Getting Around, Swaziland Travel, Transport and Car Rental
(Swaziland, SZ, Southern Africa)
Once you've arrived in Swaziland, usually via the capital Mbabane, there are only two real transport alternatives for getting around - rental cars and minibus taxis.
By far the most convenient way to travel to your chosen destination is by hire car. However, Swaziland does have a surprisingly extensive transport network of minibus taxis, which makes it remarkably easy for visitors to travel around the country and reach its many nature reserves. Those headed to the Hlane Royal National Park
will find that minibus transport will conveniently drop visitors at the very entrance to the park, en route to Simunye.
Sikhuphe International Airport / Arriving by Air
Address: MR3, Near Macnab and Mpaka, Lubombo, Swaziland, SZ, Africa
Built to replace Matsapha International Airport (MTS) in Manzini, Sikhuphe International Airport was in the planning for over 30 years and finally opened in 2011 at the cost of more than $150 million, after eight years' worth of construction work. Now the principal air facility in Swaziland and capable of handling around 300,000 annual passengers, Sikhuphe is a 50-minute drive (60 km / 37 miles to the east) from the city of Manzini and is able to handle larger aircraft than was the case at Matsapha, such as Boeing 747s. Regional and international carriers connect prominent destinations from around the world.
Other notable airports located in Swaziland are as follows:
- Kubuta Airfield (FDKS / FDKB) - Kubuta
- Lavumisa Airfield (FDLV / FDGL) - Lavumisa
- Mhlume Airfield (FDMH) - Mhlume
- Nhlangano Airfield (FDNH / FDGD) - Nhlangano
- Nsoko Airfield (FDNS) - Nsoko
- Piggs Peak Airfield (FDHG) - Ngonini
- Simunye Airfield (FDSM) - Simunye
- Siteki Airfield (FDST) - Siteki
- Tambankula Airfield (FDTM) - Tambankula
- Tshaneni Airfield (FDTS) - Tshaneni
- Ubombo Ranches Airfield (FDUB) - Big Bend
Whilst the roads in Swaziland aren't as good as those found in neighbouring South Africa
, it's still relatively easy to get around by car. Two-lane main roads are reasonably well-signposted and even smaller dirt roads are passable during dry periods of the year. However, when the rainy season arrives, it's best to hire a four-wheel drive vehicle.
If you choose to travel by car, it is worth remembering that much of Swaziland is made up of rural areas interspersed by the odd town. So, if you spot a petrol station or grocery store, then you should stock up while you have the chance.
Those wishing to travel into Mozambique
by rental car will find that the main border crossing is located between Lomahasha (in the Lubombo district of Swaziland) and Namaacha (Southern Mozambique) - just over three hours from Manzini. This crossing is open daily - 07:00 to 20:00, while a further crossing is based between Mhlumeni and Gobahas, being open from 07:00 to 18:00. South Africa's border crossing is situated between Emahlathini and Sicunusa, Golela and Lavumisa, Josefsdal and Bulembu, and Oshoek and Ngwenya.
Buses and Coaches
Buses are a great way of getting around Swaziland. There are a few public buses operating from Mbabane
, although the majority of bus transport services are made up of minibus taxis. These have the advantage of reaching even the remotest parts of the country and are the best value option for getting around Swaziland. On the down side, they can get quite crowded. On the plus side, this does mean you get to meet lots of local people along the way.
Minibus taxis generally depart from town bus stations. Long-distance bus transport departs for Johannesburg, Durban and Mozambique on a regular basis, being frequent and usually necessitating an early morning start. From the border, a bus trip to the Mozambican capital of Maputo will take roughly 90 minutes.
The Baz Bus also runs via Mbabane and Manzini, connecting South African cities such as Durban
. If travelling in comfort is more your thing, air-conditioned buses can usually be found at border posts.
Hiring a non-shared taxi cab offers greater convenience and comfort than shared minibus taxis. If you're travelling with friends and can divide the cost, this makes for a sensible and highly convenient alternative.