Swaziland, Eswatini: Various travel information
How do you get to Eswatini (until 2018 Swaziland)?
The country’s international airport is Matsapha Airport, which is about 1 km outside of Manzini. In addition to a small car rental company, there is little more than a snack shop. For some time now, there has been a hot spot at the airport that allows you to access the Internet free of charge via WiFi and wireless LAN. There are no direct flights from Germany, Austria or Switzerland to Swaziland. Aberr Airlink Swaziland flies into the country from Johannesburg.
Trains run twice a week between Durban in South Africa and Maputo in Mozambique, which also stop in Mpaka.
Entry by bus
Long-distance buses run from Johannesburg to Mbabane and Manzini and from Maputo to Mbabane. In general, most of the Busses arrive in these two cities. Smaller bus companies or minibuses connect Swaziland to Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town as well as Maputo in Mozambique. The larger companies drive (through the country) to the respective border, where the passengers then get off and continue their journey beyond the border with another bus company. A good daily connection is offered by siyeSwatini TransMagnific, which go to Johannesburg Airport with their minibuses. The buses are very comfortable and safe. However, you must have booked and paid for at least one day prior to departure. The whole trip to Jo’burg takes about 4 hours, with food and a film on the way.
Entering by car
The roads to South Africa lead to Johannesburg, Durban and northern Zululand and are in good condition. Depending on the time of year, the border crossings between South Afraka and Swaziland can be very crowded, so long waiting times must be expected. The border post Ngwenya/Oshoek on the N17/ MR3 from Ermelo to Mbabane is usually very turbulent during holidays and long weekends because it is the most important border crossing. Good alternatives are the nearby Amsterdam (Nerston) and the nearby Jeppes Reef.
|Baz Bus Between Swaziland and South Africa (especially Durban and Pretoria) the famous Baz Bus runs. This is a company with headquarters in Cape Town that has set itself the task of getting backpackers (in a minibus for between 20 and 26 people) through South Africa and Swaziland as comfortably and easily as possible. The advantage of this bus service is that the Baz buses pick up travelers directly from their hostels and then drop them off directly in front of their new hostels. This saves a lot of time and stress and is very well tailored to the realities of travel in South Africa. If you want to travel back and forth between two South African cities without a Baz Bus (overland), you first have to go to the respective (bus) station to book a ticket for the desired period. That means taking a taxi or a minibus, whereby taxis are very expensive and minibus trips are often a bit confusing and time-consuming. On the day of departure, you can either let the hostel shuttle take you to the bus station or you take a taxi again – minibuses are less recommended, especially in Johannesburg. There is therefore not really an alternative, because it is not recommended to walk around South Africa (long distances) with too much luggage. The risk of becoming a victim of a crime is then much higher than normal. But both taxis and shuttles are quite expensive, depending on the location of the hostel. When you have finally reached your destination after a long bus or train ride, you still have to get to the new hostel. This means that you have to be picked up by an expensive hostel shuttle or use a taxi. When you have finally reached your destination after a long bus or train ride, you still have to get to the new hostel. This means that you have to be picked up by an expensive hostel shuttle or use a taxi. When you have finally reached your destination after a long bus or train ride, you still have to get to the new hostel. This means that you have to be picked up by an expensive hostel shuttle or use a taxi.
Not only is this type of travel expensive and time consuming, it is also stressful.
With the Baz Bus, all of this is unproblematic, especially since you can already book the ticket from Germany by credit card. You will then receive a confirmation as well as a ticket number, which you then give to the bus driver in South Africa before departure. You can book certain travel routes (e.g. Cape Town – Port Elizabeth), but also 1-week or 2-week passes. If you are in the country, you simply call the Baz Bus hotline (Tel.: 0027 – (0) 21 – 439 2323) or send an SMS with the travel details to 072 427 3003. This is how you reserve (48 hours in advance if possible Departure) his seats in the bus and then only needs to get on the bus punctually on the day of departure. However, you should have pre-booked a hostel in the target area by telephone in order to save yourself stress.
The Baz Bus has other advantages, however, because it is a friendly, communicative way of traveling, so that it will be easy to get into conversation with other fellow travelers and to exchange tips and stories. Furthermore, the buses are driven by tested and certified drivers, who also give explanations about the areas that you pass on the way. The extent to which the driver provides the travelers with hints, tips and information, of course, always depends on the person concerned.
There are also disadvantages with regard to the Baz bus: There is (currently) no air conditioning in the buses, which can be quite annoying, especially in summer. In addition, the trips are quite expensive compared to the rest of the country. So you should always consider whether you really need the Baz Bus, or whether it would not be cheaper (and more exciting) to travel “on your own”, because you will hardly come into contact with the South African population. Another disadvantage is that the Baz buses do not run the routes offered daily, but only on certain days. So you have to align your travel plan with the Baz Bus, which can be annoying.
Further information on the Baz Bus is available at
P Level – Centurion Building
Main Road & Frere Road
8005 Cape Town
Tel: 0027 – (0) 21 439 2323
Fax: 0027 – (0) 21 439 2343
Travel in the country
Domestic flights can be chartered. Due to the size of the country, the airplane is only of minor condition in Swaziland as a domestic means of transport.
The country’s railway network covers around 300 km. However, Swazi Rail only guarantees freight, not passenger traffic. Only the South African railway company Transnet Freight Rail (formerly Spoornet) uses part of the Swasi Rail network for passing passenger trains.
Buses and minibuses
The national bus network connects the different parts of the country with one another. Most travelers in the country use minibuses called station wagons. These are small vans that want to take as many travelers with them as possible and drive a set route. You should inquire about the direction and then give the fare to the collector on board. Incidentally, it is only very rarely the case that one is cheated. But be prepared for overcrowded buses, loud radio music and sometimes inconsiderate driving. The larger Sprinter Vans are a good and safe alternative. Minibuses are usually stopped on main roads, with larger cities usually serving as interchange points. The respective direction of travel is shouted out loud by young men at (larger) bus stations, who also bring you to the right bus. At bus stations you are often asked to show your luggage. This procedure is related to the (by the way worldwide) higher crime rates. It should also be noted that you should stay away from bus stations at night.
If you want to be out and about after dark, you will almost only be able to use taxis in the country. In the larger cities you should always have a taxi number with you because many drivers take overpriced prices.
The country’s road network is well developed and covers a total of around 3,250 km, of which around a third of the roads are paved. Due to the high mountain location, these are often narrow and winding and can only be driven slowly.
Rental cars Rental cars are available
in the larger cities (e.g. at Manzini airport or in Mbabane). The minimum age for this is 23 years. An international driver’s license is recommended.
There are taxis in the larger cities.
There are no navigable waterways in Swaziland.
Regardless of the information given here, it is advisable to obtain more detailed information from the ADAC or the AvD.
- Urban: In built-up areas there is a speed limit of 50 km/h
- Country roads: There is a speed limit of 100 km/h on country roads
In addition, it is of course necessary to pay attention to the current local speed limits, which are indicated by traffic signs.
There is left-hand traffic in Swaziland.
Blood alcohol limit
The official blood alcohol limit in Swaziland for drivers of motor vehicles is 0.8 alcohol.
International license plate
According to Abbreviationfinder, Eswatini’s international license plate is:
Entry and exit regulations
Formalities and visas
German, Swiss and Austrian citizens do not need a visa for a tourist stay of up to three months. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entry.
Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland
188 Avenue Winston Churchill
Tel: 0032 – (0) 2 – 347 47 71
Local currency, foreign exchange regulations
Local currency The national currency of Eswatini is the Lilangeni, plural Emalangeni
1 Lilangeni = 100 cents
De Lilangeni is linked 1: 1 to the South African Rand, which is also recognized as a means of payment in Swaziland.
Importing and exporting the national currency
The import and export of the national currency is allowed up to a maximum of 500 Emalangeni.
Import and export of foreign currencies
There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign currencies.
Cheap goods, souvenirs
Tourists in Eswatini like to buy beadwork, basketry, grass and sisal mats, copper items, wooden bowls, precious stone jewelry, wood and soapstone carvings, bottle gourds, leather mats (so-called carousels), drums, and woven and printed or tie-dyed fabrics.
The following items can be imported into Eswatini duty-free:
400 cigarettes and 50 cigars and 250 g tobacco
0.75 l alcoholic beverages
50 ml perfume and 285 ml eau de toilette.
Married couples are only allowed to import duty-free articles for one person.
Daily necessities such as cameras, camcorders, radios and foreign publications can be imported without any problems. The import of weapons and drugs is strictly prohibited.
Travel medicine and vaccinations
The following infectious diseases are to be expected in Eswatini, which do not or rarely occur in Germany, Austria or Switzerland:
- Malaria, there is a high risk of infection all year round in the country, especially in the lower regions. Almost all infections occur with the very dangerous malaria tropica, the tiny remainder with malaria tertiana. AIDS, HIV, with 33% infected one of the highest rates in the world
- Amoebic dysentery
- Bacterial agitation
- Cholera, an infection risk only exists for travelers who can come into contact with contaminated water or contaminated food
- Intestinal infections from contaminated food or water, including amoeba, lamblia, salmonella, shigella and worm infestation, as well as all kinds of viruses and bacteria
- Hepatitis A and B, an infection with hepatitis B, is only to be expected in people who can come into contact with blood or in those who seek sexual contact.
- HIV, in 2008 about 40% of the population were infected with the virus or already contracted AIDS
- Polio, polio
- Typhoid fever, an infection risk only exists for travelers who come into contact with polluted water or contaminated food
- Cholera, but only among travelers who can come into contact with polluted water or contaminated food
- Diphtheria, a vaccination against diphtheria should always exist in your home country
- Hepatitis A and B, a vaccination against hepatitis B, is only required for people who may come into contact with blood or for those who seek sexual contact.
- Polio, polio, a vaccination against polio should always exist, also in the home country
- Tetanus, a vaccination against tetanus should always exist in the home country
- Typhoid, but only in travelers who may come into contact with polluted water or contaminated food
In Swazilandi, vaccination against yellow fever is compulsory for all persons who are older than one year and who are arriving from a country designated by the WHO as a yellow fever infection area.
Yellow fever vaccination for children
In most countries where a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory, this also applies to children over 1 year of age, in some countries even from 6 months. It should be noted that
vaccination against yellow fever had a number of side effects, such as encephalitis. Around two thirds of those affected were children under 6 months. Therefore, under no circumstances should children under this age be vaccinated. But children under one year of age should also not be vaccinated if possible. If in doubt, yellow fever infection areas must then be avoided. Any vaccination against yellow fever may only be carried out in specially authorized yellow fever vaccination centers!
When traveling in the country, it is strongly advised to undergo malaria prophylaxis. If the side effects seem questionable to you, you should at least have a “stand-by preparation” with you.
The Foreign Office gives the following warning notices (as of March 10, 2010; unchanged valid:
-specific safety information There is currently no country-specific safety information for this country.
General travel information According to the UNDP Human Development Report, the
Kingdom of Eswatini with its approx. 1 million residents belongs to the group of countries with a medium development index . Yet a large part of the population has to get by on less than US $ 1 a day.
The crime rate is significantly lower than in neighboring South Africa and Mozambique, but has increased recently. Nothing is known of any crime against foreigners traveling in the country. Robbery against foreigners during nighttime visits to the city centers of Mbabane, Manzini and Matsapha as well as when driving overland is very rare, but not impossible.
Cash (euros or US dollars) can be exchanged in Swaziland, but should only be carried to a limited extent. It is more practical to use savings, EC or credit cards. When connected to the main international system, ATMs can be used in the capital Mbabane and some other cities. Many restaurants and hotels accept credit cards as payment.
Cell phones with German SIM cards from most providers can be used in Eswatini . You can find out from German providers whether there are roaming agreements with Eswatini . However, in many areas of Swaziland the reception is weak or inadequate.
Credit card crime occurs. When making payments, credit cards should not be left out of sight so that the data cannot be copied and misused.
Because of the condition of many roads and the behavior of other road users, participating in road traffic involves considerably higher risks than in Germany.
On unpaved roads in general, but especially in the dark, there is a high risk of accidents. The condition of the roads is in need of improvement in many places. Frequently careless people and animals, especially cows, are regularly on traffic routes intended for vehicles, even at night and at dusk. Motor vehicle collisions with large animals are not uncommon in Swaziland and often have serious consequences. It is therefore recommended to avoid driving at night as far as possible and to adapt speed and driving style to the risks described. “Current safety information can be found at:
Foreign Office (AA) of the Federal Republic of Germany
Tel 0049 – (0) 30 – 5000 – 2000
Swaziland: Diplomatic missions
Visit Countryaah for a full list of Swaziland embassies and consulates in each country around the world.
German representations in Eswatini
The embassy in Pretoria (South Africa) is responsible. However, there is a liaison office of the German embassy in Eswatini that can be visited in emergencies:
Liaison Office Lilunga House, 3rd Floor
Tel: 00268 – (0) 40 – 43 174
Eswatini agencies in Germany
Responsible is the Embassy in Brussels
Embassy in Brussels
188 Avenue Winston Churchill
Tel: 0032 – (0) 2 – 347 47 71
Honorary Consulate General in Berlin
Grosse Praesidentstr. 5
Tel: 0049 – (0) 30) – 280 96 250
Honorary Consulate General in Düsseldorf
Worringer Strasse 59
Tel: 0049 – (0) 211 – 35 08 66
Austrian representations in Eswatini
The Federal Republic of Austria has no representation in Swaziland. The embassy in South Africa is responsible for:
Embassy in Pretoria
1109, Duncan Street, Brooklyn
Tel: 0027 – (0) 12 – 452 9155
The Austrian Embassy in Eswatini is still responsible for:
Representations of Eswatini in Austria
The embassy in Brussels is responsible
Honorary Consulate in Vienna
Tel: 0043 – (0) 1 – 319 11 38
Swiss representations in Eswatini
Switzerland does not have a diplomatic representation in Eswatini; the embassy in Pretoria/ South Africa is responsible.
Eswatini agencies in Switzerland
The embassy in Brussels is responsible.