Swaziland is a small, landlocked country, well-known for its wilderness reserves and rich historic culture that is still practised today. The country shares borders with South Africa and Mozambique, and although it seems like a small country on the map, we would recommend nothing less than a week spent in this beautiful place to truly capture the untouched magic it offers.
Best time to travel:
The great news is that all activities that can be experienced outdoor, indoor and everything in between are available all year round. The driest season, winter, is between April and mid-October with average temperature of 20-21 degrees Celsius. The rainy season begins at the end of October, however, do not let this put you off visiting during these months as it rains in the summer in Swaziland.
How to get there:
The city of Mbabane is a mere 3-hour drive from Johannesburg, South Africa. Most visitors fly to Johannesburg and then a connecting flight to Swaziland, others prefer to hire a car in Johannesburg and enjoy the drive into Swaziland as the distance is so short. If you do choose to drive and cross the border, remember to have your passport on you. The border opening times vary between 7am/8am and usually close around 6pm/8pm.
How to get around:
The country offers a number of transport services to suite your destination and budget during your stay. The options available to you range from travelling by bus, taxi or renting a car to drive yourself around and explore. Not sure where you’re going? Don’t fret! The Swaziland Tourism website has a resource folder where you can download maps for all the larger, developed areas such as Manzini, Mbabane and Ezulweni. These maps include places of interest, restaurants, shops and accommodation.
Sim cards can be purchased for your cell phone to use while you are in the country if your mobile does not support roaming in the country you reside. To communicate with anyone before your trip, most hotels and offices will be available to communicate via email as the primary form of contact.
You are welcome to tip the good people that serve you at restaurants, garages and hotels. It is not mandatory, however a 10% tip on your bill is an adequate amount when traveling in this country.
Commercial hours are generally 08h30 to 17h00 on weekdays and 08h30 to 13h00 on Saturdays. Most postal services are available throughout the country and are open from 08h30 to 16h00 on weekdays and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays.
The world famous Umhlanga Reed Dance:
The Umhlanga Reed Dance takes place in late August each year, the dates varying slightly. The dates of the Umhlanga Reed Dance are set according to the cycle of the moon and are never determined on the calendar, however, it is not to be missed if you are looking to experience Swazi culture first hand. Read more about this ceremony here.
A few suggestions to add to your Swaziland-travel-bucket-list:
- Sibebe Rock
- Mkhaya Game Reserve
- Hlane Royal National Park
- Mantenga Cultural Village & Nature Reserve
- Swazi Candles
- Ngwenya Glass
Where to stay?
The beautiful Hawane Resort offers the best of resort accommodation in the country. If the stunning views aren't enough to keep you entertained, they offer a fully equipped games room and toys for indoor and out that will amuse all ages. On-site facilities include the swimming pool, Bush Spa, sauna, shop, babysitting services and fully equipped, private conference facilities for up to 78 people.
Try your hand at the language before you go!
Swazi people are very friendly and will help you learn as you travel, but here are some greetings for you to get a head start:
Hello – Sawubona
Thank you – Ngiyabonga
Goodbye – Hamba kahle or sala kahle
How are you? – Kunjani?
I am well – Ngikhona
Yes – Yebo!
No – Cha