WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING ON LOCATION IN ESWATINI
Formerly known as Swaziland, Eswatini is a small, landlocked country bordering South Africa and Mozambique. The country has a population of around 1.2 million. eSwatini is a wonderful location to film in. One of the last absolute monarchies in the world. Film locations can be divided into the following regions:
Hhohho – Located in the north of the country, Lobamba the legislative capital and home to the royal family. Mbabane, located up in the Mdzimba Mountains is the executive capital and largest city. The mythical sacred Mantjolo Pond is located nearby. Nature locations of note in this region include Malolotja Nature Reserve, and Phophanyane Falls Nature Reserve.
Lubombo – Located in the west of the country, Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary is home to antelopes and zebras.
Manzini – Located in the east of the country, with 3 game reserves and a national park famous for its lions, elephants, rhinos, and birdlife.
Shiselweni – The Shiselweni region is in the south of the country. Popular attractions include Sibene Rock, the sugarcane museum, Manzini main market, Nsangwini bushman paintings and Swazi cultural villages.
Eswatini’s hot, rainy season runs from October to April. The cool, dry season runs from May to September. This being the best time to film.
The Swazi lilangeni (SZL) is the African nation of Eswatini’s official currency, this remains pegged to the South African rand.
ESWATINI FILM PERMIT
The whole process can take between 5-10 working days, the entrance requirements into eSwatini are lax with free 30-day visas to any westerners. The application for a filming permit requires a lot of paperwork, the details required for application are filming dates, passport information for all crew, a brief of the nature of the shoot and a list of all equipment, if any.
There are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in eSwatini.
CUSTOMS AND EQUIPMENT
Eswatini is part of the ACU (African Customs Union) and works with the ATA Carnet system. There is very little production equipment available in eSwatini, but South Africa has a very well-developed industry to service any eSwatini production.
Standard drone rules apply, to fly drones in eSwatini an import license from the eSwatini Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA) is required. A letter of approval is needed from SWACAA.