Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic accidents in Eswatini may pose an even greater hazard than crime. You should use extreme caution when driving, given the high rates of speed on major thoroughfares. Other hazards include poor lighting and irregular traffic signals; presence of pedestrians, animals, and slower moving vehicles; aggressive driving behavior; and erratic stopping for pedestrians and animals. Exercise caution when driving at night and in fog, especially in rural areas. Rural and suburban areas are poorly lit and pose additional safety hazards, such as pedestrians and animals crossing the road. Many vehicles are poorly maintained and may lack working headlights.
Traffic Laws: Cars travel on the left in Eswatini, which requires U.S. drivers to exercise particular caution. Always carry your driver?s license as failure to do so will result in a fine. Cell phone use while driving is illegal in Eswatini.
The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) sets up periodic road blocks and uses radar to monitor speed. If you are pulled over for a moving violation you are responsible for the consequences. The REPS sets up jaywalking stings which can result in fines and temporary detention for perpetrators. It is recommended that pedestrians use the available ?zebra crosswalks? when crossing streets.
Public Transportation: Extreme caution is recommended if using mini-bus taxis, locally known as khumbis, which follow fixed routes and are flagged down by passengers almost everywhere in Eswatini. Many of these vehicles fail to meet minimal safety standards. Drivers frequently overload the vehicles and travel at excessive speeds. Fatal accidents involving these conveyances are very common.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Eswatini, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Eswatini’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Medical facilities are limited throughout Eswatini and emergency medical response capabilities (including ambulance transport) are almost non-existent. The Mbabane Clinic in the capital is small but it is well-equipped and well-staffed for minor procedures, as is the Manzini Clinic in Matsapha. For advanced care, U.S. citizens often choose to go to South Africa where better facilities and specialists exist. Most prescription drugs are available locally or can be imported from South Africa. Travelers are advised to bring sufficient quantities of their required medications in their original bottles.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medications, check with the government of Eswatini to ensure the medications are legal in Eswatini. Always, carry your prescription medications in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
The Monarchy: There are special laws related to criticism of the monarchy in Eswatini. U.S. citizens should be aware of these laws and abide by them while in Eswatini.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Photography: It is illegal to photograph Eswatini’s government buildings, members of the Eswatini armed forces, royal residences, and official ceremonies without prior permission from government authorities.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: While colonial-era legislation against sodomy remains on the books, no penalties are specified, and there have been no arrests. The government of Eswatini denounces same-sex relationships and acts as illegal but have not prosecuted any cases. Societal discrimination against LGBTI persons is prevalent, and LGBTI persons generally conceal their sexual orientation and gender identity. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: No laws mandate accessibility to buildings, transportation (including air travel), information, communications, or public services. Government buildings under construction may have some improvements for persons with disabilities, including access ramps. Public transportation is not easily accessible for persons with disabilities, and the government has not provided any means of alternative accessible transport. There are no programs in place to promote the rights of persons with disabilities.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Public protests, demonstrations, and strikes occur occasionally in Eswatini, mostly in response to labor relations/difficulties. Armed law enforcement personnel have been known to use force to disrupt or control such events. During the course of such events, police may not distinguish between observers and protesters. You should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations.
CRIME: Incidents of petty crime and violent crime are prevalent throughout Eswatini and is the most significant threat to U.S. citizens. Criminals will resort to force, including deadly force, in order to accomplish their goal. Gangs are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims. Carjackings may become violent if victims do not immediately cooperate.
- Congested, urban areas are particularly dangerous at night. Exercise caution at all times.
- Do not to wear jewelry or carry expensive or unnecessary valuables in public.
- Do not display cell phones and large sums of cash.
- Convert currency at authorized currency exchanges; never with street vendors.
- Never store or leave items of value in your vehicle.
- Exercise caution when using local taxis.
- Ensure the taxi you use is from a reputable company.
- Never enter a taxi that is occupied by anyone besides the driver.
- Call a friend to let them know the plate number of the taxi you are using.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 268-2417 9000.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. Emergency response is unreliable and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
A passport is required. Visas are not required for travelers staying less than 30 days. Travelers visiting Eswatini generally enter through South Africa.
Please note: Travelers to/through South Africa should have at least two unstamped visa pages in their passports upon each entry into the country. Visitors who do not have two blank visa pages risk being denied entry and returned to the United States at their own expense. Also, South Africa requires additional documentation for children traveling to or transiting the country. See the Embassy of South Africa?s webpage for detailed information. If arriving to Eswatini from a yellow fever country, you must have proof of a yellow fever vaccination.
Contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Eswatini at 1712 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009; phone (202) 234-5002, for the most current visa information
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Eswatini.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Eswatini for information on U.S. – Eswatini relations.