Preface Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
siSwati and English are the official languages, and English is
the official written language. You will have little trouble being
understood in most of the country. Although indigenous religions are
not widely practiced, traditional culture remains strong, and
important ceremonies such as the Incwala, Umhlanga, and Umcwasho
have religious overtones. One of the Incwala's most important
elements involves a pilgrimage to the sea to skim foam from the
waves of the Indian Ocean, hearkening back to the Swazi's homeland
on the coast of Mozambique. Most of the population is Swazi, but
there is a small number of Zulu, Tsonga-Shangaan, and Europeans.
Mozambican refugees, of both African and European descent, form a
Swaziland is the smallest country in the Southern Hemisphere and
one of the most easygoing. Although some dissent with the government
exists, laid-back Swazis are more likely to celebrate for fun than
demonstrate for reform. Archeologists have discovered human remains
in eastern Swaziland dating back 110,000 years, but the Swazi people
arrived only relatively recently. During the great Bantu migration
into southern Africa, one clan of the Nguni settled around modern
Maputo in Mozambique. The Dlamini family eventually founded a
dynasty there, but they were forced out by other clans in the
mid-18th century, during the reign of Ngwane, considered by the
Swazis to be their first king. They settled near the Pongola River.
Pressured by the Zulu, the next king, Sobhuza I, withdrew to the
Ezulwini Valley, that remains today as the center of Swazi royalty
and rituals. King Mswazi secured the Swazi nation by the time of his
death in 1868. Britain annexed the country in 1877 and although the
Convention of 1881 guaranteed Swaziland's independence, it reduced
its borders, and independence was soon realized as just a word on
The land issue threatened the viability of the Swazi culture in
the 20th century, since Swazi kings hold the kingdom in trust for
their subjects. Encouraged to buy back their land under King
Labotsibeni, many emigrated to South Africa to work in the mines. By
independence in 1968, about two-thirds of the kingdom was back in
Swazi control. King Sobhuza II suspended the British-inspired
constitution in 1973 since it did not reflect Swazi culture. Four
years later, Parliament reconvened under a new Constitution, vesting
all power in the King, who runs the country with a small core of
advisers, the Council of Ministers. Opposition parties are illegal,
and there has been some dissent, as exhibited by student riots and a
general strike in 1995.
Dancing and singing are features of Swaziland's main cultural
ceremonies, lighting the Ezulwini (Heaven) Valley into a brilliant
spectacle of dancing, singing, and beautiful shades of ochre, pink,
and red as they celebrate their belief in the monarchy and their
A progressive hands-on attitude toward wildlife preservation has
endowed Swaziland with many national parks and reserves with
reintroduced black-and-white rhinos, elephants, and lions. Horseback
riding, trekking, rafting down the wild rivers will bring you
surprisingly close to the wildlife and the protected unique and rare
plants and plant communities. The country has only one museum, and
little nightlife, but easy pace of the Swazis will make your stay
here enjoyable, rewarding, and challenging.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swaziland is a landlocked independent kingdom in southern Africa.
About the size of New Jersey, Swaziland consists of 6,700 square
miles bordered on three sides by the Republic of South Africa (the
Provinces of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal). Its 70-mile-eastern
border with Mozambique is about 40 miles inland from the Indian
Ocean. The greatest distance from north to south is 120 miles and
from east to west is roughly 90 miles.
Swaziland is divided into four well-defined regions running from
west to east. The mountainous highveld, where Mbabane is located,
has a humid, near-temperate climate with mean annual rainfall of
40-90 inches (100-230 centimeters), rarely suffering from drought.
The average elevation is 4,000 feet. Daytime weather is more
variable in the highveld than in other regions; a foggy morning may
be followed by a sunny afternoon and vice versa. Temperatures in
Mbabane range from an average of 51ºF to an average of 72ºF. In some
parts of Mbabane, frost develops in winter and snow occasionally
The middleveld and the Lubombo Plateau (the central and extreme
eastern sections) are subtropical and drier, with mean annual
rainfall of 25-47 inches (65-120 centimeters). Temperatures average
78ºF to an average low of 57 degrees. The middleveld is the site of
the industrial center of the country, Manzini, as well as the
University of Swaziland campuses and has an average elevation of
2,500 feet. The average elevation of the Lubombo Plateau is 1,800
The lowveld is subtropical and drier with a mean annual rainfall
of 20-30 inches (50-90 centimeters); the majority of this rainfall
is from heavy storms. Temperatures in Big Bend, the largest town in
the lowveld, range from an average low of 58ºF to a high of 84ºF.
The altitude ranges from 500 to 1,000 feet.
Population Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
The population of Swaziland is estimated to be 1,100,000.
According to the 1997 national census, 65% of that population is
under the age of 21. An additional 30,000 persons normally work
outside of the country, principally in the South African mines. The
population growth rate is approximately 3.2%.
Mbabane, the administrative capital, has a population of 58,000,
while Manzini is slightly more populous with 65,000 per 1996
The majority of the population is ethnic Swazi, a proud people
with a rich heritage. A small percentage of the Africans in
Swaziland are Zulu with the balance consisting of the descendants of
European Swazi intermarriages, many of whom were here at the time of
Most Swazis are engaged in agriculture and are strongly bound to
tradition. Society is patriarchal with the usual homestead including
a man, his wife or wives, his unmarried children, and his married
sons and their families. If his mother is living, she has a great
deal of influence in the homestead.
The traditional Swazi farmer's diet consists mainly of maize,
greens, and milk. Although Swazis love meat, those living in typical
homesteads have meat only on special occasions or when they have
visitors. Even though many homesteads have cattle, they prefer to
slaughter them mainly for celebration.
Sixty percent of Swazis belong to a variety of Christian
churches. Another 12% belong to the Zionist church, which combines
Christianity with traditional beliefs. The rest practice a
traditional religion that revolves around the ancestors.
The official languages of Swaziland are siSwati and English.
Government and commercial business is conducted mainly in English.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
The Swazi constitution, in effect at the country's independence
in 1968, established the Ngwenyama (Lion) or King as head of state
with a Westminster-style parliament composed of both elected and
appointed members by the king. King Sobhuza II repealed the
constitution in 1973.
Traditionally, Swaziland is a dual monarchy ruled by both the
King (Ngwenyama) and the Queen Mother (Ndlovukazi). The two embody
all legislative, executive, administrative, and traditional ritual
power. The Swazi National Council (SNC), an executive committee made
up of selected members of the Swazi royalty and other notables,
provides guidance to the monarchy. Cabinet recommendations are
normally implemented in matters dealing with the sectors for which
the ministers have responsibility. King Mswati III ascended the
throne in April 1986 succeeding King Sobhuza II, the world's longest
reigning monarch, ruling from 1921 until 1982.
Swaziland has two court systems. Swazi national courts administer
Swazi law and custom. The other court system based on Roman and
Dutch law deals with civil matters. It comprises several
magistrates' courts throughout the country as well as a three-member
High Court and Court of Appeals.
Political parties are banned in Swaziland. However, labor unions
and professional associations exist and are increasingly vocal. The
Red Cross Society is active nationwide, especially during crises
such as floods and hailstorms. The Swaziland Boy Scouts Movement
provides assistance during national festivals and ceremonies. The
Family Life Association of Swaziland (FLAS), initially supported by
USAID, provides family counseling, welfare services, and dispenses
family planning supplies and literature.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swazi artistic expression is reflected through traditional dress
and dances, which are a major part of social and traditional
activities. Children learn the dances at an early age and often
perform at official ceremonies and celebrations. Perhaps the best
known and the liveliest are the Sibhaca dancers, usually young men
accompanied by drums. Sibhaca dance teams compete in regional and
national contests. During the annual Reed Dance, teenage maidens
gather reeds and dance in reverence to the Queen Mother. Dancing is
also done by men in various age-group regiments in their year-end
homage to the King on the occasion of the religious festival of
Incwala. The general public may view parts of these ceremonies with
Choral singing is another form of artistic expression for the
Swazis. Regional, national, and international competitions are held
annually. A wide variety of handicrafts are made locally: soapstone
and woodcarvings, intricate baskets, pottery, place mats, crocheted
tablecloths and sweaters, mohair tapestries and clothing, and
The University of Swaziland is located on three campuses, two of
them located about 20 miles from Mbabane and one in Mbabane. Student
enrollment in the region is roughly 3,600. The main campus at
Kwaluseni houses the faculties of Humanities, Social Science,
Education and Science. The Agriculture faculty, located at Luyengo,
a smaller campus, operates a farm and several research stations
around the country. The third campus houses the faculty of nursing
and is located in Mbabane.
In addition to the university, several vocational institutions
provide different levels of technical, commercial, and vocational
training that exist for technical training, adult literacy,
management, and teacher training.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Since independence in 1968, Swaziland has experienced steady
economic growth and has significant promise for the future. Real
growth has averaged 2.3% since 1998. Swaziland's per capita income
is $1,300. However, this figure does not adequately reflect the
income of the average Swazi who is still a subsistence farmer. The
unemployment rate is high and increasing.
About 67% of the country's land is Swazi Nation Land, held in
trust by the King for the Swazi people and parceled out to Swazi
families by the regional chiefs. The remainder is privately owned,
primarily by non-Swazis, but this is steadily changing.
Total exports in 1999 were valued at $634.5 million; the major
exports are sugar, wood products, canned fruit, citrus, meat, and
meat products. Major markets were South Africa, the EU and the U.S.
The country's three sugar mills are located in the lowveld on
irrigated estates. Wood products are produced from pine and
eucalyptus trees harvested from planted forests, some of which are
the largest planted forests in the world. The main buyers of wood
products are South Africa, South Korea, and Japan.
Imports in 1999 were valued at $753.7 million and included motor
vehicles, heavy machinery, petroleum products, foodstuffs,
chemicals, and clothing. Major suppliers were Australia, Britain, EU,
Japan, Mozambique, and the U.S.
Swaziland's sharing receipts from the Southern African Customs
Union (SACU) provides about 52% of the government's revenue.
The Government promotes foreign investment through the Swaziland
Industrial Development Company (SIDC) and the Swaziland Investment
Promotion Authority (SIPA).
Automobiles Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Owning a private car is essential in Swaziland, as public
transportation is not reliable and/or safe. Taxis and buses run in
the major towns, but it is not advisable to use them. Paved roads
link the main centers, but most side roads are unpaved, dusty, and
uneven during the dry season and slippery during the rainy season.
Good roads link Swaziland to South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique,
Lesotho, and Zimbabwe. Although roads are for the most part good,
four-wheel drive is recommended for travel to game parks and
Motor vehicle registration is simple, provided the car is in good
working condition. All cars require a road worthiness certificate
issued by the Ministry of Works and Communications. Registration is
processed for official personnel by General Services Office (GSO)
staff. Driver's licenses are also easily processed through GSO with
a valid U.S. driver's license.
Car prices in Swaziland are higher than in the U.S. Some major
manufacturers assemble vehicles in South Africa. Depending on the
exchange rate they can be significantly cheaper than the same model
assembled in their country of origin. Car dealerships in Mbabne
include Fiat, Honda, Isuzu, Mercedes, Nissan, Opel, and Toyota.
Please check with post for current dealers as this list may change.
Importing a foreign car to Post is authorized at U.S. Government
expense. This will prove convenient for those who wish to purchase
right-hand-drive vehicles in other countries. Although
right-hand-drive vehicles are more convenient, left-hand-drive
vehicles may be registered. Personnel wishing to ship cars are
advised to do so 2-3 months prior to arrival in Swaziland. Basic
maintenance for most American-made cars is available, but parts are
hard to come by. More complete service for many American-made cars
can be had in South Africa. Installing an anti-theft system and/or
bringing a steering or gear lock is advised.
Gasoline prices are high in Swaziland and higher still in South
Africa. There is limited tax relief to diplomatic personnel that may
be claimed back at the end of every month. Unleaded gasoline is
available but the octane rating isn't as high as in the U.S.
Third-party insurance is covered by a levy included in the
gasoline price. Comprehensive insurance is available through the
Embassy fleet policy at prices much below U.S. insurers.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Paved roads link the main centers, but most side roads, including
those on which most Embassy residences are located, are unpaved,
dusty, and filled with potholes during the dry season and slippery
during the rainy season.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Flights from Matsapha Airport, near Manzini, link Swaziland with
Johannesburg, Maputo, and Durban. Flights use small propeller
planes, do not operate every day, and are not particularly reliable.
Most personnel drive the 4 hours to Johannesburg to catch
international flights. Good roads link Swaziland to South Africa and
Swaziland Railway provides rail cargo service only.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Telephones in Mbabane and Manzini are connected to the rest of
Swaziland and to international operators through the local exchange.
Direct dialing is available to many countries, including the U.S. In
2001, calls to Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban cost $1.45 for 3
minutes. A call to the continental U.S. costs about $7.20 for 3
minutes. However, many staff save money by using callback services
from the U.S. Telephones are installed in all Embassy housing.
International and local telegraph facilities are available, and fax
machines are incorporated into most business and donor communities.
Internet Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Several Internet service providers are available. The Embassy's
official service and most personal user accounts have been
established with Real Image. Their systems and services are
generally considered very reliable. Web-based e-mail access is
available. In 2001, personal accounts with full-time Internet access
and e-mail service cost approximately $14 monthly and $146 yearly.
Africa Online provides comparable services for approximately the
same cost. All personal accounts accessed from residences are via
dialup, so local phone costs apply.
The Embassy PD Network (Internet lan) has been extended to
include the Chancery and GSO. At this time, only limited shared
workstations are available, but service is available 24 hours per
day, 7 days per week over full-time lines.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Mbabane is classified as a Category B post. U.S. Government
personnel have access to the pouch for personal mail under normal
pouch restrictions. The outgoing mail must bear appropriate U.S.
postage, so it is advised that you bring a supply of stamps with
you. Further supplies can be purchased from the USPS by mail or via
Internet. No packages, except returned U.S. merchandise and tapes,
may be sent from post by pouch. Homeward bound mail service is not
available. The Embassy sends one unclassified pouch weekly to
Washington. Pouch mail usually takes 1 to 1 ½ weeks to travel from
Mbabane to Washington, and 2 to 3 weeks to arrive in Mbabane from
the State Department pouch facility. However, delays in the pouch
room mean that most bills arrive after their due date. For this
reason, arrange for a bill paying service or pay amounts due in
advance of receipt of the actual bill itself. Although good
international mail service is available, it is suggested that you
use the pouch mail to and from post when security is essential.
Though not frequent, post has experienced the loss of pouches when
transiting Johannesburg Airport. One incoming and two outgoing
pouches were presumed stolen in November 2000 and have not been
International mail is used extensively and is considered reliable
and has about the same transit times. A letter from Swaziland to the
U.S. costs 2.65E per 10G. Postcards cost 1.50E and Aerograms cost
1.05E. Airmail parcels cost 15.60E per Kg. DHL and FedEx have
representative offices in Mbabane and are considered reliable.
The following is the international mail address for staff
assigned to Swaziland:
American Embassy P.O. Box 199 Mbabane, Swaziland H-100
The following is the international mail address for commercial
American Embassy Central Bank Building, 7th Floor Warner Street
The following is the Department of State pouch address for staff
assigned to Swaziland:
Name Department of State 2350 Mbabane Place Dulles, Virginia
Radio and TV Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
SBIS (the Swaziland Broadcasting Information Service) is a
Government-owned FM broadcaster that transmits in both English and
siSwati. The SBIS English service is available approximately 16
hours per day. South African broadcast signals can occasionally be
received with normal aerials. Using quality short-wave receivers,
listeners can also hear the Voice of America (VOA), BBC, and other
shortwave transmissions. These and other signals are also available
by subscribing to DSTV (a South African cable network) or by using a
SpaceWorld receiver. Shortwave receivers are less expensive in the
U.S. than in Swaziland. SpaceWorld receivers are widely available in
SWAZI TV, a semi-independent television broadcaster, transmits 24
hours per day, usually in English. However, most Mission personnel
prefer to subscribe to DSTV, which provides nearly 75 channels of
entertainment, news, and sports. As noted earlier, audio
transmissions are also available through DSTV.
Video rental shops in Mbabane offer a selection of high-quality,
up-to-date DVD, and video selections.
All South African and Swazi television signals-as well as most
rental videos-are PAL format. It is, therefore, advisable to bring
either PAL or multisystem television and VCR equipment to post.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
5/30/2002 6:00 PM
One newsmagazine and three newspapers are published in Swaziland.
All are published in English; most are privately owned. The Nation
is an independent monthly newsmagazine. The Guardian of Swaziland,
an independent online newspaper, is available at http://www.theguardian.do.sz.
The Swazi Observer and the Times of Swaziland are published daily
from Mbabane. The Observer is owned by a crown trust; the Times is
independent. South African newspapers reach Mbabane approximately 6
hours after publication in Johannesburg. London newspapers, as well
as international magazines, such as the Economist, Newsweek, and
Time are available 1 week after publication.
The Mission subscribes to the Paris edition of the International
Herald Tribune, which arrives approximately 5 days after
publication. The Mission's Public Diplomacy Section maintains a
library, where more than 60 magazines and newspapers are on offer.
And USA Today is available to subscribers via airmail from London.
Books can be borrowed from two sources in Mbabane: the Mbabane
Library, a private lending library; and the National Library, where
an especially good children's collection is available.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Compared to many developing nations, the medical care in
Swaziland, at least for most routine problems, is quite good. There
are a number of Western-trained physicians, particularly in primary
care specialties. There is one quite reasonable small private
hospital in Mbabane, The Clinic, to which patients are occasionally
admitted for short-term hospitalization, including simple surgeries.
For more serious conditions or diagnostic and/or therapeutic
dilemmas, patients are evacuated to nearby Johannesburg or Pretoria
where the medical care is equal to that of the U.S. In critical
circumstances, air evacuation to South Africa is utilized, weather
permitting. There are two regional medical officers and one regional
psychiatrist stationed in Pretoria; they make regular visits to
Swaziland and the other countries of southern Africa. A small Health
Unit with a registered nurse is maintained by the Embassy in
Mbabane. The Health Unit offers all needed vaccines and stocks a
small number of medicines for acute illness. The nurse is well
acquainted with the local medical community and makes appropriate
Because of a lack of first world level post-natal care in
Swaziland, pregnant women are routinely advised to go to South
Africa or the U.S. for delivery. Good prenatal care can be obtained
Ancillary services like X rays, CAT scans, and laboratory are
available at the clinic, although they send some of the more complex
lab tests to South Africa. The cost of medical care in Swaziland,
like in South Africa, is remarkably reasonable.
Most drugs are available and affordable in Swaziland through
several pharmacies. Nonetheless, it is advisable that newcomers
bring at least 3-month supplies of those important medicines that
they take regularly. The regional medical officers can write
prescriptions to send to mail-order services of private pharmacies
in the U.S.
Mbabane has a registered optometrist who can provide both the
prescription and the glasses for a patient who requires visual aid.
Contact lenses are available.
The Clinic has a dental office used by many expatriates. Other
dentists are also available. Orthodonture is available in nearby
Nelspruit, South Africa, a two-hour drive.
Community Health Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Heavy mist that blankets Mbabane and other areas of the highveld
several months each year, combined with poor car maintenance,
intoxication, and general risk-taking behind the wheel makes driving
hazardous. Indeed, Swaziland has one of the highest accident rates
in the world. It is absolutely essential that one wears seat belts
at all times, has children in car seats or seat belts, and drives
HIV/AIDS is a catastrophic problem in Swaziland and neighboring
countries. Although local blood supplies are reasonably safe, all
attempts to avoid blood transfusions are made and the Embassy
maintains a "walking blood bank," using its own staff and dependents
as potential donors. The usual prevention techniques, including safe
sex, are essential in this country.
Public sanitation facilities (sewer and garbage disposal) run by
the Mbabane and Manzini municipal governments are satisfactory.
Water from the town supply is considered of questionable safety for
drinking, and all U.S. Government residences have been provided with
water filters. Milk from local commercial dairies is pasteurized,
although most official Americans use UHT milk. The Swaziland Dairy
Board occasionally has difficulty ensuring the freshness of its
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Malaria, tuberculosis, bilharzia, venereal diseases, and
tick-bite fever are endemic to Swaziland. Malaria is not found in
the highveld, but is found year- round in the middle and lowveld
areas. Those living in or traveling to the lowveld should take
malaria suppressants and see a physician or the Embassy nurse at the
onset of any fever. Similarly, travelers to Mozambique, Kruger Park,
and KwaZulu Natal Province should take malaria suppressants. In view
of the high incidence of chloroquine resistant malaria, only
doxycycline and mefloquine are considered acceptable prophylactics.
Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is prevalent in Swaziland's streams,
ponds, and lakes. Avoid swimming, wading, or washing in natural
bodies of water.
Snakes, both poisonous and harmless, are common in Swaziland,
especially in the lowveld.
Inoculations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, tetanus,
and typhoid are recommended before arrival. Those not fully
immunized can receive vaccinations in the Health Unit.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 5/30/2002
The Government of Swaziland allows eligible family members to
accept paid employment when no qualified Swazi can take the job. A
work permit may be required. Practically speaking, local salaries
are so low that EFMs usually work for a U.S. Government agency or
contractor, for which no work permit is required. For positions such
as teachers or nurses, the hiring university, ministry, or doctor
obtains the work permit.
Because of the limited size of the post, job possibilities for
EFMs at the Embassy are limited.
American Embassy - Mbabane
Post City Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Former British administrators chose Mbabane as the capital of the
High Commission territory because it was free of malaria. Today, it
bustles with commercial and official activity resulting from its
status as the seat of government of the independent nation of
Swaziland. Pleasant residential areas spread over the hills surround
the growing business section. Downtown stores and nearby shopping
centers with a couple of U.S.-style supermarkets provide most of the
goods and services available in a small U.S. town.
Although Mbabane, located in the mountainous highveld of western
Swaziland, is the administrative capital, traditional Swazis look
for national leadership to the Lobamba area about 10 miles southeast
of Mbabane in the middleveld. The parliament buildings, the Swazi
National Council (SNC) offices, and the residences of the King and
the Queen Mother are also located in the Lobamba area.
Mbabane has many social characteristics of a small U.S. town, and
the combination of its 26ºS. latitude (longitude is 31ºE.) and
3,800-foot altitude gives Mbabane cool, dry winters (May to
September) and mild, rainy summers (October to April). Most of the
rainfall comes in long, misty drizzles: hail and violent electrical
storms frequently accompany heavy rains. Evenings are cool, even in
summer, and frost occurs in winter months, necessitating fireplaces
and electric heaters.
The capital's previous British colonial atmosphere has dissipated
somewhat with the "localization" of the civil service. Although a
substantial non-Swazi population still remains, it is now composed
mostly of South Africans and British as well as U.N., expatriate aid
personnel and other missionaries. More than in most African
countries, there is sizable long-term expatriate community, some of
whom have children living in southern Africa. Mbabane's Swazi
population is comprised primarily of government officials and rural
Swazis who have come to the city seeking jobs.
Security Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swaziland is a high crime area but as long as one takes
precautions, security should not be a problem for Americans. Do not
walk alone at night or open your door to strangers. Crime seems to
come in waves, partly from cross border incursions from South Africa
and Mozambique. Car thefts and hijackings are on the rise.
Burglaries and rapes do occur, but thus far U.S. Government
personnel have not been affected. All U.S. Government-owned houses
are fitted with safe haven doors, burglar bars, intrusion alarms
tied to central monitoring, perimeter lighting, and shatter
resistant window film. Driveways and garages have electric openers.
Guards are provided. Occupants have telephones, radios, and cell
phones at their disposal to call for help. Lock your doors at home
and when driving.
The local guard force has a react team and will respond to
residential alarms or if called. The police are not known for fast
react time and sometimes have trouble with transportation. In a
medical emergency, contact the fire department.
Be careful in town of pickpockets and scam artists. Count your
change. Watch for possible attempts of credit card fraud. Use common
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
The post was established in 1965 as a Consulate for the three
High Commission Territories of Basutoland (now Lesotho),
Bechuanaland (now Botswana), and Swaziland. As each country gained
independence, an Embassy was opened. In Swaziland this occurred in
September 1968. It was headed by a nonresident Ambassador and Charg‚
d'Affaires. The first resident Ambassador arrived in late 1979.
Working hours for U.S. Government offices in Swaziland are from 8
a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with lunch from 1 p.m. to 2
p.m. Official U.S. and most local holidays are observed.
The Chancery, located on the top two floors of the Central Bank
Building on Warner Street, is staffed by 6 Americans including the
Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission, political/economic/consular
officer, communications staff, and the Front Office OMS and 14
locally engaged staff.
Public Diplomacy (PD) operates an American Cultural Center on
Allister Miller Street in downtown Mbabane, a few minutes drive from
the Chancery. The staff includes a public affairs officer (PAO) and
nine locally engaged staff. PD provides information on U.S. policies
and activities in Swaziland and southern Africa. It also presents
background information on American government, history, and culture.
Activities include arranging for visiting lecturers from the U.S.
and the Fulbright program. The post operates a resource center,
which offers state of the art connectivity, and a small collection
The General Services Office (GSO) is located on the site of the
former FBIS offices in the Kent Rock area of Mbabane. The American
general services officer oversees a staff of 12, comprising
procurement, travel and transportation, motor pool, maintenance, and
supply operations. A warehouse is also located on the site.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Most new personnel can expect to move directly into their
permanent quarters. A Welcome Kit is available until household
Although a range of hotel accommodations exists near Mbabane,
there are no adequate hotels in downtown Mbabane. The Mountain Inn
is located about 2 miles outside town. More distant (about 6 miles)
in the Ezulwini ("heavenly") Valley is a trio of luxurious Swazi Sun
hotels. All have pools, and share a casino, an international class
golf course, tennis courts, stables, and exercise and spa
In 2000, per diem rates were sufficient to cover rooms at all
facilities. Accommodations can be difficult for weekend and
holidays, although adequate arrangements can usually be made if the
post is notified well in advance.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
All personnel live in single-family U.S. Government-owned houses.
Most have large, fenced gardens, and none is more than a 10-minute
drive from Embassy offices. All are equipped with full Department of
State-approved security measures, including safehavens, intrusion
alarms, burglar bars, perimeter lights, safety film on all windows
and solid-core entry doors. In addition, all houses have guards.
The Ambassador's residence is a four-bedroom house with a living
room and adjoining small dining room, study, large kitchen, and a
double garage. The property has extensive grounds, including an
outside entertainment area and a swimming pool. The DCM's home has
four bedrooms, living and dining rooms and a large kitchen. A family
room with a built-in bar has recently been added. It has a large
garden, a patio with an outdoor entertainment area, and a carport.
All other houses are three-to-four bedrooms. Most have fireplaces.
Some have dens and/or breakfast rooms. Most have double garages. Two
of these houses have swimming pools.
Furnishings Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
All U.S. Government employees receive complete Government
furnishings. This includes rugs, draperies, and furniture for the
living room, dining rooms and bedrooms. Most houses are provided
with outdoor furniture and built-in barbecue facilities.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
All houses have most of the amenities and facilities found in
similar houses in the U.S. with the exception of central heating and
A/C. Some rooms have air-conditioning and reverse-cycle heating.
Some portable radiators are available, but houses can still be cool
and damp. Wood is provided for fireplaces. All houses contain
stoves, microwave ovens, washers, dryers, refrigerators, vacuum
cleaners and transformers. Water filters, smoke detectors and carbon
monoxide alarms are also standard issue. Commercial power is 220
volts and 50 cycles. American appliances require transformers. UPS
and or voltage regulators are suggested for electronic equipment as
frequent thunderstorms accompanied by lightning seriously affect
power supplies. In addition, protection for telephone lines is
important as many staff have experienced damage to computer modems.
All houses have generators to compensate for frequent power outages.
Food Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
There is good availability and variety of foodstuffs in Mbabane,
although most U.S. brands are not available. The city has several
supermarkets, produce markets, bakeries, and butcher shops, one with
a well-stocked delicatessen. Most items not available in Swaziland
can be bought in South Africa. Items not sold in either country
include unsweetened baking chocolate, solid vegetable shortening,
and U.S.-style relish. The manager of one local supermarket has
indicated to staff that the store will order special items, by
request. A full range of liquor is available in the local stores.
South African wines are especially good and reasonably priced.
Swaziland also has a brewery.
Clothing Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Mbabane's climate is moderate all year. However, the temperature
can vary noticeably between morning and evening in both winter and
summer. For this reason, layering of clothing is the most practical
approach to dressing. Several hot weeks in summer
(December-February) require light dresses or suits. Lightweight
woolens and sweaters are needed for winter, but not heavy winter
outerwear. A full range of clothing, including rainwear, is ideal. A
good pair of walking shoes will be useful. Shoes in narrow width are
not available. Although Mbabane has several clothing stores, styles
are not always fashionable, and most adults bring clothing from the
U.S. or order from catalogs. Clothing choices are more varied and
the quality is better in South Africa. Children and teenager's
clothing, especially cotton, is reasonably priced. Most women wear
hosiery to the office, and nearly all women wear hosiery in winter
for warmth. Swimmers should bring bathing suits, although a limited
supply is available locally.
Men Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Most male officers wear coat and tie at work. Business suits
suffice for most ceremonial events, but black tie is occasionally
worn for service club dances and formal events. The rare royal event
will specify white tie or morning coat as a preferred option for the
Ambassador or most senior staff. For information on formal attire,
see Official Functions.
Women Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
There are no clothing taboos in Swaziland pertaining to women.
However, miniskirts, see-through blouses, cutaway backs, sleeveless
dresses, and short tennis skirts are not appreciated in town.
Pantsuits are frowned upon at official government offices or at
official government events, especially at royal events. Long skirts
and dresses are acceptable. Swazi women generally wear hats and
scarves, unless they are wearing the traditional "beehive" hairdo
and traditional dress. Women may be expected to wear a hat and
gloves to formal official functions and for certain royal events.
Suitable hats are available in Mbabane.
Children Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Toys and clothing are available at reasonable prices. Children's
shoes are available, although quality and size ranges are not up to
U.S. standards. U.S.-type disposable diapers can be expensive. Bring
a supply with you. A wide range of baby formula is available but
only in powder form in tins. Local stores sell jars of baby food and
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Most personal and household goods can be purchased in Swaziland.
However, they are usually imported from South Africa and can be
expensive. Most American brands are not available.
Basic Services Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Clothing repair and drycleaning facilities are available in
Mbabane, but at a standard much lower than that in the U.S.
Facilities in urban South Africa are comparable to those in the U.S.
Dressmakers and tailors are available. The quality is variable.
Several good beauty salons and barbershops are available.
Some garages in town do adequate work on European and South
African cars, but rarely have parts to repair American makes. Staff
members bringing American cars should plan to take them to Pretoria,
Johannesburg, or Durban for major repairs. Bodywork is good and
Domestic Help Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Most houses in Mbabane have servants' quarters, and many families
hire domestic and garden workers. Domestic workers usually live in,
sometimes with their children. Housekeepers earn $75 to $100 per
month, while cooks earn $70 to $80 per month. Gardeners earn $60 to
$70 per month. Workers are usually provided a "13th-month" payment,
a food allowance, overtime pay for babysitting and dinner parties,
and many employers take responsibility for their worker's health
care. An employment act lists minimum wages and other regulations
concerning worker employment.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Anglicans (Episcopalians), Catholics, Methodists, Baha'is,
Baptists, and others hold services in English. There is a
nondenominational Evangelical Protestant Sunday School. The
Nazarenes are very active throughout the country and have services
in most towns. Although Mbabane does not have a synagogue, the
Israeli Embassy sometimes holds services for the important Jewish
holidays. An Islamic Information Service organization and a
Christian Women's Club are located in Mbabane. Several Bible study
groups and prayer cells meet regularly.
Education Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Mbabane schools are coeducational, multiracial, and taught in
English. All are under the Swazi Government Ministry of Education,
except the private preschools, Usutu Forest Primary School, and
Waterford KaMhlaba. The academic year consists of three terms with a
3-week holiday in May, a 3-week holiday in August-September, and a
6-week holiday in December-January. Special facilities are not
available for mentally or physically handicapped or for learning
disabled students. Schools are based on the British style of
education rather than the American style. Transportation is
currently available only to Waterford KaMhlaba, but few stops are
served, and most children need to be driven to school. Carpools are
increasingly popular, especially with parents of children at the
Usutu Forest School.
Preschools. Mbabane has several preschools, small and large,
those oriented mainly to play and those oriented to school
preparation. All have waiting lists; if you are bringing a
preschooler, notify the post as soon as possible, giving your
child's name, age, and preference as to the type of school.
Primary Schools. All Government schools follow the Swaziland
primary school curriculum that focuses on Swazi and African history
and culture. Science classes feature basic information with some
experimentation. In the past, American parents have taught weekly
social studies and science classes for grades 2 and 3. Sifundzani
School is the only primary school in the city of Mbabane that
provides adequate facilities for American children, and as a Swazi
Government school, it follows a British curriculum. Sifundzani has
grades 1-7 and enrolls children the year they turn 6. It receives
support from the Office of Overseas Schools. Classes range from 30
to 35 children, most of whom speak English as a first language, and
represent over 25 nationalities. All grades have two sections. Not
all teachers meet U.S. qualifications, and lessons in science and
the use of computers are not up to U.S. standards. A new playing
field and swimming pool were added in 1986. The school day is from
7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Afternoon activities are available four
afternoons per week for students in grades 3 to 7. Tuition is
covered by the U.S. Government allowance. Simple, inexpensive
uniforms of shirts and navy blue shorts or trousers for boys and
pinafores for girls are required. The post educational allowance for
2000 was $1,850 (kindergarten through grade 6) and $3,750 (7th
graders), and covers tuition and fees at Sifundzani.
The Usutu Forest Primary School is a privately run,
coeducational, multiracial school about a 45-minute drive or 25 km
from Mbabane. The School enrolls 208 students, about 40% of whom are
Swazi-the other 60% are multinational. Since the school was built to
provide an education to the children of the workers of the Usutu
Forest Company, it has limited openings, and Americans are not
guaranteed admission. It has grades 1 to 7 (also, a grade "0" which
equates to kindergarten in the U.S.). Students must be 5 ½ years of
age by December to be enrolled in grade 1. Sports activities include
soccer, swimming, track and field, tennis, and basketball. The
school day runs from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. A uniform priced at about
$40 is required. The post educational allowance may not cover all
tuition and fees.
Secondary Schools. There are several secondary schools in
Swaziland. One is Waterford KaMhlaba United World College, which
provides a 5-year program leading to the British "0" level
examinations followed by a 2-year International Baccalaureate (I.B.)
program. The "O" level is roughly equivalent to a U.S. high school
diploma, and the I.B. prepares students for colleges almost anywhere
in the world. Students are usually admitted with advanced standing
in the U.S. Waterford is set among the foothills overlooking Mbabane
and is considered to be a good preparatory school. It is usually
full and often has a waiting list. Every prospective student must
take an entrance examination before being enrolled (used with age
for placement purposes). Children should be age 11 by January 1 for
Form One (U.S. equivalent is grade 7). There is a boarding section,
and all I.B. students must board. A bus provides transportation for
day students. The school's 320 students represent some 30 countries.
Classes run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and
Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. Sports activities
are scheduled in the afternoons until about 5 p.m. Waterford has
playing fields and a swimming pool, but competition is limited
because they do not compete against South African teams. Competitive
swimming is available. Subjects offered include English language and
literature, computer studies, history, geography, math, economics,
chemistry, biology, physics, modern languages, music, and art.
Extracurricular activities include art, chess, music, science,
clubs, camping and outward bound, community service, sports, and
outdoor activities. No uniforms are required. The secondary at-post
educational allowance for Mbabane was $4,700 in 2000 (which covers
tuition and transportation at Waterford) and the away-from-post
allowance was $32,850. Some families, especially those wanting an
American-type or more traditional education, choose to enroll their
children in U.S. or South African schools where good boarding
schools exist. Other secondary schools include, Sifundzani and
Sitsembiso Sebunye High School, and they have similar curriculum and
Private Tutoring. Lessons in art, ballet, crafts, gymnastics, and
sports, including horseback riding are available in or near Mbabane.
Sebenta National Institute offers evening classes in siSwati for
foreigners and the Alliance Francaise offers French classes at
several levels and introductory siSwati. Private German and
Portuguese lessons are also available.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swaziland has good sports facilities. Soccer is probably the most
popular spectator sport. Semiprofessional games are played on
weekends in Mbabane and elsewhere in Swaziland. Expatriates may
participate on some of the teams.
The country has several golf courses, including one at the
Mbabane Club and the international-standard course at the Royal
Swazi Sun Hotel. Tennis is increasing in popularity. There are three
municipal courts at Coronation Park in Mbabane (fees are 25 cents
per hour and courts are often crowded on weekends), six courts at
the Mbabane Club, and others at nearly every major center in the
country. Both the Mbabane Club and Coronation Park have squash
courts, and courts are also located at the Royal Swazi Sun (open to
hotel guests and members), the Manzini Club, and the Malkerns Club.
Horseback riding facilities are available at several hotels and
nature reserves around the country as well as privately run stables.
Stabling is available for privately owned horses.
Swimming pools are located at the Mbabane Club and the Theatre
Club in Mbabane, as well as a municipal pool in Coronation Park. The
"Cuddle Puddle" hot springs is located near the hotels in the
valley, with sauna, spa bath, massage, and health club facilities.
Most hotels have their own pools available for use on a daily fee
basis. Mlilwane Nature Reserve has recently built a pool.
A scuba diving club provides lessons to novices, tests and
certifies them, and organizes diving outings, usually to Sodwana Bay
in South Africa. National volleyball tournaments are played in
round-robin style, and expatriates are welcome to compete. Other
sports include badminton, rugby, darts, snooker, and pool.
Indigenous fish, including bream, yellowfish, silver barbel, mud
fish, and eels, are found in most rivers. Black bass have been
successfully introduced into a number of dams. Streams in the Usutu
Forest are stocked with trout, but fishing in these waters is by
permit only (available from the Usutu Forest Fishing Club).
Big game hunting is prohibited in Swaziland. Permits for hunting
small game and birds are available from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swaziland's scenic mountains and highveld attract outdoor
enthusiasts. Camping, hiking, picnicking, and fishing are popular.
Several Bushmen painting sites are near Mbabane. The country now has
five game parks/nature reserves, all of which offer accommodations
and four of which have camping sites. Mlilwane, located 10 miles
outside Mbabane, has well-kept roads that bring the visitor within a
few feet of a wide variety of game and birds indigenous to
Swaziland. These include antelope, rhino, zebra, giraffe, hippo,
ostrich, and many birds. Elephants and rhinos are being reintroduced
into Swaziland in the outlying reserves. The Swaziland Natural
History and Mineral and Gem Societies often arrange lectures and
tours to these areas.
The Swaziland Automobile Club organizes rallies during the year.
The Swaziland Flying Club at Matsapha Airport has its own plane and
gives flying lessons. An annual raft race is held on the Usutu River
near Big Bend.
Kruger National Park is located 2 ½ hours north of Mbabane in
South Africa. It contains much of the game still found in southern
Africa including lion, cheetah, and elephant. The northern Natal
areas have smaller game parks and the famous Drakensberg Mountains
with snow-covered peaks offer mountain climbing, trout fishing,
camping, and skiing in winter. Blyde River Canyon, about 3 hours
north of Mbabane, has beautiful hiking and climbing areas. The
beaches both north and south of Durban are beautiful, and deep-water
fishing is excellent.
Durban, Johannesburg, and Pretoria all offer recent movies,
theater, music, good restaurants, and nightclubs. Many of these
areas have inexpensive lodging and provide full facilities for
families. Although many facilities in South Africa are now
"international" (catering to all races), racial policies, practices,
and attitudes are an ever-present and limiting consideration for
persons of all races traveling there.
London and the U.S. are the designated R&R destinations.
Entertainment Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Mbabane is a town of largely self-generated entertainment. The
Alliance Francaise shows weekly French films at the Swaziland
National Library, open to the public. The Mbabane Theater Club
stages productions and occasionally brings in plays from outside the
country. They also have dinner theater featuring short plays and
amateur folk nights. In addition to nightclub entertainment and a
resident band, the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel has roulette tables, chemin
de fer, blackjack games, and slot machines. The Happy Valley Motel
and Why Not disco provide dancing and adult entertainment.
Occasional horse events and gymkhanas are held at local stables. The
Swaziland Art Society sponsors two exhibitions each year featuring
the work of artists residing in Swaziland. A commercial art gallery,
Indingilizi, in Mbabane, has regular exhibitions. Swaziland is a
photographer's delight with both natural scenery and colorful
national dress. Film processing is available in Mbabane, but slides
are sent to South Africa.
Among Americans Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM Organized social
life is generally limited to a Fourth of July picnic and the
occasional holiday community function. However, Americans frequently
entertain with dinners or small parties. Most entertainment is
International Contacts Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM Swaziland
offers many opportunities to meet people with diverse backgrounds
and personalities. A number of expatriates serve as advisers and
technicians in Government offices, and many persons in commercial
and banking circles are from other countries. Mbabane's
international atmosphere is further enhanced by the presence of a
number of other resident Embassy, trade, and consular missions
(including U.K., Israel, Mozambique, South Korea, Belgium, Italy,
Denmark, Republic of South Africa, EEC, UNDP, and UNHCR). There are
the usual numbers of catered receptions for national days and for
the promotion of business to which official Americans and others
will be invited.
Several social/service organizations provide an opportunity to
meet individuals of many nationalities. These include the Rotary
Club, the International Forum, the Roundtable, and the Women's
Society. Bridge groups (both women's and mixed), knitting and
cooking groups, and a mahjong group welcome new participants.
Swazi Contacts. Although social entertaining in the Western sense
is not a part of Swazi social life, occasional opportunities exist
to visit Swazi homes or homesteads, and Swazis usually accept dinner
invitations. Receptions are usually attended by large numbers of
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Formal functions are few. Small lunches, dinners, barbecues
(called braais), and similar get-togethers are held often. Many
Swazis go to their homesteads on weekends, so most official
entertaining is done during the week.
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
The Ambassador is invited to official and diplomatic dinners and
receptions at least twice a week, often more frequently. Other
Mission personnel will probably be invited to numerous less formal
social occasions. The number of invitations you receive depends on
the numbers you extend. Black tie is never obligatory but can be
used two or three times per year. The Ambassador and other principal
officials of the Mission find courtesy calls on the persons who will
become their principal contacts useful. Business cards are
frequently used, but the custom of formal calls is not often
observed. Printed business cards and invitations are available
locally. Engraved cards can be obtained in South Africa.
Mission personnel are expected to attend official
representational functions to which they are invited. Those who
arrive 10 minutes early for such functions are especially welcome.
It is not appropriate for women to wear slacks to either U.S. or
Swazi official functions. Wearing morning coat/formal gown is not
obligatory at formal state occasions (e.g., for the presentation of
credentials), but it is welcomed by the Swazis and an Ambassador who
already has such dress will find it useful.
Special Information Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swaziland is an easy country for people on special or temporary
assignments in the country. Because it is geared to tourism, the
standard in hotels and restaurants is good, and the Swazi people are
very friendly and helpful to visitors. Facilities are crowded on
weekends and during holidays, so make reservations early. Rental
cars are available, but remember, traffic moves on the left.
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Manzini, Swaziland's only international airport, located in
Matsapha, is about 25 miles from Mbabane. There are no direct
flights to Manzini, except from South Africa. Travelers must catch
one of four connecting flights daily to Manzini from Johannesburg.
Allow at least 2 days for travel to post from Washington. There are
no currency exchange facilities at Manzini in the airport.
Personnel arriving by plane must notify the Embassy in advance to
ensure airport pick-up. If you are not met call the following
numbers from a public phone:
Embassy personnel 404-6441/2/3/4/5; PD personnel
404-2445/404-2059; GSO personnel 404-3697/404-3177.
Weekends and holidays, all personnel should phone the duty
officer at 602-8414 for assistance. If the airport phone is out of
order take the Sun Hotel minibus, which meets all incoming flights,
to any of the Sun Hotels and phone from there.
Cars can be rented at the airport in Johannesburg or in Pretoria
for the 223-mile drive (approximately 4 hours) to Mbabane. Travelers
should get careful directions before driving to Swaziland, as road
signs are not always clear. Oshoek, the most commonly used border
post on the road from Johannesburg and Pretoria to Mbabane, is open
daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. No suitable overnight accommodation is
available at the border.
Transit for airfreight varies but is normally from 3 to 4 weeks.
Airfreight consignments should be marked as follows:
Rohlig Grinrod 90 Electron Avenue Isando Box 1755 Johannesburg,
South Africa 2000 (For American Embassy Mbabane—Employee's name)
Surface shipments to Swaziland (household effects and personally
owned vehicles) should be routed to the port of Durban, South
Africa. If required, shipments can be stored until your arrival.
Surface freight and vehicles may take 2 to 4 months from the U.S.
Surface freight comes by truck from Durban and vehicles come by
rail. Both should be marked as follows:
Rohlig Grinrod 45 Richard Carte Road Mobeni Durban, South Africa
4060 (For American Embassy Mbabane—Employee's name)
To facilitate customs clearance, please forward the following
information to GSO prior to arrival at post:
HHE and UAB shipment: airway bill number, number of pieces,
packing list, weight, shipment description, ocean bill of lading
number, vessel name, and voyage number.
Personally owned vehicles: vessel name, container number, ocean
bill of lading number, color, make, value, engine number, weight,
year of manufacture, petrol or diesel.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swaziland belongs to the Southern African Customs Union, which
also includes South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia. As such,
travelers cannot shop in the duty-free shops at Johannesburg Airport
when traveling to other countries within the union. All goods being
carried into Swaziland via South Africa may be inspected by South
African customs officials. Although South Africa is not a signatory
to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, its policy on
diplomatic duty-free entry follows that convention. All shipments
belonging to diplomatic personnel are allowed in unchecked. For
other regulations applicable to the transit of goods via South
Africa, refer to the South Africa Post Report.
Passage Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swaziland maintains customs and immigration facilities at all
border posts and at Manzini Airport. To enter Swaziland, American
citizens need only a valid passport. A residence permit will be
applied for after arrival. In addition, persons coming directly from
an endemic yellow fever area must have a yellow fever vaccination
certificate. Long stamps, an immigration stamp placed in passports,
facilitate quick clearance and may be obtained after arrival for
crossing road borders between Swaziland and South Africa.
Pets Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Both a transit permit from South Africa and an import permit from
Swaziland are required for all pets. Both permits can be obtained by
GSO and mailed to the traveler if at least 8 weeks notice is given.
Only as a last resort, and not recommended, the South African permit
can be mailed to the Johannesburg Airport and the Swaziland permit
can be hand-carried to Manzini Airport. It is advisable to have
several copies of all papers dealing with pets. Pets must be
accompanied by an in-transit permit completed and signed by a
veterinarian authorized by the Government of the exporting country
and a veterinary health certificate. Original documents must be
affixed to the cage in which pets are shipped. All pets must travel
as manifested cargo. They must not be brought in as excess baggage
or in the cabin. Failure to comply with this formality may result in
pets being shipped back to the country of origin. Although personnel
often leave pets with domestic workers when they are away, the
Swaziland Welfare Society operates kenneling facilities in Mbabane.
They also have pets for adoption. Private veterinarian practices
exist in Mbabane, and several veterinarians are on contract with the
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Diplomatic personnel are discouraged from bringing firearms to
post. However, diplomatic personnel who want to bring their firearms
to Swaziland must apply for permission before shipping their weapon.
The Embassy can help employees get approval from MFA and the police.
This approval must be received before the firearms arrive in
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Swaziland introduced its own currency (singular, lilangeni;
plural, emalangeni) in 1974, although the South African rand is
still freely accepted by local vendors on a par basis. As of May
2001, 7.8 emalangeni equals one U.S. dollar.
Several banks have full-service operations in Swaziland,
including Nedbank and Standard Bank, both of South Africa. Barclays
Bank of Swaziland, the Bank of Credit and Commerce, and Union Bank
maintain their head offices in Mbabane and smaller branches
throughout the country. They provide normal banking services,
including checking and savings accounts. The Swaziland Development
and Savings Bank functions similarly to an American savings and loan
Swaziland uses the metric system.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 5/30/2002
Swaziland is part of the Southern African Customs Union.
Diplomatic and official personnel are entitled to duty-free entry of
personal effects and vehicles. A vehicle brought in duty-free must
remain in the union for 20 months before it can be sold duty free.
The post follows all Department of State regulations concerning the
sale of property. A copy of the policy is available from the
Administrative Section. A small portion of the gasoline taxes is
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
Bonner, Philip. Kings, Commoners and Concessionaires.
Johannesburg: Raven, 1983.
Booth, Alan R. Historical Dictionary of Swaziland. Lanham:
_____. Swaziland: Tradition and Change in a Southern African
Kingdom. Boulder: Westview, 1983.
Funnell, D. C. Under the Shadow of Apartheid: Agrarian
Transformation in Swaziland. Aldershot: Avebury, 1991.
Gillis, D. Hugh. The Kingdom of Swaziland: Studies in Political
History. Westport: Greenwood, 1999.
Kessler, Cristina. All the King's Animals: the Return of
Endangered Wildlife to Swaziland. Honesdale: Boyd Mills, 1995.
Kuper, Hilda. An African Aristocracy: Rank Among the Swazi.
London: Oxford, 1947.
_____. Sobhuza II: Ngwenyama and King of Swaziland. London:
_____. The Swazi: A South African Kingdom. Chicago: Rinehart &
Matsebula, J. S. M. A History of Swaziland. Cape Town: Longman,
Rose, Laurel L. The Politics of Harmony: Land Dispute Strategies
in Swaziland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 5/30/2002 6:00 PM
New Year's Day January 1 Good Friday Varies Easter Monday Varies
King Mswati III's Birthday April 19
National Flag Day April 25 King Sobhuza's Birthday July 22 Reed
Dance Late August/early September Independence Day September 6
Christmas Day December 25 Boxing Day December 26 Incwala Late
Except for a few provisions or grocery stores, gift shops,
hotels, restaurants, and the markets, everything closes on official