Travel Guide

Travel Advice

Best Time to Travel/Climate

As with all Southern Hemisphere countries, seasons are opposite to that of the majority of Europe and North America in the Northern Hemisphere. Generally speaking, rain falls mostly during the summer months, often in the form of thunderstorms typical of tropical environments, although Swaziland can vary from tropical to temperate.

The dry season (Winter) lasts from mid-April to mid-October, with an average temperature of 20°C (the days being sunny and the nights chilly). The rainy season begins at the end of October, lasting through to March. During the dry seasons expect hot days when the sun is out, but temperatures can drop quickly at night with extra layers needed at all year round.

Variations in temperature are also dependent on the altitude of the different regions with temperatures of up to 40 degree having been recorded in some areas. 

All activities in Swaziland are available year-round, but for some suggestions of what to try when, have a look at our Swaziland Calendar, and don't forget all the Events that go in in Swaziland each year.

Health & Safety

It is wise to be up to date on tetanus, polio and diphtheria (now given as an all-in-one vaccine), and hepatitis A. Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is needed if you are coming from a yellow fever endemic area, though a yellow fever vaccine is not needed for Swaziland alone. Immunisation against cholera is no longer required for Swaziland. Anti-Malarial pills are only needed if travelling to the eastern side of the country (the lowveld and Lubombo Mountains), including the reserves of the Lubombo Conservancy. However, Swaziland is also getting close to being malaria free - see here. There is a tremendously high HIV and AIDS infection rate, and therefore all precautions should be taken. Gastrointestinal infections can be avoided through regularly washing hands, along with fruits and vegetables.

Medical facilities in Swaziland are generally poor; however minor problems can be checked through private services offered by some hotels. In some serious cases, the poor health care available can mean that transfers to South Africa are need. It is recommended that all visitors have medical insurance.

Security checks from border forces and the local police aren’t uncommon, especially for tourists. Checks will get finished quicker and without problems provided that tourists are patient during them. With regards to crime, usual precautions should be taken when visiting an unknown place. Try to limit taking valuables out of the accommodation when possible, especially at night. 

Dress

Dress is generally informal. For safaris, "natural " colours should be worn in preference to light/bright colours. In the uplands, especially in the winter (April-September), it can be cold in the evening and sweaters may be needed. It can be very cold on morning or night safari drives. 

Currency

The unit of currency in Swaziland is the Lilangeni - plural Emalangeni (E) - which is fixed to the rand (1 Rand = 1 Lilangeni). South African Rands are accepted everywhere and there’s no need to change them. In fact, some outside tourist areas will only accept the South African notes.

Emalangeni are difficult to exchange for other currencies outside Swaziland, so you should reconvert before you leave. If you are leaving through the airport you could use your last E50 for the compulsory departure tax.

Credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops but not for the purchase of petrol. Most ATMs in Swaziland accept international cards. If you have a Maestro or Cirrus debit card you can use Standard Bank ATMs to withdraw money.

Standard Bank, First National and Nedbank have branches in all the main centres. Opening hours are generally 8.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday, and until 1pm on Saturdays.

100 USD = 1523.03 SZL
100 GBP = 2129.20 SZL
100 EUR = 1,676.63 SZL
(rates current as of Feb 2016)

Declaring Goods

It is important to note the rules and regulations with regards to taking goods bought within Swaziland, out of the country. When you buy goods from Swaziland and taking them to another country, tourists will be required to declare goods and are required to buy a form and fill it for the declaration processes (which costs 41.50zar). The allowance for goods out of Swaziland is to the value of 250 ZAR per person.