eSwatini Travel Guide: Land of the Swazi

Explore eSwatini with this helpful eSwatini Guide and experience the Swazi-lifestyle, stunning highlands with adventurous activities, amazing waterfalls and a plethora of wildlife reserves

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ESWATINI NATIONAL PARKS VISITED

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ESWATINI UNESCO SITES VISITED
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ESWATINI RESERVES EXPLORED

eSwatini Travel Guide

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is the second smallest country in the continent of Africa and is landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique. Although it's a small country, the Kingdom of Eswatini has a lot to offer, from nature and wildlife reserves to cultural experiences, city life, and adventurous activities like quad biking, hiking trails, white water rafting, caving, and canopy tours. Swaziland is also known for its handmade products, like candles, glass, woven baskets, and other curios. Visiting colorful local markets for souvenir shopping is also a nice cultural experience.

If Eswatini isn't on your bucket list yet, reconsider adding it! Because each place is unique, it's a country worth exploring for at least 6 to 7 days. The best places to visit in Eswatini are Royal Hlane National Park, Malolotja Nature Reserve, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Mkhaya Game Reserve, KaMsholo Bushveld Safaris, and Shewula Mountain Camp.

Because Eswatini borders Mozambique and South Africa, it's also a very good idea to plan a 2 or 3-country itinerary. Passing through Eswatini is also a shortcut to get from Kruger to Hluhluwe, so why not add a few nights extra in this land of the Swazi to experience a different country?

Check out this ultimate Eswatini guide where I share the most popular places to visit in Swaziland including some of the best things to do and things to know before you travel to Eswatini, for example, the best time to visit, safety in Eswatini, and visa requirements.

Interesting Facts eSwatini

  Flag of eSwatini

eSwatini country flag

  eSwatini's National Animal

Thomson's Gazelle

  eSwatini National Dish
Karoo roast ostrich steak

  Currency in eSwatini

Lilangeni (SZL) or South African Rand (ZAR)

  eSwatini Time Zone
South African Standard Time or SAST (GMT+1 hour)

Best time to visit eSwatini

What is the best time to visit eSwatini? The best time of the year to visit eSwatini depends on your planned activities. In general, it's a year around destination with all kinds of activities. If you want to go on a safari in eSwatini, the best time to visit is during the dry winter. The dry season in eSwatini is from mid-April to mid-October, with an average temperature of 20 degrees. During the day it can get hot, especially in the sun, but in the evening the temperature drops, so pack some extra layers.

The wet season in eSwatini is during the summer months. The rainy season starts end of October until March.

Things to know before you travel to eSwatini

Safety in eSwatini

eSwatini is a safe country with low crime rates. Avoid travel by road outside major towns at night. I traveled through eSwatini with a guide and I felt safe at all times. The Kingdom of Eswatini has also received the Safe Travels Stamp of approval from the World Travel & Tourism Council for its Health & Safety protocols to give travellers the confidence to travel in Eswatini as safe as possible.

Do I need a visa when traveling to Africa?

Visa requirements for eSwatini

Most tourists that visit eSwatini do NOT require a visa to enter eSwatini (Swaziland). A full passport valid for at least three months is required for entry into Eswatini. Examples of countries that don't need a visa for eSwatini are the USA, most countries that are part of the European Union (EU), Japan, most Commonwealth countries and a few other countries. Tourist or business travellers are allowed to visit Eswatini for up to 30 days. If you want to know exactly if you need a visa, check the visa guide of the Government of the Kingdom of eSwatini. If you do require a visa to visit Eswatini, they can NOT be obtained on arrival at the Eswatini border post, but must be organized in advance from Eswatini’s Missions Abroad. This might change in the future.

Which vaccinations and antimalarials do I need for Africa?

Vaccinations & anti-Malaria tablets for eSwatini

Required vaccinations for eSwatini depend on what you will be doing in eSwatini, which places you will be visiting, and how long you will stay. However, most travelers to eSwatini require Hepatitis A and TDAP (Tetanus, Polio, Diphteria). Cholera is no longer needed. Yellow fever certificate is required only if applicant passing through yellow fever area before entering Eswatini. Eswatini is almost Malaria-free. Anti-malaria pills are only needed when you travel to the Eastern side of the country (Lubombo Mountains and the reserves of the Lubombo Conservancy). Long pants and sleeves during sunset hours will also help to avoid mosquito bites. Consult a travel clinic for personal advice regarding your travel plans. 
What language do they speak in Africa?

Spoken languages in eSwatini

Eswatini has two official languages: SiSwati (or Swazi) and English, but about 76.000 people in Eswatini also speak Zulu, and about 19.000 people speak Tsonga. Because of a large Portuguese community from Mozambique, Eswatini introduced Portuguese as a third language in the schools.

Which vaccinations and antimalarials do I need for Africa?

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Eswatini

In May 2022 it was easy to travel from South Africa into Eswatini through various border posts. To make things simple for tourists, they basically have the same COVID-requirements as South Africa. You will either need a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate and must be fully vaccinated (2 dosis of the vaccine), or a valid negative COVID-19 test result that is not older than 72 hours for unvaccinated people. They also allow people with a valid recovery certificate to enter Eswatini. Eswatini's Safe Travels Stamp given by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) confirms that Eswatini is following world-class health and hygiene protocols. It's global safety and hygiene stamp for Travel & Tourism, designed to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.

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Things to do in eSwatini to cross off your bucket list

Hlane National Park Eswatini

Safari in Hlane National Park

Hlane Royal National Park is Swaziland's largest protected bushveld area and the only National Park in the country. Through a guided safari in a 4x4 vehicle, you will have the chance to spot 4 out of the Big 5, except for the Buffalo. Hlane is one of the best places in Africa to see the rhino. Apart from that, you can also find giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, zebra, impala, wildebeest, and hyenas. Hlane National Park also has waterholes where you can watch hippos, rhinos or even elephants drink while you enjoy your African sundowner drink.

Shewula Mountain Camp village tour in Eswatini

Shewula Cultural Experience

On the edge of Shewula Nature Reserve, on top of the Lubombo Mountains, you can find Shewula Mountain Camp. It's the first community eco-tourism project in Eswatini that is run 100% by the community and they serve freshly made traditional food. The camp has one of the best panoramic views of Eswatini and Mozambique. Both sunset and sunrise are magical, not to speak about the starry night sky with clear visibility of the Milky Way. Members of the local community will also perform music and traditional dances. The camp also offers a village tour where you visit local Swazi homesteads.

Malolotja Canopy Adventure tour in Eswatini or Swaziland

Malolotja Canopy Tour

Malolotja Nature Reserve is a hiker's paradise and one of the most beautiful highland reserves in Eswatini and Southern Africa. Malolotja offers amazing views of the hills, the gorges, and Malolotja Falls. Malolotja doesn't have big game, but it's the place where you can find the biggest antelope, the Eland. Other wildlife to find in Malolotja are the blesbok, zebra, wildebeest, mountain reedbuck, and oribi. If you don't have the time to overnight in this stunning reserve, join the adventurous Malolotja Canopy Tour. First, you'll drive through the park where you'll be amazed by the incredible views. After a 10-minute hike, you start the canopy tour covering 10 treetop zip-lines and one 50m suspension bridge with amazing views of the hills, Silotshwane Gorge, and the Majolomba River.

Eswatini (Swaziland) Quad biking Umushi weNkosazane

Quad biking Umushi weNkosazane

Umushi weNkosazane Resort & Spa offers an exciting and adventurous quad biking experience in Swaziland. It's a fun activity that shows you some of the best views that Eswatini has to offer, including a waterfall.

Hiking trail Phophonyane Falls Eswatini

Trails to eSwatini's waterfalls

Eswatini offers several hiking trails in their nature reserves. On a lot of (short) walking trails, you already get to see some impressive waterfalls, like Phophonyane Falls in Phophonyane Nature Reserve, Malolotja Falls, Matenga Falls, and Silverstone Falls at Silverstone Lodge.

Eswatini Matenga Cultural Village Tour and Performance

Mantenga Cultural Village

The Mantenga Cultural Village is one of the top cultural tourist attractions in Swaziland where you're able to experience local dance performances and drumming by local Swazi in traditional clothing. Mantenga Cultural Village also built a replica Swazi village to learn more about Swazi life. It's a commercial place created for tourists who want to learn more about the Swazi culture. I personally missed the authentic feel, but for first-time travelers in eSwatini or for people who are short on time while passing through Swaziland it is a good stopover and therefore worth a visit.

KamSholo Bushveld Safaris in KamSholo Game Reserve Eswatini

Umbrella Acacias in KaMsholo

KaMsholo Bushveld Safaris offers game drives inside their charming park. Expect to find small game, like impala, reedbuck, wildebeest, nyala, kudu, zebra, ostrich, and giraffes. The park is also a real treat for birders, including raptors. What makes the park special is the Acacia Savannah with iconic umbrella trees and giraffes including a stunning backdrop of the Lebombo Mountains. If you're a photography enthusiast, you got to love the foggy mornings in the winter months! It's a unique scenery that you won't find in any other place in Eswatini. KaMsholo Bushveld Safaris also has a 2-level hide overlooking a waterhole.
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