Trip Preparation

FAQs when traveling to Eswatini

Ready to start preparing for your service trip to Eswatini? Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions trip participants have before their mission trip. If you have additional questions about your trip, please contact our Guest Relations Assistant.

Looking for more information on upcoming trips? Learn more about our July 2022 and November 2022 mission trips.

FINANCIAL DETAILS

The cost varies depending on city of departure and service projects during the trip. Please refer to the upcoming trip descriptions on the website for more information.
• Experience Eswatini July 2022
• Experience Eswatini November 2022

There are many unique ways to raise funds for your trip. Mailing support letters, selling T-shirts, garage sales, hosting dinner parties, etc. Feel free to reach out to us, as we are here to help guide you with advice and best practices of others. Please note that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not permit issuance of official tax receipts for payments made toward service trips.

TRAVEL

In accordance with the duty of Heart for Africa to provide and maintain a workplace and work environment that is free of known hazards, each of the Board(s) of Directors for Heart for Africa (Eswatini), Heart for Africa (Canada), and Heart for Africa (U.S.) have approved this policy to safeguard the health of Project Canaan’s residents, employees and their families; the people and organizations receiving services from Project Canaan; and the community at large from the spread of COVID-19. All travelers must comply with international travel restrictions and with the operational requirements mandated by Project Canaan.

All trip participants are currently required to provide proof of negative PCR tests for entry into and exit from South Africa and Eswatini. Upon arrival at Project Canaan, trip participants will also receive a rapid test to ensure they are COVID-negative. Unvaccinated trip participants will be required to wear a mask at all times while on Project Canaan. The Kingdom of Eswatini has mandated masks to be worn by everyone at all times in the community (anywhere off-site from Project Canaan).

Please see Heart for Africa’s Participant Agreement for more information about rules and policies related to travel to Project Canaan.

Your passport must have at least 4 blank pages and be valid six months past your departure date from the country you are visiting. Please make copies of your passport to leave at home with family and/or friends as a reference, in the event you misplace your passport during your trip.

A Visa is not required for travel to Eswatini.

Your child must travel with a guardian if they are not traveling with a parent. To ensure streamlined travel through immigrations during your child’s upcoming international flight, it is very important to provide both the child, and their guardian, with an affidavit and their unabridged (original) birth certificate or an official certified copy. A certified copy would be obtained through the vital records office in the state where the child was born (NOT a photo copy of your current birth certificate). Please follow the instructions below provided by the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in South Africa in order not to be denied boarding in Atlanta.

Please print, fill out and make copies of the affidavit, available here. The temporary guardian should carry the original, the minor should carry a copy. The parent/legal guardian should keep a copy as well. We also ask that you notify us who will be acting as the guardian for your child, here.

To get more information about travel for minors to South Africa, please see The South African Immigration Act, 2010.

Typically, we fly from Toronto to Atlanta and then onto Johannesburg. The average time in flight is 18 – 20 hours.

Baggage requirements vary by airline and intra-Africa flights. The current standards for South African Airways and Delta Airlines is 50 lb per checked bag. Please refer to your booked airline website or your tickets for complete information regarding baggage limitations. If you are traveling by air within multiple countries during your time in Africa, you are limited to one checked bag (i.e. if you fly from Johannesburg to Eswatini versus traveling by bus with the team). 

To use your own Frequent Flyer miles, you would need to arrange your own flights and register with Heart for Africa (Canada) as a “Land-only volunteer” or self-booking. It is vital that your flight arrangements coincide with our flight arrangements. Please see information under Trip Extension below for clear understanding of your responsibilities if you arrange your own flights. You will need to send a copy of your itinerary to us to confirm your flights before booking, here.

To log frequent flyer miles, you will need to submit your Frequent Flyer Number in the appropriate section of your online profile account.

Effective for new bookings made on Delta on or after September 1, 2012: These unpublished fare tickets will earn miles based on a percentage of distance flown rather than full mileage credit. These special fare tickets are typically sold by specialty agents or by a third party. Examples include: Group fares, Student fares,Consolidator fares, Flights included as part of a cruise package, Discounted tour packages.

Please note that this change impacts a small portion of all tickets issued and you will continue to earn full miles as you do today for published fares and tickets purchased directly through us. These include tickets bought via delta.com and Delta Vacations®, as well as for government, military, and corporate sales. Please visit Delta Airlines for more details and specific mileage levels.

Interested in coming early or staying longer? You will need to make your own travel arrangements and are required to confirm them with us via email. You will also be responsible for meeting the group at the airport or hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. If you arrange your own air travel, Heart for Africa will not be responsible for connecting you with the group, this will be your responsibility.

Warm clothing in child, teen and adult sizes are always appreciated. Please do not bring candy or toys. Some great gift ideas would be: coats, jackets, fleece, sweaters, umbrellas, socks and new underwear.

We recommend that you exchange currency at a local bank or at the airport prior to departing for your trip.
Note: It can take up to a week for the funds to come in once you place the order. Click here for more information on locations. It is beneficial to request money in small denominations (200R or less), as the local marketplace typically won’t have change for large bills and many face counterfeit issues with larger bills in Eswatini.

We recommend exchanging your currency for South African Rand. South African Rand can be used in both South Africa and Eswatini. The Eswatini currency “Emalangeni” will only be accepted in Eswatini. You will most likely receive change in this currency while in Eswatini, so plan to spend it before you leave. You cannot exchange Emalangeni for Canadian currency.

While we don’t recommend exchanging your currency at the airport in Johannesburg, if you do choose to do this, be sure that each bill is dated 2006 or newer. Bills dated older than 2006 will not be accepted in Eswatini.

Check with your doctor, health department, or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to see what shots are recommended for Eswatini.

Trip Breakdown (sample)

Depart from North America.

Arrive in Johannesburg and stay overnight at the City Lodge Airport Hotel.

Drive to Eswatini, check in, & group orientation.

All teams go to Project Canaan where they will get a three-hour tour of the project to include: Children’s homes, Project Canaan Academy, egg barns, dairy, Aquaponics greenhouse, Kufundza Vocational Training Center and the El Rofi Medical Center. Teams will get to work serving in areas of need based on skill set (painting, greenhouses, construction, woodworking, planting, watering). Teams will also be provided with information on a Project Canaan family whom they will visit the following day. The number of family members, ages and sizes will be provided so that the team can prepare clothing, and food from Project Canaan and get instructions for the visit.

Each team will be assigned two Project Canaan families in need. The team will drive to Project Canaan and collect the supplies and food for the family visit. They will also bring clothing for that family if available from the “second suitcase” of donated clothing that people may have brought with them. The team will continue to serve that family by visiting them, praying with them, and listening to and encouraging them. This is a great opportunity to get to see Swazi culture up close while developing a relationship with an individual family who is in need and who we want to provide extra support to.

Individual volunteers will have the opportunity to spend the day on a game drive (safari) and a market shopping expedition or they can choose to serve at Project Canaan.

Volunteers can participate with Kids Club and enjoy the activities of the day with the children, or continue on with work projects.

Volunteers attend Children’s Church in the morning and then enjoy the afternoon with the children, or can enjoy an afternoon of rest and reflection.

 Individuals will check out of the hotel, stop at the Glass Factory, and take the five hour bus ride back to Johannesburg for an evening flight back to the US and Canada.

Everyone arrives back home and begins to think and pray about how they can help the people they got to know and love in Eswatini.

TRIP LOGISTICS

We make sure our teams stay in comfortable, safe accommodations so you are able to rest and get refreshed each evening after serving all day. Larger groups will stay a 20 minute drive from Project Canaan, at the Nkonyeni Golf Estate.

Breakfast and lunch will be served at the hotel and we send a packed lunch with you each day. The food prepared by our hotels is safe and we also provide lots of bottles water. However, we cannot ensure that you will not contract an illness while serving in Africa and recommend that you bring over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medicine with you. You may also talk to your physician about a prescription antibiotic.

Yes, you can access the contract through your personal account at Heart for Africa on the website. Once you sign up for a trip, you will need to complete the contract online.

Absolutely! Shopping in Africa is always a big event. You will be able to shop at our Khutsala™ Artisans shop on Project Canaan. In addition, you will visit the Swazi Candle Factory and one of the local “African markets,” where you will have the opportunity to purchase handmade items. If time permits, you will also have the opportunity to shop at the Ngwenya Glass Factory

We suggest that you bring $100 – $400 in spending money for extra snacks, gifts, crafts and souvenirs, as well as items for the church you are working with in the community if you so desire. There is no need to tip the wait staff, maids, etc., at the hotel, but you will have an opportunity to leave a tip for all hotel staff before you leave Eswatini. Do not bring Traveler’s Checks, as they will not be accepted at most locations. 

What Do you need to Pack?

Packing for your trip to Africa can be an intimidating task. To help you out, we’ve prepared a packing list and recommended using this list to help you pack for your trip: Heart for Africa Packing List.

  • Don’t forget to pack the two most important things…your plane ticket or e-ticket information and your passport! Please remember that your passport needs at least FOUR blank pages – and must be valid for six months after your return date. Make copies of your passport and keep a copy in a separate place in your luggage or on your person along with I.D.
  • Pack your carry-on with all of your “must have” items: medicines, an extra change of clothes, important documents, etc. If your luggage is delayed for any reason it will be important to have these with you
  • Take older clothes to work in and bring extra casual clothing to change into for the evening. Many people shower and change prior to dinner after a long day of work.Pack toiletries in zip top bags to avoid leakage.
  • All medications, including vitamins, must be in their original container.
  • Leave all expensive jewelry at home.
  • Remember to leave room for souvenirs and gifts that you will be bringing back with you. You may consider packing bubble wrap for breakables traveling back in your suitcase, as it will not be available in Africa.
  • Space bags are great for packing. These can usually be found at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.
    You will have the option of leaving your used work clothes (those without holes or excessive stains) and shoes to be given away. You will not be asked to wash them prior to your departure – they will be washed after you leave.
  • Your luggage can be donated.
  • Pack valuable items (cameras etc. in carry-on to avoid possibility of theft).
  • Bring South African Rand in small bills.
  • Use TSA luggage locks while flying.
  • Bring power bars, snacks, etc., because you will be given the opportunity to give lunch away.
  • You may want to bring Frisbees, jump ropes, bubbles, songs, games, Bible stories/books, and soccer balls with pumps.

SPECIFICS

The weather may vary dramatically depending on your destination and time of year. If you are traveling during June, July, or August, it will be winter in Eswatini with the temperature being cold in the mornings and in the evenings, and mild throughout the day. Please be sure to bring a coat or jacket. Regardless of the season, you should still pack sunscreen. We recommend checking the weather here, before traveling.

To use electronic devices you will need the appropriate plug adapter for Eswatini. You may also need a power converter as the voltage in Eswatini is 240V.

Please check the manufacturer’s label of your electronic device to determine the type of input your equipment can handle. You may find a label that states the device is certified for input at AC 100V-240V. This means that the device is manufactured to be used over a wide range of voltage levels. If this is the case, then you will only need a plug adapter. Fortunately, many digital cameras and video cameras today come with power supplies that can be used in almost any part of the world. These can be purchased online from stores like Amazon.com or from traditional technology stores such as Fry’s Electronics.

We will do our best to honour all roommate requests. We have a policy of no male/female roommates unless you are married or family members. Please complete your roommate request on your online current trip profile.

No, this is your personal choice. However, we STRONGLY recommend you purchase for your trip due in the event you are unable to travel due to travel restrictions or illness. Should you acquire traveler’s insurance, it will be at your expense.

We encourage you to be fully present in Eswatini and “disconnect”, but we do realize you might need to communicate back home. The Nkonyeni Golf Estate, where most trip participants stay, has internet for purchase.

TRIP CANCELLATION POLICY

Given the uncertainty of today’s travel environment, Heart for Africa (Canada) may have no alternative but to cancel one of our regularly scheduled service trips due to unforeseen travel restrictions. We are committed to holding trip participants’ funds until December of the following calendar year as long as they are applied to a future service trip occurring within that time frame. Participants may also elect to donate their funds to the general fund if they are unable to travel within the allotted time. If you have further questions, please contact us.

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