa (including transiting), read the Entry and exit section of the travel advice for South Africa. South Africa has specific documentation requirements for children and does not accept provisional travel documents. Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate requirements apply.

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

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country. 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 place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

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

Money

The Lilangeni is the currency of Eswatini. Declare all amounts in excess of Lilangeni 15,000 on arrival. SZL is not convertible. The South African Rand notes are widely accepted. International credit cards are accepted in major centres and many tourist facilities. ATMs are widely available. Contact your bank to ensure that your cards will be accepted in Eswatini.

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.

Car-jacking has been reported along major routes from South Africa and Mozambique, especially at night.

  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid displaying expensive watches, jewellery, phones and cameras.
  • Avoid walking alone, particularly at night and in isolated areas.
  • Keep vehicles doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight at all times, including when moving.
  • Avoid travelling into and out of Eswatini at night due to the threat of carjacking.
  • Due to the very high rate of HIV/AIDS, if you are a victim of violent crime, especially rape, seek immediate medical assistance.

Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations occur periodically and can lead to violent clashes between protestors and security forces.

  • Avoid protests, demonstrations and other large gatherings.
  • Monitor the media for reports of planned or possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Road travel

You're four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Eswatini than in Australia. Driving hazards include lack of street lighting, inadequately maintained vehicles, the presence of pedestrians and livestock on roads, and poor local driving practices including excessive speed.

  • Check you have adequate insurance cover before you drive.
  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
  • Be alert to possible hazards at all times.
  • Beware of animals and pedestrians straying onto roads.
  • Avoid travelling alone in remote rural areas.
  • Don't travel into or out of Eswatini by road at night due to the threat of carjacking. See Safety and security.

Driver's licence

You can drive in Eswatini with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must get your IDP before departing Australia.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle.  Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Use only registered taxis, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Avoid hailing taxis on the street, as they are poorly maintained.

Public transport

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

Air travel

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 local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

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.

If you're 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 Pretoria, South Africa.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include mandatory prison sentences. More information: Drugs

Other laws

Serious offences, such as murder and treason, carry the death penalty. Corporal punishment exists, including for children.

Activities that are illegal in Eswatini include:

  • possessing pornographic material
  • photographing government buildings, military installations, armed forces, royal residences or official ceremonies
  • homosexuality - more information: LGBTI travellers.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Eswatini doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide you consular assistance if you're an Australian-Eswatini dual national and you're arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

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. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

HIV/AIDS

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is very high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Insect-borne diseases

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.

 Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof, including with treated mosquito nets
  • avoid insect bites, use insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including cholera, hepatitis, bilharzia, tuberculosis and rabies) occur.

  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities is limited. There can be shortages of basic medications.

Hospitals require confirmation of insurance cover or a guarantee of payment before commencing treatment.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.  

Natural disasters

Natural disasters

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

Severe weather

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

Severe weather can impact your travel. Monitor local media for up-to-date information.

If you're visiting an area recently affected by severe weather:

  • confirm your plans and activities with your tour operator or travel provider
  • check the condition of infrastructure and facilities with local tour operators and hotels.

More information: Severe weather

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, 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.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Police, Medical Emergency, Fire: phone 999

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

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

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia does not have a High Commission of Embassy in Eswatini. You can get consular assistance from the Australian High Commission in Pretoria, 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
Facebook: Australian High Commission in South Africa
Twitter: @AuHCSouthAfrica

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

If you can't contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources