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Is Eswatini Safe?

Eswatini is generally safe for tourists, though petty crime like bag snatching is common in cities. Avoid isolated areas as violent crime risks increase. Civil unrest stemming from political tensions occasionally disrupts travel. Road safety is a concern due to poorly maintained roads and reckless driving. Adhere to cultural norms, especially in rural areas, to avoid inadvertently causing offense.

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Safety & Security

Eswatini is generally considered a safe travel destination, but visitors should exercise caution and be aware of potential risks.

  • Petty Crime: While violent crime rates are relatively low, petty crimes like bag snatching, pickpocketing, and theft from vehicles can occur, especially in urban areas and tourist hotspots. Remain vigilant and secure valuables.

  • Civil Unrest: Eswatini has experienced occasional civil unrest and protests in recent years. Monitor local news and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for goods or services, fake tour guides, and bogus charity appeals.

  • Road Safety: Road conditions can be poor, and traffic accidents are common. Exercise caution when driving or using public transportation.

  • Wildlife: Eswatini has diverse wildlife, including potentially dangerous animals like hippos, crocodiles, and snakes. Follow park rules and guide instructions when visiting game reserves.

While Eswatini is generally safe for travelers who exercise reasonable precautions, it's advisable to research current conditions, stay vigilant, and follow local advice to mitigate potential risks during your visit.

Health & Medical

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. While generally considered safe for travelers, there are some health concerns to be aware of.

  • Malaria: Malaria is a risk in Eswatini, especially in the eastern regions. Antimalarial medication is recommended for all travelers. Use insect repellent and sleep under treated mosquito nets.

  • HIV/AIDS: Eswatini has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world. Avoid risky behaviors and take necessary precautions.

  • Water and Food-borne Illnesses: Travelers should exercise caution with food and water consumption. Stick to bottled or purified water and avoid undercooked or raw foods.

  • Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Eswatini are limited, especially outside of the capital, Mbabane. Travelers should ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance and access to emergency medical evacuation if needed.

  • Vaccinations: Routine vaccinations, including those for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and influenza, are recommended for most travelers. Consult a travel health professional for personalized advice.

While not a major concern, travelers should also be aware of the potential for air pollution in urban areas and take necessary precautions if sensitive to poor air quality.

Natural Disasters

Eswatini, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, experiences a relatively low risk of natural disasters compared to other regions. However, travelers should be aware of the following potential hazards:

  • Drought: Eswatini is prone to periodic droughts, which can lead to water shortages and impact agricultural production. Travelers should stay updated on the current situation and follow local advisories.

  • Wildfires: During the dry season, wildfires can occur, particularly in rural areas. Exercise caution when visiting national parks or nature reserves, and follow any instructions from local authorities.

  • Flooding: While not a frequent occurrence, heavy rainfall can cause localized flooding, especially in low-lying areas or near rivers. Avoid driving or walking through flooded areas, and monitor weather reports.

  • Thunderstorms: Eswatini experiences thunderstorms, especially during the rainy season (October to April). These storms can be accompanied by strong winds, heavy rain, and lightning strikes. Seek shelter if caught in a severe thunderstorm.

  • Earthquakes: Eswatini is located in a relatively stable tectonic region, and the risk of significant earthquakes is low. However, minor tremors can occur occasionally.

Travelers should stay informed about weather conditions, follow local advisories, and take necessary precautions during their visit to Eswatini.


Transportation in Eswatini is generally safe for travelers, but caution is advised. Public transportation options like buses and taxis are available, but their reliability and safety standards can vary. Road conditions in rural areas may be poor, with potholes and lack of proper signage. Self-driving is possible, but be prepared for erratic driving behaviors from other motorists.

  • Public Transportation: Buses and minibus taxis are common modes of public transport, but their safety standards and schedules can be unreliable, especially in rural areas.
  • Rental Cars: Renting a car allows more flexibility, but exercise caution due to poor road conditions, lack of proper signage, and erratic driving behaviors from other motorists.
  • Road Safety: Driving at night is not recommended due to poor lighting, wandering livestock, and the risk of encountering impaired drivers.
  • Traffic Laws: Strictly follow traffic laws, as they are enforced, and be prepared for occasional traffic police checkpoints.

Cultural Norms

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa with a rich cultural heritage. As a visitor, it's essential to respect the local customs and traditions to ensure a smooth and enriching travel experience.

  • Traditional Attire: Swazis take pride in their traditional attire, particularly during cultural events and ceremonies. Visitors are advised to dress modestly and avoid revealing clothing when attending such events.

  • Greetings: Greetings are an integral part of Swazi culture. It's customary to greet elders and those in authority with respect, using appropriate titles and gestures.

  • Polygamy: Polygamy is legal and widely practiced in Eswatini, particularly among the royal family and traditional leaders. Visitors should be mindful and respectful of this cultural practice.

  • Umhlanga (Reed Dance): The annual Umhlanga ceremony, held in August/September, is a significant cultural event where unmarried women pay homage to the Queen Mother. Visitors are welcome to attend, but should follow dress codes and observe proper etiquette.

  • Monarchy: Eswatini is an absolute monarchy, and the King and royal family hold a revered position in the country's culture. Visitors should show respect and avoid any disrespectful behavior or comments towards the monarchy.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Eswatini are limited, especially outside of the major cities. While police and ambulance services exist, their response times can be slow and their capabilities may be lacking compared to Western standards. Private medical evacuation services are available but can be costly.

  • Medical Facilities: Public hospitals and clinics have basic services but are often understaffed and lack modern equipment. Private hospitals in larger cities like Mbabane and Manzini offer better care but at a high cost.

  • Police: The Royal Eswatini Police Service operates nationwide but may have limited resources, especially in rural areas. Response times can be slow, and visitors should exercise caution when interacting with officers.

  • Fire Services: Fire departments exist in major cities but may have outdated equipment and limited resources. Rural areas often rely on community-based fire response teams.

  • Tourist Police: While dedicated tourist police units exist in some areas, their presence is limited, and visitors should not solely rely on them for assistance.

It's advisable for travelers to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation, as well as to research and contact their embassy or consulate in case of emergencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Eswatini safe for tourists?

Eswatini is generally safe for tourists. However, it's advisable to exercise caution, especially in urban areas, and avoid isolated areas, particularly after dark. Petty crimes like bag snatching and theft from vehicles occur. Remain vigilant and follow basic precautions.

Is Eswatini safe for solo female travelers?

While Eswatini is relatively safe for solo female travelers, it's recommended to take precautions. Avoid walking alone at night, dress modestly, and be cautious of unwanted attention. Harassment and gender-based violence can occur, so remain vigilant and trust your instincts.

Is Eswatini safe for families?

Eswatini is generally safe for families with children. However, it's advisable to take precautions regarding food and water safety, as well as being cautious in crowded areas. Ensure children are supervised at all times and have access to appropriate medical care if needed.

Is Eswatini LGBTQ+ friendly?

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Eswatini, and the LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination and stigma. Public displays of affection between same-sex couples are not advisable. Exercise caution and discretion to avoid potential legal issues or harassment.

Do you need a visa to go to Eswatini?

Many nationalities, including citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union, can visit Eswatini for up to 30 days without a visa. However, it's essential to have a valid passport with at least six months' validity remaining upon entry.

Can you drink tap water in Eswatini?

Tap water in Eswatini is generally not safe to drink. It's recommended to drink bottled or purified water to avoid potential waterborne illnesses. Avoid ice cubes made from tap water and be cautious when consuming food or beverages that may have been prepared with untreated water.

What is the currency in Eswatini?

The currency in Eswatini is the Lilangeni (SZL). However, the South African Rand (ZAR) is also widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels, restaurants, and shops, but cash is recommended for smaller establishments and rural areas.

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