What do I need when travelling to the Kingdom of eSwatini (Swaziland)
This small landlocked country inside South Africa is a place filled with diverse natural beauties and culture. Swaziland is famous for their excellent craftsmen and have many markets around the country.
Ruled by their king Mswati III, Swaziland has now changed their name from Swaziland to eSwatini.
The borders between South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland are international borders so you need to bring a valid passport. There is a 30- day time period given to tourists to go around the country. If you wish to stay longer, you must go to the Ministry of Home Affairs in Mbabane the capital city of eSwatini to receive an extension. Passports need at least 2 empty pages and be valid for a full month upon entry to eSwatini
Most of the time you wont need to have a VISA to get into the country, but there are a few exceptions as some places you do need it, but from South Africa you don’t. When going through customs, make sure to smile and be nice as the people working has seen so many people and your attitude can lift up their mood. For more information on visas and types of visas, please follow this link to the official government page http://www.gov.sz/index.php/ministries-departments/ministry-of-home-affairs/81-home-affairs/home-affairs/1301-visa
Going through the customs at the border post you will need to declare all your technical devices, not declaring them means that you could face “import” taxes should you have a search. The country is a peaceful one but it is good to rather declare than not. It is also a protective method for yourself to prove ownership of the item.
Items expected to declare are: Laptops, Cameras, Ipads, firearms. These might change over time, but expect to declare these items
Alcohol: this is also allowed in a small amount and larger amounts of alcohol will need to be declared possibly regarding import duties as well.
Cars: car or motor vehicle registration documents might be needed to prove ownership, so the driver/owner of the vehicle should pack a copy of these documents as well.
Border personnel are friendly but professional, and the visitors are asked to be the same through the posts.
Please refer to the official government site to ensure you have all the updated facts as well.
Accommodation should be booked before hand to ensure you have space and are expected.
For self catering, catered accommodation, luxury lodges and tented camps in the Royal Jozini Private Game Reserve.
What to pack for a trip to eSwatini:
When travelling to Swaziland there are things that you will need in your bag.
- Something that you will really need is a camera so you can take pictures of all the game in the reserves and all the weird and wonderful places where you will make memories.
- Money will be needed as you are travelling over the border. The currencies in eSwatini (Swaziland) are South African Rand and Swazi Lilangeni.
- Take a basic medical kit and make sure to consult you travel clinic and get something to help in case of traveller’s diarrhoea, flu, sore throats. Other medical kit items are: pain/headache tablets, personal chronic medication. The Royal Jozini game reserve is in a low risk malaria area, but Tabard/Peaceful sleep or insect repellent in summer is a must in Africa.
- There is a food restriction at the border in Swaziland. Food restrictions in eSwatini cover dairy products, meat, fruits, vegetables and plants. The restriction covers the amount of food taken which means that for the self catering accommodation, you can bring food in but with a limit to ensure it is not for illegal marketing purposes. Taking snacks will be necessary as there are not many places where you can stop for takeaways etc. You will need to take something to keep you busy for when you driving around or want to do some work. Good ideas are dried fruit, nuts and raisins, crisps, water, sandwiches etc. Please also remember to take the rubbish from snacks with you to throw away at the camp or in the cities.
- Car spares: Spare tyres, make sure you have the car jack in the car, as well as the correct size spanners is needed.
- Oil, distilled water and other supplies are available and easier to find in the cities (Manzini and Mbabane), but it is always good to have a small stock in your vehicle anyway.
- Petrol/diesel are available
- Maps will be a great asset as there are different routes to take. There are beautiful scenic routes you can take around Swaziland. Internet data will be accessible in certain areas, and should be set on roaming to ensure your GPS is functioning optimally. Roads are good quality in most areas, but there are some arease with potholes. Game Reserves generally have dirt roads making 4 x 4 a better choice in vehicle, but not essential.
- Tips: especially around the cities and speed limits need to be adhered to.