Stay Safe in Swaziland
Swaziland has a much lower crime rate than the rest of the area. However, try to remain in areas with a lot of other people.
Hippopotamuses may be found in the country’s rivers (occasionally) and are one of the most hazardous creatures you’ll encounter. They are very quick, as well as highly strong and possessing huge, powerful jaws. They spend the day underwater in shallow water, but come out to feed at night. They may be unpredictable, possessive of their young, and possessive of their territory. Do not go in the way of a hippo in the water.
When swimming in rivers, crocodiles are a more frequent threat.
Swaziland also boasts one of the world’s highest rates of lightning strikes per capita, and it is common to know (or know of) someone who has been hit by lightning.
Crossing any of Swaziland’s nineteen border gates with caution. It is illegal to bring meat into specific regions, and troops have the authority to examine you and your car thoroughly. Getting into ‘No-Land,’ Man’s a 5km area of land between Mozambique and Swaziland, is very dangerous; troops patrolling the borders of the two countries have shot and killed many people.
While physical violence is uncommon (unless on weekends when many people drink large amounts of brandy or marula, a very intoxicating alcoholic beverage), walking about alone after dark is not recommended, especially outside Mbabane and Manzini, where street lighting is scarce. Keep your money concealed and don’t consume costly meals in front of the locals if you’re working or traveling in poor rural regions, especially if you’re feeding AIDS kids via the Sebenta school program.
Outside of settlements, the roads are mainly dirt. Town roads are riddled with potholes. While the major roads in Swaziland are usually in excellent condition, four-wheel drive is required to explore most of the country, unless you want to be stuck miles from anything with a spotty phone connection due to the scarcity of mobile telephone towers. Others, especially HGVs, often overtake without warning or checking for oncoming traffic. With more than a full quota of passengers, ‘Kombis,’ local minibuses that double as taxis, travel at a neck-or-nothing rate.
Stay Healthy in Swaziland
Swaziland has the world’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, with almost one in every three people infected. Never engage in unprotected sexual activity. If you chance to fall in love in Swaziland, demand an HIV test before proceeding.
If you visit contaminated streams, you’re at danger for bilharzia, and malaria is a seasonal concern in Swaziland’s north-east, near Mozambique. If mosquito nets and repellent are required, be sure you use them.