Swaziland - Consular Information Sheet
November 1, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Swaziland is a small developing nation
in southern Africa. Several well-developed facilities for tourism
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. Please contact
the Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 3400 International Drive,
N.W., Suite 3M, Washington, D.C., 20008, (202) 362-6683 regarding
visa requirements. Visas are not generally required for tourists
and businessmen traveling to Swaziland for short visits (less
than 60 days) on standard U.S. passports.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The Deputy Prime Minister's office
in the capital city, Mbabane, sustained extensive damage from
a bomb explosion on November 20, 1998. A previously unknown domestic
group claimed responsibility for this bombing. On November 12,
1999, a second explosion occurred in Mahlanya (an area between
Manzini and Mbabane). The single-room Tinkhundla (local government
authority) Administrative building was destroyed. No one has claimed
responsibility for this incident. No Americans were targeted.
The police authorities have stepped up security, but the perpetrators'
motives remain unclear, and the possibility of further violent
incidents exists. No arrests have been made in either incident.
In the past, differences between the government and the trade
union movement have led to mass labor stay-aways that can virtually
close the nation for several days at a time. The most recent such
action, in February 1997, lasted one month on sugar and forest
plantations. Further labor and political unrest remains possible
at any time pending the settlement of unresolved disputes between
the trade unions and government. Although such demonstrations
have been peaceful, the potential for violence exists when labor
actions are in progress, especially in the streets of Mbabane
and in the largest city, Manzini, as well as in the sugar and
wood pulp belts.
U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies and street demonstrations
and maintain security awareness at all times.
CRIME INFORMATION: Petty street crime, primarily theft
of money and personal property, occurs with some frequency. Since
mid-1994, occasional armed hijacking of automobiles has taken
place in Manzini and, less frequently, in Mbabane and outlying
areas of Swaziland.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet
A Safe Trip Abroad for ways
to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are limited throughout
Swaziland. The Mbabane Clinic in the capital, though small, is
well-equipped and well-staffed for minor procedures. For advanced
care, Americans often choose to go to South Africa where up-to-date
facilities and specialists may be found. A helipad is available
at the Mbabane Clinic, or medical evacuation via fixed-wing aircraft
is available from Matsapha airport. Most prescription drugs are
available or may be imported from South Africa.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your
policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation,
and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring
hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States
can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Ascertain whether payment
will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you
will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance
policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for
disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Swaziland is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Swaziland has a basic network of paved, two-lane routes, including
a new divided super-highway between the two largest cities, Mbabane
and Manzini. However, the remaining are graded dirt roads, even
in urban areas. Several other factors make driving in Swaziland
hazardous. Traffic circulates on the left in Swaziland (as elsewhere
in the region) rather than on the right, as in the United States.
Many drivers travel at high rates of speed, well above the generally
posted limit of 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour. Except on stretches
of super-highway, there is little lighting. Poor visibility is
exacerbated by frequent fog conditions and severe storms, especially
in the Highveld where Mbabane is located. Free-range cattle and
people attempting to hitch rides along the roadways pose further
hazards, especially at night.
For additional information about
road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information
concerning Swazi driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax
and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Swaziland.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority
to operate such service, between the U.S. and Swaziland, the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Swaziland's
Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact DOD at 1-618-229-4801.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Swazi law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Swaziland are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail
sentences and heavy fines.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information
on international adoption of children and international parental
child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or
visiting Swaziland are encouraged to register at the Consular
Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Swaziland and obtain updated information on
travel and security within Swaziland. The U.S. Embassy is located
in the Central Bank Building on Warner Street in the capital city
of Mbabane. The mailing address is Box 199, Mbabane, Swaziland.
The telephone number is (268) 404-6441/5; fax (268) 404-5959.