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Swaziland is named after the Swazi people and it is also known as the Kingdom of Swaziland. Traditional ceremonies that will give foreigners a fascinating glimpse into the sacred heritage of the Swazi's, include the iNcwala first fruit ceremonies and the Umhlanga Reed Dance. Another excellent way to experience the culture is through the local art and craft markets, one of the Kingdom's greatest attractions apart from the nature reserves and casinos.

CAPITAL

Mbabane

CURRENCY

1 Lilangeni (plural: Emalangeni) = 100 cents. The South African Rand is accepted as legal tender, but not coins. Amex and MasterCard are widely accepted. Visa has more limited use. Traveller's cheques are widely accepted with Pounds Sterling recommended.

CUSTOMS

Duty Free Allowances:
- 200 Emalangeni' worth of gifts
- 400 cigarettes
- 50 cigars
- 250 g of tobacco
- 1 bottle (750 ml) of alcoholic beverages
- 50 ml of perfume
- 250 ml of eau de toilette

SPECIAL NOTES
-Married couples travelling together are allowed free import for one person only.

(NB! For full information, please contact the nearest Embassy of Botswana.)

ELECTRICITY

220/230 volts, 50 Hz. Plugs are 3-pin round.

HEALTH

A yellow fever certificate is required from travellers coming from infected areas. Visitors are advised to take pre-travel precautions against hepatitis A, polio, typhoid and malaria (risk exists throughout the year in all lowveld areas e.g. Big Bend, Mhlume, Simunye and Tshaneni). Other health concerns include respiratory problems (aggravated by the wet, murky weather), cholera (the country is officially considered infected), influenza (risk is May - Oct), limited medical facilities and Aids.

HOURS

Banking Hours 8.30am - 2.30 pm Mon - Fri & 8.30 am - 11 am Sat
Office Hours 8am - 5 pm Mon-Fri
Shopping Hours 7.30am / 8.30 am - 5 pm Mon - Fri; some supermarkets open longer; until 1 pm on Sat

LANGUAGE

Official languages are English and Siswati. Most locals are bilingual.

POPULATION

1.1 Million

LITERACY

81.6%

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

New Years' Day (1 Jan); Commonwealth Day (9 Mar); Good Friday (9 Apr); Easter Monday (12 Apr); King's Anniversary (19 Apr); National Flag Day (25 Apr); Labour Day (1 May); Ascension Day (20 May); Somhlolo Day (6 Sep); United Nations Day (24 Oct); Christmas Day (25 Dec); Boxing Day (26 Dec)

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS

Religion is Christian with Animist (belief that inanimate objects have souls) minority. Culture and tradition play a large part in people's lives. Ask permission (and pay tips) to photograph people and apply for permission to photograph traditional ceremonies. The photographing of the Royal Palace, Royal family, uniformed police, army personnel, army vehicles and aircraft are prohibited.

TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT+2

TIPPING

No service charges are included and tipping is expected, 10 percent is recommended.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

There are four regions in the country and the weather varies between them with warm to hot summers and cool to mild, although sometimes cold winters with snow on the high ground. Rainfall occurs mostly in the summer months between September and February.

GETTING THERE

Drive east on the N4 from Johannesburg or Pretoria.