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COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Eswatini - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Eswatini.
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place. You must wear a face covering in public spaces and in private vehicles.
If you violate the restrictions, you could be fined for endangering public health.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
Petty crime, including robbery is common but is relatively low compared to other countries in southern Africa. Do not show signs of affluence, and ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Violent crime such as armed carjacking, burglary, car theft, and mugging is uncommon, but does occur, mostly in Manzini, Mbabane and rural areas. Avoid walking in these areas after dark.
Crime rates tend to increase ahead of and during the holiday season.
Avoid entering or leaving Eswatini by road after dark, as there have been several armed carjackings on main roads from South Africa and Mozambique. Keep car doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight at all times.
While there is no recent history of terrorism in Eswatini, there is a threat of terrorism.
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Safety risks are greater at night and in rural areas. Avoid walking alone. Conditions on national roads, including the highway between Mbabane and Manzini, are relatively good. Secondary roads are usually dirt tracks. Roaming livestock, abandoned unlit trailers, drivers avoiding cyclists and pedestrians, reckless driving, and heavy vehicles pose hazards. Drinking and driving is prevalent.
Most roads lack adequate lighting. Park in well-lit areas. Poor visibility is exacerbated by frequent fog conditions and severe storms, especially in the Highveld, close to Mbabane, and in forest regions near the South African border.
- Only travel by land during the day
- Obtain comprehensive insurance
- Carry original vehicle registration documents
- Ensure the vehicle is equipped with seat belts and a breakdown-warning triangle
There are car rental agencies at King Mswati III International Airport in Manzini.
There are 11 border entry posts with South Africa and two with Mozambique; most operate between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Consult local authorities for road conditions and schedules prior to cross-border travel.
You should view offers of roadside assistance with caution as this presents an opportunity for theft, mugging and hijackings.
Congested, urban areas can be dangerous at night. Exercise caution.
Avoid travelling by train and using mini-bus taxis, known as khumbis, which are often poorly maintained and overloaded.
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Safe-travel guide for women
Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.
- Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
- Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
- Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
- Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice
Only undertake adventure sports, such as zip-lining and rock climbing, with a well-established and reputable company that has insurance.
Tour operators may not adhere to international standards. If you have any doubt concerning the safety of the installation or equipment, refrain from using them. Ensure that the recreational activities you choose are covered by your travel insurance.
If engaging in adventure tourism:
- never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
- obtain detailed information on each activity before setting out and do not venture off marked trails
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory. While some countries have started to ease some of these measures, most remain in place.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel.
These could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- exit bans
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
- border closures
- airport closures
- flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
COVID-19 - Flight suspensions
The Eswatini authorities have suspended all commercial flights in and out of the country until further notice.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Eswatini authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Eswatini, and have at least 2 blank pages.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 30 days
Business visa: Not required
Student visa: Not required
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Consult the South Africa Travel Advice page if you are transiting by road through South Africa with children under the age of 18.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - January 16, 2021
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Southern Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical clinics throughout the country and emergency medical response capacity is limited. Clinics in Mbabane offer good basic medical care for minor procedures. More serious cases are generally evacuated to South Africa. Medical services providers will request you to confirm your medical insurance or pay upfront before treatment. Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Serious crimes, including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, may lead to the death penalty.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect large fines and extended jail sentences.
Possession of pornographic material is forbidden and punishable by imprisonment.
Photography of government buildings, military installations, armed forces, royal residences or official ceremonies is prohibited.
Actions or words that are considered offensive or insulting to the king or the royal family are illegal and may result in criminal prosecution and lengthy prison sentences.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Eswatini. Eswatini citizens who acquired another citizenship by marriage or registration, might be asked to renounce that other citizenship or lose Eswatini citizenship. If you are a citizen of Canada, but also a citizen of Eswatini, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited in Eswatini. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
The laws of Eswatini prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. There is prevalent discrimination against the LGBTQ2 community.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Eswatini.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
Traffic drives on the left.
You must carry an international driving permit.
More about the International Driving Permit
Dress and behaviour
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
The currency is the Lilangeni (SZL) but the South African rand (notes only) is also accepted and widely used. Most major hotels and some restaurants accept credit cards.
Natural disasters and climate
Eswatini can experience severe weather, including thunderstorms and heavy rains. The rainy season extends from October to April. Some roads may become hazardous during this period. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Emergency services exist but may be unreliable. In case of emergency, dial 999.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Eswatini. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the High Commission of Canada in Maputo, Mozambique.
Maputo - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Maputo, Mozambique, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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