Eswatini

Packing List

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.

Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers.

Below is a packing list compiled by Group 13 in 2015 for volunteers highlighting in more detail packing for Peace Corps Eswatini:

2015 Peace Corps Eswatini Packing List

General Clothing

The climate in Eswatini varies according to both the altitude and the season. You should be prepared for temperatures ranging from 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You will be expected to dress professionally for your job. You will wash clothes by hand in cold water, in a basin or bucket, and hang them to dry on a line or the nearest fence. White clothes soil easily, so neutral colors are best for hiding dirt. Clothes made of rayon or nylon are good because they dry quickly and do not need to be ironed, but lightweight cotton fabrics are best for the hot climate. It does get cold in the winter, so bring some warm clothes too.

  • Warm coat or jacket (fleece works well and can be layered)
  • Waterproof rain jacket
  • Jeans (for weekends and travel)
  • Two or three sweaters (lightweight cotton and wool)
  • T-shirts (in neutral colors)
  • Baseball cap or sun hat
  • One-piece swimsuit
  • Sportswear
  • Good socks (four to six pairs)

For Men

  • Three or four pairs of dress slacks or khakis
  • Three or four cotton dress shirts (both long- and short-sleeved)
  • Several casual collared shirts, such as polo or golf shirts
  • One sports coat for special events
  • One or two ties
  • Underwear and socks

For Women

  • Three to five dresses or skirts (knee length or longer)
  • Two or three pairs of trousers or dressy slacks
  • Five to seven blouses and other tops (short- or long-sleeved)
  • Tights to wear with skirts in colder weather
  • Plenty of cotton underwear and bras, including a sports bra
  • Two slips (knee- and ankle-length)

Shoes

  • Comfortable dress shoes or loafers for men
  • Dress shoes with flat or low heels for women
  • Athletic shoes
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Flip-flops/shower shoes
People who wear larger sizes (12+ for men, 10+ for women), wide sizes, or corrective shoes should consider bringing an extra pair or two of shoes, as such shoes are difficult to find here.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

All the little things you need to keep your life running smoothly are available locally at reasonable prices, albeit in a limited selection. You should bring enough toiletries to at least get you through pre-service training (including feminine hygiene products). 

  • Remember to bring a three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take, to cover you until the Peace Corps medical unit can order them.
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contacts are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)

Kitchen

You can buy most kitchen supplies in Eswatini (e.g., dishes, pots, glasses and utensils). Peace Corps will provide you with a minimal set of utensils before you go to your training homestead. There is a variety of spices and foodstuffs available in the larger towns, but you will not have much access during training. However, you might consider bringing the following items:

  • Plastic storage bags and containers (these can be purchased locally in larger towns)
  • Can opener and vegetable peeler
  • Sturdy water bottle (e.g., Nalgene)
  • Cookbook or recipes 
  • Small packages of your favorite condiments, spices, sauce mixes, soft-drink mixes, etc.

Miscellaneous

  • If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards or traveler's checks are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns so you may want to bring an ATM card to access a bank account in the U.S.
  • Small gifts for host family and friends (not required); knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; photos to give away
  • Watch (durable, water-resistant, and inexpensive)
  • Reliable alarm clock
  • Small sewing kit
  • Solar shower (much easier than “bucket bathing” with a cup and washbasin)
  • Radio (FM/AM and shortwave), iPod, CD player, and favorite music
  • Camera and film
  • Binoculars
  • Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
  • Lightweight sleeping bag (often needed when visiting other Volunteers or staying at back-packer lodges)
  • Backpack
  • Small tent (if you enjoy camping)
  • Pictures of your hometown, U.S. historical sites, family and friends
  • Small flashlight and extra bulbs and/or headlamp
  • Guidebooks on the region
  • Hobby materials like journals, sketching pads, pencils, etc.
  • Musical instruments
  • Craft supplies for projects with schoolchildren
  • Games (Scrabble, cards, chess, Frisbee, etc.)