The things they will confiscate at the border

Many of us tend to view our neighbouring states as additional South African provinces. That is until we arrive at the border and discover a whole new world. Our neighbouring countries have different rules and regulations with regards to what you can import and export. Understanding these rules can make the difference between a great holiday across the border, or a nightmare of frustration, misunderstandings and delay.
This article will outline the rules about what you can bring into eSwatini and perhaps more importantly, what you can bring back into South Africa.

Going into eSwatini (Swaziland):
Visitors are allowed to temporarily import their personal belongings, for example: laptops, cameras, recreational and camping equipment etc. In some cases you may be required to complete a Temporary Importation Permit.  Be sure to take car papers with you.  From time to time, there are restrictions on meat products for disease control purposes.  Please check prior to travel.

  • Visitors entering eSwatini may bring in new goods and groceries for their own consumption to the value of R1,000.00 per individual, or R2,000.00 per family travelling together (one such importation per day). Additional new goods above these allowances are liable for 15% V.A.T.
  • After officials have stamped your passport and your gate pass, look for the Customs desk and ask for the form to declare your groceries.  Then present your gate pass to the Customs official to stamp it.
  • Road Tax – R100 payable for vehicles – pay for this at the Customs’ payment counter.
  • Hand your gate pass to the personnel on the gate, and show them your road tax receipt.

Returning to South Africa:
Due to strict environment protection efforts, these are restricted items and MUST be declared – and this applies to all South African border posts, ports and airports.

Currency: South African bank notes in excess of R25 000; foreign currency above $10 000; gold coins; coin and stamp collections; and unprocessed gold.

Endangered plants and animals: Species of plants or animals that are listed as endangered, whether they are alive or dead, as well as any parts of or articles made from them.

Food, plants, animals and biological goods: All plants and plant products, such as seeds, flowers, fruit, honey, margarine and vegetable oils. Also animals, birds, poultry and products thereof, such as dairy products, butter and eggs. (You will need a permit to bring fish into South Africa.) This rule applies to any goods you purchased in South Africa and took into a neighbouring country, didn’t eat and want to bring back with you. So plan your meals carefully so as not to be bringing anything home again.  Even though you declare them, expect that they will probably be confiscated!

You should also declare any wooden sculptures/souvenirs you have purchased.

For more detailed information, see this site:

Your groceries and drinks – if you have been self catering across the South African border, your left over groceries, dry goods, sauces, tins and such, as well as your wine and whiskey, can be brought back into South Africa without a hassle.

If you find at the end of your stay at Royal Jozini Big 6 that you have some leftovers, the Swazi housekeeping staff will be very happy to accept these and you may be surprised by their enthusiasm and joy to get this gift from you! Do please sign the form that you will find in each lodge, giving them permission to take it home to the village. Thank you!

Why not try a self catering bush break at Royal Jozini – we’re just 9kms from the South African border near Pongola and have some superb privately owned lodge homes you can book. email Lynda at