Swaziland Travel Information
Background and History of Swaziland
As you travel through the country, you will discover that Swaziland has a quaint offering of diverse vegetation at every turn from which one would probably expect from a larger country. Swaziland today is borne out of an ancient dynasty of royal leadership which reflects in the status accorded to the King and Queen Mother, in a unique dual monarchy. The country of Swaziland as well as its people were named after the King Mswati II, identified through many names and said to be the greatest of the fighting kings to rule Swaziland.
The ruling of King Sobhuza saw the first white settlers in the 1890’s from South Africa when eventually Transvaal claimed sovereignty over the country but never truly established power. The King was preceeded by Queen Lojiba Simelane after his death in 1980 whereafter a he was succeeded by another Queen Thandile Ndwandwe. When choosing a king the successor is related to the status of the mother and her high rank. The queen mother is chosen by the Royal Council after the death of a King.
Currently the Dlamini Kings are in power where the Queen Mother may never be a Dlamini and only ever have one son – no king is allowed to be followed by blood brothers. The "Nkosi` meaning KING and Dlamini ( The Royal Family name) is thus expected to choose wives from a range of sectors across the community. Independence was established in 1968, on the 6th September from the United Kingdom.
Travel Safely and enjoy this magical Swazi Kingdom!
People and Cultures
The country of Swaziland is home to the Bantu-speaking Swazi. Artefacts of human activities are dated back to an early stone age of 200 000 years ago. Rock arts date between 25 000BC up to the 19th century indicating that the earliest inhabitants were the hunter-gatherers of the tribe Khoisan, whom were later replaced by the migrating Bantu. The Dlamini line of chiefships in this region subsequently diminished with the enlargement of the Swazi kingdom.
Being an African country and evolved tribes, the people still believe in traditional healers and ways. These “prophets, priests, herbalists and physicians” receive 80% of the nation in consultation over the populations well-being. Both males and female healers are subordinates to the “Inyanga” whom inherit their skills from the grandfather and father and possess the highest rank in the Swazi society. The “Sangoma”, also herbalists are “called” to the profession whereby they rely on divine intervention of spirits in their readings. Special schools at Siteki can be pre-arranged for individual consultations.
Geography of Swaziland
The magnificent land locked kingdom is well nestled between the neighbouring South Africa and Mozambique in the east, offers scenic marvels and majestic mountains , that very similar to Europe’s illustrious Switzerland but only its on the dark and great continent of Africa!The Population – 1 100 000 over an area of 17, 364 square km.
The economy benefits from major exports of sugar, citrus and wood products along with sugar, citrus and wood products along with Soft drink concerntrates, mainly sent to South Africa and receiving 90% of their imports from the same country.
Tourism is definitely one of Swazilands major contributors and industries. It is said 70% of the countrys’ inhabitants survive in extreme conditions of drought leading to food crises. The contributing 40% un-employment rate and with 70% of the Swazi people living off of less than 1$ a day. The growth rate of population in the region offers limiting hopes and aspirations as the market for job seekers succeeds the creation of these.
Yellow fever vaccinations might be required should you have visited an affected area within the previous 6 weeks, certification of this would be demanded. Certain inoculations are considered valuable, these being for Cholera and Typhoid. Malaria prophylaxis are highly recommended along with preventative and safe sex procedures. the local flavours. Hepatitis B and bilharzia are endemic to the region, please be aware of sanitary procedures at more rural establishments to avoid contamination.
All visitors require valid passports and travel documents. South Africans do not require a visa.
Swaziland`s international airport is equipped with 1 passenger terminal, 1 cargo terminal and 4 check-in desks. Three airlines operate from this airport, namely British Airways, Royal Swazi National and South African Airways. The airport operates from 05:00-18:30 UTC.
There are direct flights available from Johannesburg and other main South African cities.
The airport has a bank and a Bureau de Change for currency exchange. Other facilities include Snack bar, Long and short term parking and WiFi Hotspots.
A 800km of tarred and 2000km of unpaved road network is available to a range of busses and minbus taxis operating on the roads and self drive guests are encouraged to plan for dirt roads. The 300km of railway lines also offer a means of transport within Swaziland.
Johannesburg – Mbabane 371km and Johannesburg - Manzini 411km
- Bulembu / Josefdal 8h00 – 16h00
- Gege Border Gate 8h00 – 16h00
- Lavumisa Border Gate / Golela 7h00 – 22h00
- Lomahasha Border Gate / Namaacha 7h00 – 20h00
- Lundzi Border Gate 8h00 – 16h00
- Mahamba Border Gate 7h00 – 22h00
- Mananga Border Gate 8h00 – 18h00
- Matsamo Border Gate / Jeppes Reef 7h00 – 20h00
- Mhlumeni Border Gate 7h00 – 20h00
- Ngwenya Border Gate / Oshoek 7h00 – 22h00
- Salitje Border Gate / Onverwacht 8h00 – 18h00
- Sandlane Border Gate / Nerston 8h00 – 18h00
- Sicunusa Border Gate 8h00 – 18h00
Subject to further changes. Please contact relevant offices.
Wildlife Destinations and Attractions
Varying from luxurious hotels, excellent wildlife reserves and sanctuaries such as Mlilwane and the adventurous town of Ezulwini Valley. The vast topography caters well for waterfall viewing such as the magnificent Mantenga Falls, along with the traditions of dancing at the Lebombo Royal Kraal, and an array of artistic retreats, craft and curio markets and diverse vegetation across this little piece of heaven, no specification is hard to find.
A range of adventure activities varying from Pony Rides, Golfing, Walking and Hiking, Water activities, scenic related activities such as birding, game viewing and the city option of gaming and a variety of resorts are the general options in Swaziland, contact African Chapter +27 11 805 4522 for additional suggested activities in the region you are visiting.
There are 3 game parks in Swaziland, namely:
- Hlane Royal National Park - home to the largest herds of game in the Kingdom. Aadjacent dispersal areas covers 30 000 hectares of Swazi bushveld, dominated by ancient hardwood vegetation. Hlane is home to lion, elephant and white rhino, with an abundant and diverse bird life, including the highest density of nesting white backed vultures in Africa. A network of self-drive game-viewing roads criss-cross the park’s flat terrain, weaving between the 1000 year old hardwood vegetation and shallow pans which attract great herds of animals during the dry winter months. Guided walking safaris, mountain biking and game drives in Hlane`s open Land Rover`s are also available.
- Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - The Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares and comprises of a southern and northern section. The southern section is predominately open grassland plains with middleveld vegetation, stretching up onto the striking Nyonyane Mountain with its exposed granite peak known as the "Rock of Execution". Nyonyane is where ancient San once lived and where Swazi Royal graves are situated giving historical significance. Behind these mountains, the stunning Mantenga waterfall and beautiful Usushwana Valley form the divide, before stretching up to northern section, which includes one of the highest surrounding points at Luphohlo. Tourist activities are concentrated in the southern section, with only guided trails entering the pristine mountains of the north.
- Mkhaya Game Reserve - Mkhaya was established in 1979 to save the pure Nguni breed of cattle from extinction and is a proclaimed Nature Reserve. Its focus has expanded over the years to include other endangered species such as black rhino, roan & sable antelope, tsessebe, white rhino, elephant and other locally endangered species. Named after the Acacia nigrescens tree, comprises of acacia-dominated thornveld in the south and broadleaf sandveld in the north. Unique, intimate encounters with Mkhaya’s wildlife are almost guaranteed as all travel within the reserve is solely by Big Game Parks’ open Land Rovers or on foot (all guided). The reserve is criss-crossed with dry riverbeds, dotted with waterholes and has a network of intertwined game-viewing roads.
Short List of preparations and important information
- Time Zone – GMT +2
- Language – ENGLISH AND SISWATI
- Swaziland is known as the safest tourist destinations in Southern Africa (obviously across the continent one cannot deny the petty crimes which do take place)
- International calls are easily connected and mobile phones are operational on limited infrastructures. The major cities of Mbabane and Manzini offer internet cafes and e-mail centres.
- Round terminal, 3 pin plugs of 50 Hz, 220V AC electrical supply is available in Swaziland.
- Banking establishments comprise of the 4 commercial – Nedbank, First National, Standard Bank of Swaziland and SwaziBank operating between 8h00 – 14h30 Monday to Friday.
- Tap water is safe to drink throughout the country, however springs, streams and river waters are to be boiled prior to consumption.
- Homo-sexuality is illegal in Swaziland.
- Due to the poor medical facilities in Swaziland, African Chapter encourage medical and travel insurances as tourists are generally sent to South Africa for medical attention in most situations.
- BUSINESS HOURS: Generally the hours between 8h00 – 17h00 on Monday till Friday and Saturdays 8h30 – 13h00 where limited establishments are open on Sundays too.
- Currency – SZL: Lilangeni
- Dialing Code - +268
Please don't hesitate to contact us directly, we have visited here previously and are able to provide you with up to date information at any time.