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SWAZILAND - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Swaziland. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the possibility of anti-government demonstrations and increased crime in some areas.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Petty crime, including theft of money or personal property, occurs. Do not show signs of affluence, and ensure personal belongings and travel documents are secure. Violent crime is less prevalent but increasing. Armed carjackings, burglaries, car thefts and muggings have occurred, mostly in Manzini, Mbabane and rural areas. Avoid walking in these areas after dark. Do not pick up hitchhikers. You should view offers of roadside assistance with caution.
In 2013, there have been several reported incidents of carjackings in Mozambique, close to border crossings with Swaziland, by individuals impersonating police officers. Be aware that only officers from the Policia de Republica de Moçambique have the authority to establish checkpoints. Official checkpoints are always staffed by four officers and a clearly visible vehicle. Take precautions when being flagged at checkpoints.
Demonstrations and strikes
Demonstrations periodically take place and can lead to violent clashes between state security forces and protestors. You are advised to carry appropriate identification, and to avoid large crowds and areas where demonstrations may occur. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
Mass labour strikes have crippled the nation for several days at a time. The possibility of further labour and political unrest exists and could result in violence.
Drivers often cross the median to avoid hazards, and by so doing can cause head-on collisions. Speeding is also a serious concern. National roads, including a new divided expressway between Mbabane and Manzini, are relatively good, but many others are unimproved dirt roads. Sidewalks are rare, and motorists share the roads with pedestrians and cyclists. Roaming livestock, abandoned unlit trailers and heavy vehicles pose hazards.
Overland travel should be undertaken during daylight hours as most roads lack adequate lighting. Poor visibility is exacerbated by frequent fog conditions and severe storms, especially in the High Veld, close to Mbabane, and in forest regions near the South African border. Motorists should obtain comprehensive insurance, carry original vehicle registration documents, and ensure the vehicle is equipped with seat belts and a breakdown-warning triangle. There are car rental agencies at Matsapha International Airport.
There are 11 border entry posts with South Africa and two with Mozambique. Most operate between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Entering Swaziland from South Africa on the N4 via the Oshoek border should not be done after dark due to a risk of hijacking. You should exercise caution at the Oshoek border, where major road construction is under way and there is a risk of accidents. Consult local authorities for road conditions and schedules prior to cross-border travel. You should also review the Travel Advice for South Africa, since most travel to Swaziland involves transit through that country.
Avoid using buses and taxis, which are often poorly maintained and overloaded.
Avoid travelling by train if possible.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Swazi authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the High Commission for the Kingdom of Swaziland for up-to-date information.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Swaziland, which must be valid for at least for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Not required
Student visa: Not required
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
Consult the South Africa Travel Advice page if you are transiting by road through South Africa with children under the age of 18.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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 provider 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 and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
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 (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
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 a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- 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.
* 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 for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider 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 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 provider 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.
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 provider.
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
The clinic in Mbabane offers very good primary medical care. More serious cases are evacuated to South Africa.
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
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Serious crimes, including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, may lead to the death penalty.
Possession, use and trafficking of illegal drugs may lead to large fines or imprisonment.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
Photography of government buildings and military installations is prohibited.
Traffic drives on the left.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Swaziland. If local authorities consider you a Swaziland citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Swaziland passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Common sense and discretion should be exercised in dress and behaviour. You should respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
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
Natural disasters & climate
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 subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial 999.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Swaziland.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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