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Swaziland (eSwatini)

Swaziland Film & Photography Production Services

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Swaziland? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in Swaziland? See below for an introduction to Swaziland locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Swaziland Film Locations

Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa. It is one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. Swaziland is known for its many undiscovered cultural and natural locations. Locations of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers include Mbuluzi Game Reserve, Shewula Mountain Camp, Hlane Royal National Park, Luphohlo Recreational Park, Mkhaya Game Reserve, Phophonyane Falls Nature Reserve, Mlawula Nature Reserve, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Malolotja Nature Reserve, Mantenga Nature Reserve, and Ezulwini Valley. Sibebe Rock is the second largest monolith in the world after Australia’s Uluru. The mythical sacred Mantjolo Pond is located nearby.

Mbabane is the executive capital and Lobamba is the legislative capital of Swaziland.

Swaziland Film Location Permits

A film permit is required to shoot in Swaziland. See below in the Visas and Work Permits section for more information. 

As for permission to film in specific locations, once you have a film permit most are possible given time, money and the right approach. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Climate varies depending on altitude with the mountain region generally cooler and wetter than the rest of the country. Swaziland’s hot, rainy season runs from October to April. The cool, dry season runs from May to September. This is the best time to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Events of note include:

• The Incwala Festival takes place in December / January
• The Marula Festival (Buganu Ceremony) season runs from February to May
• The Bushfire Festival takes place in May
• The Batimba National Hunt in August
• The Umhlanga (Reed Dance) takes place in August / September
• The Umtsimba Ceremony is a traditional wedding ceremony performed throughout the year

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. The local currency is pegged to the South African Rand, which is also widely accepted. Locations, local talent and support crew are inexpensive but since the filming infrastructure is limited all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Our Swazi fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Swaziland.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Swaziland has a very small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. Key crew should be brought in from abroad. Johannesburg is the closest production centre for crew, a 4hr drive away.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Swaziland.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Swaziland offers mainly ethnic Swazi looks with some Zulu and white African looks also available. All other talent needs to be brought in from abroad.

Swaziland Film Equipment

Equipment. Basic camera, lighting, grip, and drone equipment is available. Johannesburg is the closest production centre for larger and more sophisticated equipment. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Swaziland is an ATA carnet country. 

Communication. Internet is scarce outside of major cities. There is so data roaming so the Swazi fixer will need to arrange local SIM cards for everyone.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very basic.

Studios and backlots. None exist at present.

Post Production. Post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Film crew travelling on Western passports can enter Swaziland visa-free for periods of up to 30 days.

A film permit is required to shoot in Swaziland. To apply for a film permit, you need to send your local fixer / service producer an application including a project synopsis, dates, visiting crew passport information pages, and an imported equipment list. If you are coming to film with a local organisation you will also need to include a Letter Of Invitation from this organisation. The local fixer will submit this information on your behalf to relevant authorities. Allow at least 2 weeks to process permits. A copy of the processed permit will be emailed to you for presentation at the airport or border.

Note, trying to deal directly with permitting authorities to save money, may be tempting but it’s really risky. You don’t want to find out at the 11th hour that your application was never received. Also, you must be accompanied by a local fixer / service producer when filming in Swaziland. The local fixer is held liable for the visiting productions activities including making sure you observe the conditions of location permits, as well as the nature of the content you are producing. Contact us for Swaziland fixer referrals.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are well developed. Airlink Swaziland services flights to and from Johannesburg. If coming in from Johannesburg, allow for at least 4hrs of driving.

Accommodation. Contact us for film-friendly hotel recommendations in Swaziland. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Down Time. Traditional dances and food are the obvious tourist choice but curious storytellers ought to explore the Swaziland archives, just outside of Mantenga. There are many stories to be told about this relatively unexplored kingdom.

Safety. Swaziland is widely considered to be one of the safest countries in Africa. See here for up to date travel advice.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Swaziland, please see below:

Hire Swaziland (eSwatini) Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Swaziland, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Swaziland, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.