When we parked in a downtown Mbabane lot near the market, we were quickly approached by men wanting to wash the car. We said why not and then went about our business in the market. However, when we returned to the car, there was quite a lot of angry haggling over a price for the car wash because it had not specifically been agreed upon earlier. Since we had just arrived in the country, I did not have very much Swazi money in my pockets so the car washer had to settle for the little amount that I had left. Partly my fault in the first place, but make sure that you establish the cost before the work starts! It left a sour taste in our mouths as this was the only hassle that we had in the entire trip.
Swaziland has got one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, with estimation that one in three black Swazis have the virus today. Hence use prevention; else you probably play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.
Take a good look at the picture. It's nothing more than a picture of the bathroom at our tent camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve. What's important about the photo is that the picture is taken from OUTSIDE. So when you are doing your private business, you're looking at the forest. It goes the same for the shower, and a Swedish lady staying in a nearby tent stepped on a scorpion that was in her shower. As the bathrooms are open, anything can enter (except a giraffe, I suppose), so especially be wary of small creatures that may come in and before getting in the shower, take a good look at the floor!
In Europe we sometimes see signs of farm animals, cows or sheep on the roads that we should be aware of, how often you really see any? Well, here there is this warning signs of cows on the road and you will encounter them very often, so drive carefully, no one want to have a mess while on holiday.
Doesn't it seem ridiculous to think you might have yur cell phone with you on safari? Not in this day and age. In fact, as we had rented a car in Cape Town and were driving all the way across S Africa (via Lesotho and Swaziland), we thought it a good idea for security reasons to rent a cell phone as well. However, it is strictly prohibited to have your cell phone turned on while viewing wildlife, because it could be potentially very dangerous. The ring of a cell phone could alarm certain animals and these, like elephants, could be life threatening!
Turn off your cell phone!!!!
Swaziland has some poverty and with that comes higher levels of crime than most of you would experience at home. Generally during the daytime, you can walk around with relative ease and little hassle. Keep bags close to you and zipped up and watch wallets in back pockets. I had no problems in Manzini and Mbabane.
Elephants can be agressive so take caution and if in a vehicle, do not stand up, as they feel you are challenging them. Also not a good idea to get stuck directly behind the behind of an elephant as we did here...
Crime is very low in comparison with South Africa. They respect the law. I haven't experienced anything yet, except my 4x4 being stolen in Nelspruit and taken to Swaziland. I went searching and found it five days later in Manzini in quite a dilapidated state.
Watch out for stray animals and people when travelling on road.
Lightning is the main killer in Swaziland, of the highest intensity of lightning occurance in Southern Africa, 12 direct ground hits per sq. km per annum. See how a lightning bolt damaged a telephone pole, imagine what it can do to a human.
Swaziland is a very agricultural country, and you will frequently see Swazi farmers grazing or walking with their cattle along the roads. Occasionally a cow will drift into the roadway, so always be alert and slow down when you see roadside cattle.
African buffalo are said to be some of the dangerous animals you may encounter. You will find them almost always near the water, and generally they do not harm humans and basically will stay out of your way. However, buffalos have been known to charge and with a weight of up to 800 kg, this could be the last buffalo you ever see. Please take caution!
In Swaziland yu have to be really careful mainly because of ticks. If you have been walkng on hiking in any of the parks or in any nature area, check yourself really well to be sure you don't have a tick on you somewhere. Also, snakes are not uncommon, and they are deadly. There are three main snakes which you do not want to encounter: the Black Mamba, the Puff Adder, and the Spitting Cobra. Watch where you are walking!
Book ahead if you are intending to stay a Saturday night. We arrived, after having done a little homework of where we would like to stay, to discover the whole of Swaziland seemingly booked out.
There were conferences being held, and all the guest houses, and lower priced accommodation, was not available.
As it turned out, we found a lovel mountain top hotel, and negotiated a reasonable price.
Here you can see really how many cows can be on the road, so be careful when driving through those rural areas crowded with domestic animals.
The top layer of many roads seems to be missing.
Arriving at the border, all kind of documents and passports are needed. Customs are friendly.