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Swaziland was put on the tourism map when southern Africa’s first casino hotel was built in the lush Ezulwini Valley in the early 1990s. The Valley is a hub of Swaziland’s major tourist attractions, including the country’s famous casino, the magnificent Royal Swazi golf course and the hot mineral spring.
Mbabane is the capital of Swaziland and lies to the northern end of the Ezulwini Valley, amid the granite peaks which make up the Dlangeni hills. Like most cities, the malls and mains streets are common attractions.
Currency: 1 Lilangeni (SZL) = 100 cents Capital: Mbabane Time: GMT +2 Main Languages: English and Swati Climate: The lowland is moderate and comfortable. Elsewhere variations in altitude cause weather fluctuations. Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. Round 3 pin and 2 pin plugs
Lilangeni (SZL) = 100 cents. The plural of Lilangeni is Emalangeni. Notes are in denominations of SZL200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of SZL5, 2 and 1, and 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
The South African Rand is also accepted as legal tender (SZL1 = 1 Rand) although coins are not accepted.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for Travelers coming from an infected area. Malaria is prevalent all year round and advice should be sought on what prophylactics are best. There is a risk of bilharzia in certain parts of Lake Malawi, particularly where the water is shallow and stagnant - advice should be sought from local authorities. Immunisation against typhoid, hepatitis and tetanus is recommended. It is advisable to drink bottled water, which is widely available, as drinking water may not be safe especially in the rural areas. Although medical facilities are generally limited in Swaziland, Mbabame Clinic is well-equipped to deal with minor problems. Most international visitors will use private services, frequently attached to the larger hotels.
The national language is the widely spoken Swati but English is also a common language, and that of the business community.
Service charges are not included in hotel and restaurant bills, and tipping is at the client's discretion. It is common practice to tip guides in the national parks.
Geography and Climate
Due to the variations in altitude the weather is changeable. Except in the lowland, it is rarely uncomfortably hot and nowhere very cold, although frosts occasionally occur in the Highveld which has a wetter, temperate climate. The Middleveld and Lubombo are drier and subtropical with most rain from October to March.
About 60% of the population are Protestant and Roman Catholic with the remainder following mainly indigenous beliefs. People enjoy freedom of religion.
All visitors must have a return or onward ticket and all documents necessary for return or onward journeys, as well as sufficient funds for their duration of stay. It is advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.
Travel within the country can be conducted by road on good tar surfaces between major centres.