Welcome to Eswatini
At the top of the list of new and exciting travel destination, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is proof that big thrills can come out of tiny countries. This is a small kingdom in which you can sleep in the heart of a national park, with zebra and wildebeest a few feet from your hut’s front porch, or white rhinos lazing about at a watering hole out your back door.
You can whitewater raft and mountain bike, go walking for miles through high and lowlands. You can join in colorful celebrations in vibrant villages (try to time your visit with the wintertime Umhlanga festival). This is a less touristed Africa, a place you should stay at least a week to enjoy on its own before embarking to Kruger National Park or Mozambique.
You’ll need the days to fully explore Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Hlane Royal National Park, the capital of Mbabne, Mantenga Falls Nature Reserve, Lobamba Village and more. Revel in the wildlife, culture and authenticity of delightful Eswatini.
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Need To Know
- Eswatini is the last absolute monarchy in Africa and one of the last remaining monarchies in the world. This means the king reigns, along with his mother. The king is known as the Ingwenyama (lion) and his mother is known as the Indlovukazi (she-elephant). In other monarchy news, the present king’s father – King Sobhuza II – had the longest reign in world history, from 1899 to 1982. That’s not all – the current king, King Mswati III, took the throne at just age 18 and is the world’s youngest crowned monarch at the time of coronation.
- The world’s second largest monolith is here – Sibebe Rock. It’s is just a bit smaller than Uluru in Australia.
- Eswatini is home to the oldest mine in the world, the Ngwenya Mine. Its iron ore deposits are part of one of the oldest geological formations in the world. Today, all visitors can see is a modest hole in the hillside called the Lion Cavern.
- Africa’s largest population of nesting vultures is found here, in Hlane Royal National Park. The protected area runs along both sides of the MR3 highway, so you’re able to spot wildlife as you’re driving through.
- The Malolotja Native Reserve mountains are more than 3.6 billion years old.
Eswatini’s official languages are Swazi and English.
When To Go
Most of the rain falls during the summer months in Eswatini, from the end of October through March. The dry season (winter) is from mid-April to mid-October. February is considered harvest festival time, although you might consider visiting in May for the Bushfire performing arts festival or August for the Umhlanga Reed Dance festival.
King Mswati III International Airport
Passport must be valid at time of entry for six months beyond arrival date.
Visa Required By US Citizen?
None for stays of 30 days or less.
The CDC recommends the following vaccines for most travelers when visiting Eswatini: Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Depending on where you are traveling, you may also need Hepatitis B, Malaria, Rabies and Yellow Fever vaccines.
Power plugs and sockets: type M. Standard voltage: 230V. Frequency: 50Hz.
Official local currency: Swaziland lilangeni
Use extreme caution if self driving in Eswatini. High speeds, poor lighting, irregular traffic signals and presence of pedestrians, animals and slow-moving vehicles can pose a risk.
Use caution when using mini-bus taxis, known as khumbis. Many of these vehicles don’t meet US safety standards and are often overloaded and travel at excessive speeds.
Valid US driver’s license is required.
US Embassy Info
U.S. Embassy Mbabane
Corner of MR103 and Cultural Centre Drive PO Box D202
The Gables H106, Eswatini
Telephone: 268 2417 9000
Emergency after-hours telephone: 268-7602-8414
Fax: 268-2416 3344
Local Visitor Info
Tourism Information Office
The Mall, Dr Sishayi Rd.
Local Emergency Phone Numbers
Police: 2404 2221, 999
Safety and Security
Petty crime and violent crime are prevalent throughout Eswatini. Take safety precautions at all times and keep track of your personal belongings. Avoid urban areas at night.
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