History & Culture


Swaziland is an independent monarchy located in Southern Africa. It has always been a land of kings, rich in traditions and heritage. The current head of state is King Mswati III. In Swaziland, "Dlamini" is the surname of the royal family, and the most common surname amongst Swazi nationals. The royal line of Dlamini dates back to about 1550 when the people lived in the vicinity of Delogoa Bay. The kingdom was ruled by a provisional government comprising of the Boer's, British and Swazi until 1894 when Swaziland became a British protectorate and later gained independence in the year 1968. King Mswati III was installed as king at the tender age of eighteen. The Swazi nation actively maintains a noteworthy culture marked by colourful happy ceremonies. These ceremonies include individual, family and national ceremonies. Some must see include, amongst others, Sibhaca dancing, Swazi weddings, Umhlanga (reed dance), and Incwala.

The Sibhaca Dance

The vigorous warrior's dances known as "Sibhaca" are very popular in Swaziland and there are few festivities where the sound of the large drums,the clapping of blocks of wood and the singing that accompanies these energetic dances is not heard. The dance is highly strenuous: teams of dancers step forward in turn to perform a barefoot high-kicking and stomping, while their companions behind beat drums, chant and sing. All wear traditional dress, with colourful tassels and embellishments. Sibhaca involves the stomping of the feet in unison accompanied by traditional music and rhythmic traditional chants. The men wear colourful quilts and decorate their legs with mohair implements. A typical Sibhaca session can last up to two or three hours, with a variety of difference rotations, songs and styles performed.

The Incwala Ceremony

This is the first fruit ceremony Of the Kingdom. Incwala Ceremony is normally celebrated in a date chosen by royal appointed traditional astrologers in conjunction with the phases of the moon. It is a ceremony that marks the King's opening of the feast of the fresh fruits of the year. It also symbolises the king as a unifying factor among the Swazi nation and a symbol of power and authority. All people in Swaziland gather at the Royal Cattle Byre at Ludzidzini where song and dance is rendered as part of the celebrations of the New Year, this ceremony normally last for days. The Incwala dates back to early 1800s.

Lusekwane (Sacred Shrub)

Lusekwane (Sacred shrub) is reserved for young boys (tingaja) who are not married. This tradional custom dates back to the pre-colonial era. These young boys are commissioned by the King to cut Lusekwane annually which is then used to fence around the traditional structures within the Royal residence. This ceremony is normally attended by multitudes of young boys from all parts of the country. Women should be wearing long skirts below the knees, or wear sarongs. Men should not be wearing hats while around the royal palace. If you want to take close pictures of the Royalty you should get a permit from the(Swaziland National Trust Commission)

The Umhlanga (Reed) Dance

Umhlanga is an annual national ceremony at which thousands of young Swazi maidens from all corners of the kingdom gather to pay homage to the Queen mother and the monarchy. The ceremony takes place at either the end of August or the beginning of September, depending on the moon. The girls cut reeds and travel to Queen Mother's homestead of Ludzidzini and conclude the ceremony with dance before the royal household in expression of national unity dressed in traditional Swazi attire carrying reeds brought to the Queen Mother.

For further information on our beautiful country please visit the official website for the Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) on thekingdomofswaziland

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National Flag


Red: Wars of the Past
Yellow: Mineral Wealth and Natural Resources
Blue: Peace and Stability in Swaziland
Black & White Shield: Whites and Blacks living together in Peace

National Coat of Arms


Lion:     King
Elephant:     Queen Mother
Lidlabe:     Kings Crown
Siyinqaba:     United We Stand
Black & White Shield:           Swazi Nation(Blacks and      Whites Living in Harmony)

Swaziland National Anthem

Nkulunkulu Mnikati wetibusiso temaSwati, Siyatibonga tonkhe tinhlanhla Sibonga iNgwenyama yetfu Live netintsaba nemifula Busisa tiphatsimandla takaNgwane Nguwe wedvwa Somandla wetfu Sinike kuhlakanipha lokungenabucili Simise usicinise Simakadze

Swaziland National Holidays

Date Holiday
1 Jan:    New Year's Day
Mar/Apr:    Good Friday
Mar/Apr:    Easter Monday
19 Apr:    King's Birthday
25 Apr:    National Flag Day
Apr:    Ascension Day
22 Jul:    Public Holiday
Aug/Sep:    Umhlanga Dance
6 Sep:    Independence Day
20 Sept:    National Elections 2013
25 Dec:    Christmas Day
26 Dec:    Boxing Day
Dec/ Jan:    Incwala Day or First Fruit    Ceremony

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Getting There


How to Get to Swaziland

Obviously it is our view that booking to travel with us is the best way to get to Swaziland, however we want you to be aware of the options available and make an informed decision. Swaziland is land locked country and for passengers is only accessibly by road and by air. To access the country by road there are numerous Border Posts (the operating hours of each gate are listed on the right). To access Swaziland by air there is the Matsapha international airport located in Matsapha which is in the centre of the country, located 8km from Manzini and 25 km from Mbabane. However Sikhuphe airport in the north eastern lowveld is under construction (SIkhuphe Airport will be even further away from Mbabane, Ezulwini and Manzini).

Border Posts

To enter the kingdom you are required to present yourself and your passport to immigration officials either at the airport or at one of the many border gates around the country. The immigration process requires that the officials at your country of departure (South Africa or Mozambique) process your departure. Then the immigration officials on the Swazi side of the Bordergate process you arrival. Unfortunately access to Swaziland which is 24 hours is only available in Mhlumeni, though the implementation of such is in progress. Please view the names of the border gates and their operating hours.

South African Border Requirements

To ensure that your border process experience is convinient and quicker; kindly note the South African Immigration rules. You can also download the Parental Consent Affidavit if you are travelling with children below the age of 18

Visa Entry Requirements

A valid passport is required from everyone who enters the Kingdom of Swaziland. A visa is required for persons with passports from the following countries:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, America Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Antarctica, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belorussia, Benin, Bermuda, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina, Faso, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote D'Ivore, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Domonican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Georgia, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Iribat, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laisser, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Macao, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Poland, Republic of Korea, Reunion, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Virgin Islands, Western Sahara, Yemen, Yugoslavia.

For more information on Visa for Swaziland please visit worldtravelguide

Transport Services

Travelling to Swaziland by road allows one to observe and take in the beautiful scenery of the Southern African landscape. To get to Swaziland by road one can either book a scheduled bus trip, hire a rental car, or take an unscheduled taxi from the city centre taxi rank. From Johannesburg to Mbabane is a drive through South African Cultural heartland of just under 4 hours with the whole journey being on tarred roads and most of the journey on dual carriage highways.

Travelling to Swaziland by air is possible only from Johannesburg at the moment. Swaziland Airlink is the only airline providing airplane transport to Swaziland. The Swaziland International airport is based at the centre of the country in Matsapha. The flight is approximately an hour and Johannesburg Airport requires two hours check-in for International flights. After checking out at the airport, travel from Matsapha Airport to Mbabane is an additional time of approximately a 30 minutes drive. This makes the total travel time from Johannesburg to Mbabane four hours. So both flying and driving require approximately the same amount of your time. For more information on Swazi Airlink flight schedules and online bookings you may visit the South African Airways website, www.flysaa.co.za

Below is a rough approximation of average fares for the various modes of transport available, using travel from Johannesburg to Mbabane one-way as an example fares:

  • Unscheduled mini-bus taxi: E260
  • Scheduled luxury mini-bus: E500
  • Metre taxi: E1800
  • Car hire: E1650 plus E5000 deposit (E1300 per day with 200km free and E2 per additional km)
  • Flight: R1900

Upon arrival in Swaziland, to get around, unscheduled local buses, taxis and minibus taxis operate throughout the country. And various car hire service providers are available should you wish to self drive. When booking, a scheduled trip with SiyeSwatini TransMagnific, our team can gladly assist in getting you in touch with metre taxis or car hire service providers so that a vehicle is waiting for you at the stop upon arrival in Swaziland.

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Border Gates Operating Hours

Gate Names Operating Hours
Bulembu/Josefsdal     08:00 to 16:00
Gege/Bothashoop     08:00 to 16:00
Lavumisa/Golela     07:00 to 22:00
Lomahasha/Namachaa     07:00 to 20:00
Lundzi/Waverley     08:00 to 16:00
Mahamba     07:00 to 22:00
Mananga/Bordergate     08:00 to 18:00
Matsamo/Jeppes Reef     08:00 to 20:00
Mhlumeni     24 Hours
Ngwenya/Oshoek     07:00 to 00:00
Salitje/Onverwacht     08:00 to 18:00
Sandlane/Nerston     08:00 to 18:00
Sicunusa/Houdkop     08:00 to 18:00

Road Distances

Mbabane to Cape Town   1662km
Mbabane to Maputo   236km
Mbabane to Durban   635km
Mbabane to Maseru   736km
Mbabane to Gaborone   718km
Mbabane to Johannesburg   371km

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While In Swaziland


Swaziland is a very small country and as a result it serves as a great tourist place. The close proximity of the different places allows one a fuller experience of the country. There are a variety of tourist attractions and fun activities to take part in while in Swaziland.

Attractions

Swaziland is a place of enormous variety of local handmade art and craft. This most attractions Swazi life style can be found at Ezulwini where most of tourists that visit Swaziland make Ezulwini their must to see. Quality items like carving, glass, candles, weaving, baskets and many more.

Activities

There is Game drive, fishing, horse ridding, tree top canopy tour and many more activities.

Cultural Events

Reed dance, this take place in late August or early September depending on the phases of the moon, The exact date is announced closer to the event. This is a ceremony involving young maidens. The girls wear beaded skirts with anklets, bracelets, jewellery and colours sashes. This ceremony may be freely photographed.

Incwala Ceremony, or first fruit ceremony take place in December or January on a date chosen by astrologers based on the phase of the moon and the sun. The ceremony begins with a journey by the "Bemanti" (people of the water) to the Indian Ocean to collect water. Youths (boys) from all over the country travel to collect the sacred branches of the "Lusekwane" shrub, a species of acacia.

Events

International trade fair, the annual international trade fair take place in August at the Mavuso trade and exhibition centre in Manzini. The exhibition is a major promotion events

Simunye Fun fair is an annual festive held at the Simunye country club, every October. It is from Friday to Sunday of that weekend. The aim of the fair is to have fun and lots of it. It mission is to bring together families.

Bush fire festival, the annual bushfire festival is an explosive African talent including live music, theatre, poetry and dancing. It has been said that this is the finest festivals on the continent.

Hotels and Accommodation

For visitors staying in Swaziland, there is a wide choice of hotels, and other residential establishments. There are located in towns. Outskirt towns and even rural farms. You can visit www.visitswazi.com.

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Arts and craft


Activities


Events


Hotels and accomodation



Things to know about Swaziland


Swaziland is a small kingdom situated on the east of the southern tip of Africa. The kingdom is completely landlocked by two countries, South Africa and Mozambique. Swaziland is a small country of 17 373 square kilometers in area.


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Local Time

Swaziland is at GMT +2 hours, same as Pretoria (South Africa) and Harare (Zimbabwe).

  • United Kingdom – 1 hour behind Swaziland time

  • United States (Eastern) – 7 hours behind

  • Pacific – 10 hours behind

  • Hong Kong – 6 hours ahead

  • Australia (Sydney) – 7.5 hours ahead

 

Weather and Altitude

Swaziland has many beautiful mountains and valleys and has an altitude of over1800m above sea level. Along the western highlands Swaziland has a temperate climate along the western highlands and in the eastern and southern lowveld areas Swaziland is generally hot. Swaziland lies in a summer rainfall region.

Seasons

  • Spring: September - November

  • Summer: December - February

  • Autumn: March - May

  • Winter: June - August

 

Health

Malaria

Most of Swaziland is a malaria free area. However, a small area on the eastern side of the country near the Mozambique borders are malaria areas and visitors to this area may take necessary precautions or report to a doctor immediately if not feeling well after visiting the area. Malaria is curable if diagnosed timorously. For further information kindly contact a doctor or a pharmacist.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is prevalent throughout Southern Africa, including Swaziland. The HI Virus is spread through contact of certain bodily fluids with that of an infected person. There is currently no cure for the virus however there are various preventative measures.

Finances

Currency

The unit of currency is the Emalangeni (E1-100cents), which is at par with the South African Rand, which also can be used in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Notes are issued in denominations of E200 (green), E100 (brown), E50 (orange), E20 (maroon) and E10 (blue). There are E5, E2, E1 in gold coins and 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c in silver coins.

currency-01

currency-02

 

Banks

Swaziland has five banks currently operating. There Central Bank which operates as the mother body of all the banks in Swaziland, Swazi bank which is a local bank and then the three commercial banks operating also in other countries which are Standard Bank, Nedbank and FNB. All major international credit cards are accepted and most hotels and major stores. There are ATM that also accepts MasterCard and Visa cards (both debit and credit).
Bank hours are as follows:

  • Mondays to Fridays: 08h30 - 15h30

  • Saturdays: 08h30 - 12h00

  • Sundays: Closed all day

Post Offices are open 08h00 - 16h00 Mondays to Fridays and 08h00 - 11h00 on Saturdays.

 

Telecommunication in Swaziland


Calling Swaziland

The telephone country code for Swaziland is +268. All numbers in Swaziland have 8 digits after the country code, +268 xxxx xxxx. All fixed line numbers start with +268 2, for example the TransMagnific office number +268 2404 9977. All mobile numbers start with +286 7, for example theTransMagnific SMS and 24 hour emergency line +268 7605 9977.

There is one wired/fixed line operator, Swazi Telecom. And one mobile operator, Swazi MTN For more information please click the operator name to visit their websites directly.

If a number starts with +27 it is a South African number, for example the TransMagnific South African number +27 83 617 0070

Calling While in Swaziland

As you arrive in Swaziland, Swazi MTN mobile SIM cards are sold by branded street vendors for a nominal fee at the border gate and you can immediately have a Swaziland number. You will be able to use this number during your stay in Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique. All incoming calls are free and you need to buy airtime to make outgoing calls. In South Africa the SIM card roams on MTN South Africa network and in Mozambique roams on MCell, all prepaid roaming incoming call in these countries are also free.

Alternatively you can roam on your number from home if you have activated roaming with your home operator, before your departure. Most operators cannot activate your roaming if you have already left your home country, so please check with your home network before you travel. The following mobile network operators can roam in Swaziland with Swazi MTN. For more information please contact up your home network provider or visit www.mtn.co.sz

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Medical Institutions

Please note that when dialing from outside please include the dialing code +268 followed by the number specified below. The location of the Medical Institution is stated in brackets.
Emergency Tel: 999
Manzini Clinic (Manzini):
  • Tel: 2505 7430 or 2505 74308
  • Fax: 2505 7439
Mbabane Clinic (Mbabane):
  • Tel: 2404 2423 or 2404 2425
  • Fax: 2404 5895
Siteki Good Shepherd Hospital(Siteki):
  • Tel: 2343 4133
Mkhiwa Clinic (Manzini):
  • Tel: 2505 9293 or 2505 9299
  • Fax: 2505 9729
Mother Care Clinic (Manzini):
  • Tel: 2505 8366
Medisun Clinic (Ezulwini):
  • Tel: 2416 2800 or 2416 2381
  • Fax: 2416 1418
Philani Clinic (Pty) Ltd:
  • Tel : 2505 5178 (Manzini)
  • Tel : 2518 4774 (Matsapha)
  • Tel: 2207 8492 (Nhlangano)
Mkhaya Clinic (Manzini):
  • Tel: 2505 5339

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Useful Contacts in Swaziland


Information Centres

Swazi Plaza Tourism Information Office

Swazi Plaza, Mbabane
P.O Box A1030
Swazi Plaza
Phone: +268 2404 2531
Fax: +268 2404 25 31

Ngwenya Tourism Information Office

Ngwenya Boarder Post
P.O Box A1030
Swazi Plaza
Phone: +268 2442 4206
Fax: +268 2442 4206


Embasies Based In The Kingdom Of Swaziland

The Federal Republic of Germany

    3rd Floor Lilunga House
    P.O Box 1507
    Mbabane
    H100
    Phone: +268 2404 3174
    Fax: +268 2404 3174

The South African High Commission

    The New Mall, Mbabane
    P.O Box 2507
    Mbabane
    H100
    Phone: +268 2404 4651
    Fax: +268 24044335

The British High Commission

    2nd Floor, Lilunga House
    P/B Mbabane
    H100
    Phone: +268 2404 2581
    Fax: +268 2404 2585

Embassy of the United States of America

    7th Floor, Central bank Building
    P.O Box 199, Mbabane
    H100
    Phone: +268 2404 6442
    Fax: +268 2404 5959

The Republic of China

    Adjacent to the Central Bank Building
    P.O Box 56
    Mbabane, H100
    Phone: (+268)24042379/ (+268)24044740/1
    Fax:(+268)24046688

The High Commissioner of the Republic of Mozambique

    Mountain Inn Area
    P.O Box 1212
    Mbabane
    H100
    Phone: (+268)24043700
    Fax: (+268)24048402

For further information contact Swaziland Tourism Authority

Emergency Services

Service

Contacts

Assist 911

Tel: (+268)24048911

Email:

assist911@realnet.co.sz

Fire Department:

+(268) 24043333

Accident Notification:

933

Police Emergency Hotline:

999

Soldiers Nationwide Hotline:

990

Trauma Link 24 Hrs:

+(268) 76060911

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