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Travel Security Advice for Swaziland

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swaziland_mapSwaziland_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: 

Swaziland is a small developing nation in Southern Africa.  Several well-developed facilities for tourism are available.  The capital is Mbabane.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Swaziland for additional information.



REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Swaziland are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.

U.S. Embassy Mbabane


Central Bank Building
Mahlokohla Street
P.O. Box 199
Phone:  268-404-6441/5
After Hours Emergency Phone: 268-602-8414
Fax:  268-404-5959



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A passport is required.  Visas are not required for tourists and business travelers arriving in Swaziland for short visits (less than 60 days) on standard U.S. passports.   Most travelers visiting Swaziland enter through South Africa.

Please note:   All travelers traveling to South Africa are strongly encouraged to have several unstamped visa pages left in their passports. South Africa requires two unstamped visa pages, excluding amendment pages, to enter the country. Visitors who do not have enough free visa pages in their passport risk being denied entry and returned to the U.S. at their own expense.
 
For further information on Swaziland’s visa requirements, contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 1712 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009; phone (202) 234-5002.  Visit the Embassy of Swaziland web site at for the most current visa information.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Swaziland.



SAFETY AND SECURITY:

Public protests, demonstrations, and strikes occur from time to time in Swaziland and are mostly in response to on-going labor relations/difficulties.  When a strike is pending, armed soldiers may be called to augment the police force, and they have used force to disrupt such events.  During the course of such events, police may not distinguish between “innocent bystanders” and protesters.  Americans should avoid crowds, political rallies and street demonstrations.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' website,

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.



CRIME: 

Violent crime is a concern and is the most significant threat to American citizens visiting or working in Swaziland.  Incidents of petty crime and occasionally violent crime are most prevalent in Mbabane, the capital city, and Manzini, Swaziland’s urban industrial center, but also affect most other urban and rural areas.  Criminals will resort to force if necessary, including deadly force, in order to accomplish their goal.  Gangs are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims.  Carjacking occurs and, as with other crimes, can be potentially violent if victims do not immediately cooperate.

Congested dark urban areas are particularly dangerous at night and daytime attacks are not uncommon.  The presence of others on the street should not be misinterpreted as an indication of security.  Many victims report being robbed in the presence of large numbers of witnesses.  Pedestrians are cautioned not to wear jewelry or carry expensive or unnecessary valuables in public.  American citizens are also advised against displaying cell phones and large sums of cash, as they are targets for thieves.  Money should only be converted at authorized currency exchanges and never with street vendors.  Exercise caution with using local taxis.  Ensure the taxi you use is from a reputable company.  Never enter a taxi that is occupied by anyone else besides the driver.  It is good practice to call a friend to let them know the plate number of the taxi you are using.

Crime tends to increase during the holiday season from December to January.   Crime victims should immediately report the incident to the nearest police station.  If there is an emergency, the police can be contacted by dialing 999.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.



INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: 

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Swaziland is 999.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.



CRIMINAL PENALTIES: 

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. 



SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Swaziland does not have any unusual customs/currency regulations nor any visa registration requirements.  It is illegal to photograph Swaziland’s government buildings, members of the Swazi armed forces, royal residences and official ceremonies without prior permission from government authorities. 



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Medical facilities are limited throughout Swaziland and emergency medical response capabilities (including ambulance transport) are almost non-existent.  Although the Mbabane Clinic in the capital is small and currently undergoing building renovations, it is well equipped and well staffed for minor procedures. For advanced care, Americans often choose to go to South Africa where better facilities and specialists exist.  Most prescription drugs are available locally or can be imported from South Africa, but travelers are advised to bring sufficient quantities of their own required medication.  A doctor’s note describing the medication may be helpful if questioned by authorities.   

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) websiteThe WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Swaziland.  For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.



MEDICAL INSURANCE: 

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. Citizens to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.



TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning Swaziland is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Traffic accidents in Swaziland may pose an even greater hazard than crime.  Visitors should use extreme caution when driving, given the relatively high rates of speed of drivers on major thoroughfares.  Other hazards include poor lighting and traffic signals; presence of pedestrians, animals, and slower moving vehicles; aggressive driving behavior; and erratic stopping for pedestrian and animals.  Traffic drives on the left in Swaziland, which requires U.S. drivers to exercise particular caution.  Special care should be used in driving at night and in fog, especially in rural areas.  Rural and suburban areas are poorly lit and pose additional safety hazards as pedestrians and animals cross the road.  Many vehicles are poorly maintained and lack headlights.

Extreme caution is recommended if/when using mini-bus taxis, which follow fixed routes and are flagged down by passengers almost everywhere on the streets and roads of Swaziland.  Many of these vehicles fail to meet minimal safety standards.  Drivers frequently overload the vehicles and travel at excessive speeds.  Fatal accidents involving these conveyances are very common.

The Royal Swaziland Police Service set up periodic road blocks and also uses radar to monitor your speed.  Respect the local laws.  If you are pulled over for a moving violation you will be responsible for the consequences.  Always drive with your driver’s license.  Failure to do so will result in a fine.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Swaziland’s national tourist office.



AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

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 oversight of Swaziland’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.



CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Swaziland dated February 9, 2009, with changes to Registration/Embassy Location.


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding travel to Swaziland HERE....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)...........

There is a Malaria Warning for Swaziland HERE.....

Regards

The SW team..........

 

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