Swaziland Travel Advice

Last updated on the 10/07/07


Travelling in Swaziland is generally considered safe. The threat of terrorism is low but with the current global situation you should be aware of the possibility of indiscriminate attacks against civilians, especially in places frequented by foreigners.

Most visits to Swaziland are without incidence. The main problem being reported is lost or stolen passports. Always keep your original passport in a safe place and make a photocopy to carry with you.

Crime levels are low but take sensible precautions.

Travelling on the roads at night can be hazardous, especially the N4 or other isolated roads. There is a risk of hijacking. Other potential hazards are unlit parked vehicles and livestock in the road.

Health wise, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is high, about 43% of the local population is affected.

As normal, it is strongly recommended that you take comprehensive travel and medical insurance before commencing your journey. Check all exclusions and a policy that covers you for all the activities that you might participate in.

Safety and Security

Crime and Terrorism

The level of crime in Swaziland is considered to be low but as with all countries street crime and burglaries happen. Violence is sometimes involved and cars have been taken at knifepoint. Petty crime like robbery and pickpocketing are common in major towns such as the capital Mbabane and Manzini. It is advised to avoid walking in the downtown areas of Mbabane and Manzini after dark.

Travelling by road at night, especially in and out of Swaziland, should be avoided. There have been incidences of car hijacking on the major routes from south Africa and Mozambique.

If you are involved in a violent crime, especially rape, you are strongly advised to seek immediate medical assistance because of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

Victims of crime should immediately report the incident to the nearest police station. In an emergency the police can be contacted by dialling 999.

The threat from terrorism is considered to be low but with the current global situation people should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks against civilian targets and to be vigilant in places frequented by foreigners.

Local Travel

Swaziland in general is very accessible by road. Care has to be taken in rural areas.

The standard of driving in Swaziland leaves a lot to be desired. Traffic accidents pose an even greater hazard than crime. Speeding is the major cause and extra caution should be taken on the major tarmac roads. Driving can be very erratic and aggressive.

On rural roads, livestock straying in to the road pose a major obstacle. Driving at night is best avoided due to poor lighting of roads, vehicles and abandoned trailers.

If you breakdown or need to change a tyre, be wary of anyone who offers to help you. This presents the opportunity for thefts, hijackings and muggings.

You are advised to park in well lit areas, not to pick up strangers, assist (apparently) distressed motorists, as these are techniques used by hijackers. If in doubt, contact the police.

It is best to avoid public transport. Many of the vehicles are overloaded and do not meet minimal safety standards. Unfortunately fatal accidents are very common using these vehicles.

Airline Safety

Caution is advised when travelling to Swaziland by air. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Swaziland’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for the oversight of Swaziland ’s air carrier operations.

Many Swaziland Airlines also appear on the European Unions banned list. Last updated on the 4/07/07. Details can be found at:

Money and Valuables

We have no specific information on Swaziland with regards to money and valuables.

As with other countries, we would advise before going, to organise different ways to access your money whilst abroad. The most common are travellers' cheques, cash and credit cards. You may find ATMs and Credit cards are not as well supported as your home country, check with your bank for more details.

Make copies of important documents such as passports, tickets and visas. Keep a copy with you and another with somebody else back home. Remember your passport is a valuable document to criminals. Keep it in a safe place at all times and insist that it is locked in a safe when ever possible.

Try not to tempt thieves by carrying large amounts of cash, wearing conspicuous jewellery and keeping items like mobile phone and cameras out of view.

Local Laws and Customs

Penalties in Swaziland can be severe for serious crimes. Murder and treason still carry the death sentence.

Even though taking dagga/marijuana is common in local culture, it is still illegal and foreign nationals have been imprisoned.

The law on homosexuality in Swaziland is unclear.

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office "homosexuality is legal" and the Australian government site www.smartraveller.gov.au states "Consensual homosexual acts between adults are not illegal in Swaziland although the local community is generally intolerant of same sex relationships."

Other sources such as www.mask.org.za report it as being illegal.

The courts in Swaziland have discretion to impose a sentence of corporal punishment especially where an offender is below the age of 18.

Taking photographs of government buildings and military installations is prohibited.

Different tribes and cultures have different dress and behaviour codes so please check beforehand so as not to offend.


Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Swaziland
Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice - Swaziland
U.S Department of State - Travel.State.Gov - Swaziland


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