Up until recently, Swaziland was called exactly this: Swaziland. Now, however, it's called Eswatini - which most likely confused a fair amount of people. Eswatini is not the type of country that people choose as the main vacation spot - but if you take a closer look at the place, you will notice that the place is actually very peaceful.
If you are looking for a vacation where you can actually rest, then Eswatini might actually be a very good choice for you. Granted, Eswatini had its troubles, and there's always the question: is Eswatini (Swaziland) safe to visit? To answer it for you, yes, it is - at least, most of the time.
Still, you need to follow a few safety tips if you want a trouble-free holiday. Even the safest place can be dangerous if you do not exercise the necessary precautions. A trip there can be a lifetime experience - or a complete disaster, depending on how you conduct yourself there.
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Visiting Eswatini (Swaziland)
Overall Risks in Eswatini (Swaziland): MEDIUM
Generally speaking, Eswatini (Swaziland) is very safe to visit. Since it doesn't have the concerning crime rate of South Africa, most people choose this as a vacation spot. The racial tension is also barely noticeable there, so tourists are well-received compared to other countries.
Having said that, Eswatini (Swaziland) is not 100% safe; no country ever is, actually. The occasional car-jacking can occur, you can have your wallet stolen if you are not careful, or you can be attacked if you walk around in dark, shady areas.
The advice would be to travel light, park your car in a well-lit area, and don't take all of your valuables with you. Leave your documentation in a safe at your accommodation, and only take what you need with you.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risks in Eswatini (Swaziland): MEDIUM
Pickpocketing generally happens in major towns, such as Manzini or Mbabane. It can happen in small towns as well, but not that often. Most pickpocketing generally happens at night, as it happens with most petty crimes in Eswatini (Swaziland).
- How to avoid pickpocketing and theft in Eswatini (Swaziland)?
To stay safe in Eswatini (Swaziland), you first need to follow certain Eswatini (Swaziland) safety travel tips. For one, you should never carry your wallet in an easily reached place, such as your back pocket (you know you all do it).
Make sure that you always keep your car locked and that it's parked in a well-lit area. Most thieves target cars that don't allow them to be seen.
Scam Risk in Eswatini (Swaziland): LOW to MEDIUM
The risk of being scammed is relatively low in Eswatini (Swaziland). However, if you are particularly naive, it's obvious that they will see you as a good "catch." Pickpocketing is more frequent than full-blown scamming - so if you are asking yourself "how safe is Eswatini for tourists," you should know that it's just fine as long as you keep an eye open.
- How to avoid getting scammed in Eswatini (Swaziland)?
Before deciding to buy a souvenir, you may want to browse around and see the average price - for everything. You may also want to be particularly careful of taxi drivers. If they "catch a whiff" that you are a tourist, chances are that they will also overcharge you for the ride.
Kidnapping Risk in Eswatini (Swaziland): LOW
There haven't been any reports of kidnappings in Eswatini (Swaziland) - at least none that were made official. So if you decide to go there, chances are that you won't come across any unwanted scenarios. So, is Eswatini (Swaziland) safe to visit? Indeed it is, particularly when it comes to kidnapping.
- How to avoid getting kidnapped in Eswatini (Swaziland)?
There's a first for everything - so you probably don't want to be the first person to make the record. To avoid being kidnapped, you might want to avoid walking alone in remote areas - and definitely don't ooze the "I'm loaded with cash" vibe. If kidnappers don't see a ransom potential in you, then you will not be targeted.
Terrorism Risk in Eswatini (Swaziland): LOW
There haven't been any reports of terrorist attacks in Eswatini (Swaziland). However, considering that terrorism is a global problem, there's still a chance that they might start - so you might want to be very cautious. If they were to occur, it is likely they will happen in a crowded place - or those where tourists are generally found.
Having this in mind, how safe is Eswatini (Swaziland) for tourists? Generally safe, considering the recent information.
- How to avoid terrorism in Eswatini (Swaziland)?
If you believe that you saw a terrorist, don't scream it loudly. Not only will it alarm the public, but it might also cause the terrorist to act faster than they intended. Instead, walk away from the area at a normal pace - and then run to the nearest safe area. from there on, contact the local authorities and inform them of your suspicions - but be sure to have proof.
Risks for Women Traveling Alone in Eswatini (Swaziland): MEDIUM
We know that Eswatini (Swaziland) is not exactly safe for women if they don't exercise caution - so is Eswatini (Swaziland) safe for solo women travelers? Probably not so much. Still, as long as you are at least averagely careful, there should not be any incidents.
- How to avoid crime as a solo woman traveler in Eswatini (Swaziland)?
As a woman traveling alone, you need to be aware of the fact that you don't have the "shield" of the company - so you need to turn the area around you into your shield. As much as possible try to avoid walking in remote, rural areas - since that's where most attacks occur.
Avoid walking in poorly lit areas, particularly at night, and try to always have a crowd around you. Most assailants give up on the thought when they see many potential witnesses around.
Rape Risk in Eswatini (Swaziland): HIGH
Rape occurs frequently in Eswatini (Swaziland), or so the 2017 reports say - with 61 women raped every month there. Some of these rapes occurred even as home invasions - but they generally happen in rural areas, where the security is not that tight. So, is Eswatini (Swaziland) safe for solo women travelers? Not if you aren't careful enough.
- How to avoid getting raped in Eswatini (Swaziland)?
Most rapes occurred in rural areas, where visibility was scarce - so you might want to avoid traveling alone in places that are not well-lit. An unwanted scenario can occur regardless of the clothes you are wearing, but if your clothes are too revealing, then the chances of you being targeted will be even higher.
Try sticking to places that have a crowd - and if you are being assaulted, run as fast as you can to the nearest public areas. If there are witnesses around, chances are that the assailant will quit any dirty thoughts they have concerning you.
Risks for People Traveling with Children in Eswatini (Swaziland): LOW
Children are well-accepted by Eswatini (Swaziland) locals since it's an opportunity for their own kids to interact with yours. As long as your child is respectful, there should be no problems if you visit with your kid there.
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios?
Some areas in Eswatini (Swaziland) are very crowded, so you might want to keep an eye on your child. Also, make sure that they are vaccinated - since we all know that they have the tendency to touch everything in sight.
Natural Disaster Risks in Eswatini (Swaziland): LOW
Except for heavy rains and violent thunderstorms occurring in the wet summer season, there are no actual concerns the natural disasters. You should, however, read at least one Eswatini (Swaziland) safety guide to ensure that you are well-prepared. As long as you choose the right time to visit, though, there should not be any issues.
Transportation Risks in Eswatini (Swaziland): MEDIUM
The driving standards in this country are not comparable to those in Europe or the US, so to speak - they are lower, with drivers usually crossing the central reservation in order to avoid obstructions, speeding, and so on.
Moreover, only the main roads are properly maintained and properly marked. Any trip on a minor road means facing poor road markings and bad roads overall.
Speaking of minor roads, you should be extremely careful if you find yourself driving on rural roads. There have been quite some serious and fatal accidents on this kind of road due to animals making their way on them, unattended.
Given this, it is strongly recommended that you avoid driving during the night. Besides stray animals, the roads of Eswatini also host poorly lit heavy vehicles, as well as abandoned unlit trailers. For your own safety, drive only during the day.
You should also not stop your car if a local wave you, seems to be in need of help, and so on. There have been reports of muggers and hijackers that pretended to need help or a ride, only to take advantage of the good foreign Samaritans.
When it comes to public transport, most sources say to completely avoid it! Both taxis and buses are poorly maintained and usually overloaded with passengers.
Night-Clubs, Pubs, and Bar Risks in Eswatini (Swaziland): MEDIUM
Even though there are no reports of crime-related incidents having taken place in such locations, it is known that criminal activity increases during the festive season.
During this season, you may want to visit either a nightclub, pub, or bar - the risks are overall low, but you should be cautious and pay attention to your surroundings as pickpockets and muggers will most likely try their chances and approach tourists.
Most crime happens during the night, so visiting these locations might not be the best thing to do. It is better to just stick with the pubs and bars located in the town center or close to your accommodation - even better, you can always rely on the bar within your hotel.
Naturally, do not go out alone and do not rely on taxis unless they are from a reputable company or recommended by either your tour agency or your accommodation. In short, it is better to just avoid the nightlife of Eswatini and stick to the daytime activities.
Health Risks in Eswatini (Swaziland)
While you can be provided with basic healthcare in this country, you may not find the medication you need for minor affections or injuries - there is a shortage of medication, even common ones. In case of a medical emergency, you will most likely have to be evacuated to South Africa.
This process can be made easier by the country's local private hospitals, however, they will require you to have full insurance as well as provide them with the necessary funds in advance.
Given this, make sure to always travel with adequate travel health insurance, as well as with enough funds to cover the costs of any medicine, treatment, or emergency evacuation you may have to pay. If you need medical assistance, dial 933 and ask for an ambulance.
In case you are referred to a medical facility for diagnosis or treatment, it is recommended that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
List of Vaccines You Need in Eswatini (Swaziland)
If you are planning a visit to Eswatini (Swaziland), both the CDC and the WHO recommend that you get the following vaccines:
- Typhoid: Spread through contaminated water or food
- Hepatitis A: Spread through contaminated water or food
- Hepatitis B: Spread through contaminated bodily fluids (needles, intercourse, etc)
- Influenza: Spread through airborne droplets
- Rabies: Spread through infected animals
- Yellow Fever: Spread through mosquito bites
- Cholera: Spread through contaminated water or food
So, is it safe to go there? Yes, as long as you follow the Eswatini (Swaziland) safety guide and get the right vaccines prior to departing.
Most Dangerous Areas in Eswatini (Swaziland)
- Downtown areas of Manzini and Mbabane
- The roads that lead into and out of Eswatini, during the night - high risk of car hijacking
Concluding Remarks: Is Eswatini (Swaziland) Safe to Visit?
Overall, Eswatini (Swaziland) is fairly safe to visit - although, like every country, it has its dangers. Carjacking can occur there, so you might want to be careful where you park - and you might want to be particularly cautious there if you are a woman.
Preferably, you should avoid traveling alone there - but if you can't help it, stick to areas that are as populated and lit as possible.
Hopefully, these Eswatini (Swaziland) travel tips will be of good use to you and you will be able to enjoy an incident-free vacation. Generally speaking, as long as you are careful on an average level in the least, you should not come across any problems.