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2018 Trips
Trip Preparation Information
Going Home


How much money do I need to raise?
The cost varies depending on city of departure and service projects during the trip. Please refer to the specific trip
descriptions on the website for more information.

How do I raise the funds?

There are may unique ways to raise funds for your trip. Mailing support letters, selling T-shirts, garage sales, hosting dinner parties, etc. Our staff is here to help guide you with advice and best practices of others.

Please note that Canada Revenue Agency does not permit issuance of official tax receipts for payments
made towards service trips.


What does a Heart for Africa (Canada) trip look like?  
After arriving at your destination, you can choose to work at EITHER one of our rural church communities or at Project Canaan.  Work in the community may include gardening, light construction, visiting the sick in their homes, shoe and clothing distribution, and playing/visiting with children in the community.  You will attend a church in the community on Sunday.  There is also time set aside for shopping at local outdoor craft markets.     

What kind of shopping will I be able to do?
Shopping in Africa is always a big event. You will visit the Candle Factory as well as 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 Glass Factory.

Where will I stay?  
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. 

What do the people think about us coming?

Many of the people you will be working with have been waiting for your arrival for months. They are excited and amazed that you would come all the way from North America to help them!

Will I get sick from the food or water?  
The food prepared by our hotels is safe. We send a packed lunch with you each day. Bottled water will be provided. 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.  

Do I need to bring any money?
Do not bring Traveler’s Checks, they will not be accepted at most locations. We suggest that you bring $100-$400 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 Swaziland.

Is there a contract I must sign with Heart for Africa?  
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.


Do I need a passport?  
Yes! Please go to www.ppt.gc.ca for more information regarding passports. 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.

Effective September 2014, the South African Immigration Act, 2010, was approved and the following regulations regarding passports must be adhered to:

Regulation 2 (1)(d):  Passengers traveling to South Africa must be in possession of a passport with two unused pages required for endorsements.  The two unused pages when presented for purposes of endorsing a port of entry visa, visa, permanent residence permit or entry of departure stamp.

Regulation 2 (2):  The passport must be machine readable however, the foreigner may be admitted into or depart from South Africa with a non-machine readable passport provided that:

(a) He or she is from a foreign country that is issuing machine readable passports and has not completely phased out the non-machine readable passports; and
(b) His or her passport was issued after 24 November 2005 and its date of expiry is before 24 November 2015.

Do I need a visa?  
No, a Visa is not required for travel to Swaziland.

How long does it take to get to Africa?  
Heart for Africa trips to Swaziland arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The average flight to Johannesburg, South Africa is 18-20 hours from Toronto.

My child is under 18 years of age and is traveling to Africa without me. Is there anything I need to do to help ensure he/she can clear immigration?  
Your child must travel with a guardian. To ensure streamlined travel for your child while traveling through immigrations during their 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 attached. Click here for the AFFIDAVIT.  The temporary guardian should carry the original, the minor should carry a copy, and the parent/legal guardian should keep a copy as well. We also ask that you send an email to trips@heartforafrica.org to notify us who will be acting as guardian for your child.

NEW SOUTH AFRICAN REGULATIONS REGARDING TRAVEL FOR MINORS EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 2014 (taken from The South African Immigration Act, 2010). Revised on June 01, 2015.  

These rules apply to children who are entering or departing South Africa. Therefore, the required documents should be retained in all circumstances throughout the stay of the child in South Africa.

The South African regulations use the term “unabridged birth certificate.” The exact contents of unabridged birth certificate vary among the different jurisdictions that issue birth certificates (countries, states, counties, cities, etc.), but the key distinction between an “abridged” and “unabridged” birth certificate is that an unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.  All documents must be original or copies certified as a true copy of the original by a commissioner of oaths or the equivalent commissioning authority.
  • Where BOTH parents are traveling with a child, parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.
  • In the case of ONE parent traveling with a child, he or she must carry an unabridged birth certificate and:
(i) Consent in the form of an affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorizing him or her to enter into or depart from South Africa with the child he or she is traveling with.
(ii) Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child;
(iii) A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or
(iv) Where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate,
  • Where a person is traveling with a child who is NOT his or her biological child, he or she must produce:
(i) A copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child;
(ii) An affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child.
(iii) Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and
(iv) The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child, (Note: Where the parents of the child are both deceased, and the child is traveling with a relative or another person related to the child or the child’s parents, the South African authorities have the discretion to approve such a person to enter or depart South Africa with the child.)
  • An unaccompanied minor must produce:
(i) Proof of consent from one or both his or her parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, in the form of a letter or affidavit (issued no earlier than 3 months prior to travel dates) for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa.  In the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child (see sample affidavit of consent);
(ii) A letter from the person which is to receive the child in South Africa, containing his or her residential address and contact details where the child will be residing;
(iii) A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the South Africa; and
(iv) The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

How many bags can I pack?  
Baggage requirements vary by airline and intra-Africa flights. The current standards for South African Airways and Delta Airlines is 50 lbs. 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 Swaziland versus traveling by bus with the team).

Can I use my frequent flyer miles to pay for my flight?
To use your own Frequent Flyer miles, you would need to arrange your own flights and register with Heart for Africa as a “Land-only volunteer” or self-booking. It is vital that your flight arrangements coincide with Heart for Africa flights. (Please see answer below “Can I arrive early or stay later?” for clear understanding of your responsibilities if you arrange your own flights.) Please send your itinerary to trips@heartforafrica.org to confirm your flights before booking.

Can I earn Frequent Flyer miles on my Heart for Africa flights?
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. You may visit delta.com for more details and specific mileage levels.

Can I arrive early or stay later?  
Yes, but you will need to make your own travel arrangements and you are required to confirm them with Heart For Africa by emailing trips@heartforafrica.org. You will also be responsible for meeting the group at the airport or hotel in 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.

What if I want to bring donated items to leave in Africa?  
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.  

Where can I exchange currency?
We recommend that you exchange currency at a local bank or at the airport prior to departing for your trip. Note that it can take up to a week for the funds to come in once you place the order. Check the website www.travelex.com for more information on locations. It is a good idea to request money in small denominations as this will be beneficial when you are bartering in the marketplace where they typically won’t have change for large bills. Bills need to be smaller than 200R due to counterfeit issues in Swaziland.

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

While we don’t recommend exchanging your currency at the airport in Africa, 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 Africa.

Do I need shots?  
Check with your doctor, health department, or visit www.cdc.gov to see what shots are recommended for Swaziland.


What should I pack?  
Packing for eleven days in Africa can be intimidating. To help guide you through this, Heart for Africa has developed a recommended packing list that is included with this travel guide.  Please use this list to help you as you prepare for your trip.

What is the weather like in Africa?

The weather may vary dramatically depending on your destination and time of year. We recommend
that you check www.weather.com. If you are traveling during June, July or August, it will be winter in Swaziland 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.  

Can I use/charge my electronic devices?
To use electronic devices you will need the appropriate plug adapter for Swaziland. To view a photo of the adapter, go to https://international-electrical-supplies.com/swaziland-plug-adapters.html.  

You may also need a power converter.  Please check the manufacturer's label 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.

Who will be my roommate?  
We will do our best to honor all roommate requests. Heart for Africa does 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.  

Does Heart for Africa require that I have traveler's insurance?  
No, this is your personal choice.  Should you acquire traveler’s insurance, it will be at your expense.

How do I communicate back home?
We encourage you to be fully present in Swaziland and “disconnect”, but we do realize you might need to communicate back home.  The Royal Swazi Sun Hotel located behind the Lugogo Sun Hotel has a business center where computer and internet access is available to you for a fee.  Additionally, there is wireless internet access (for a fee) at the City Lodge Hotel in Johannesburg and the Lugogo Sun Hotel.  The same user ID can be purchased for both hotels, even though they are in different countries.


Packing for your trip to Africa can be an intimidating task.  To help you out, Heart for Africa has prepared a recommended packing list.  Please use this list to help you pack for your trip.  Click this link to direct to the packing list document:  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.


Swaziland is located in southern Africa bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. The country has a population of 950,000 with an average life expectancy of 29 years. Swaziland has a negative growth rate of 4.5%. Poverty is a major issue with 69% of the population currently living below the poverty line.   

Swaziland has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world at approximately 42.6%. HIV/AIDS related illnesses account for 90% of hospital admissions. It is estimated that there are over 200,000 orphans living in Swaziland due to HIV/AIDS and more than half of the total population is made up of orphans and/or vulnerable children.

The country is led by King Mswati III and is considered an absolute monarchy.  In 1986, he succeeded his father Sobhuza II as ruler of the southern African kingdom. He is generally considered to be one of the last absolute monarchs in the world, as he has the authority to appoint the country's Prime Minister, members of the cabinet, and the judiciary. However, he is bound to a certain degree by Swazi traditions and he does not have the authority to choose his heir. Within Swaziland, King Mswati III is a respected and largely popular figure.  It is always appropriate to refer to him as “His Majesty the King”.

Residents of Swaziland speak siSwati.  Many people also speak English as it is the teaching language in school.  

Key words and phrases in SiSwati:
The formal greeting is Sawubona - Sa-ooh-bone-a
The response to the Sawubona is Yebo - Yea-bo
Thank you - Ngiyabonga - Knee-ya-bong-a
Good Bye - Sala Kahle - Sala Goth-lay
Hope - Litsemba - Lit-sem-ba


Respect and honor everyone in the rural community as well as your own team members, other visitors and volunteers. Refrain from using the word “orphan”, especially around the children. In Swaziland, the word “orphan” means a child who is wild and undisciplined.

Do not hand out gifts to individuals in the community, as that will cause conflict. Distribution of clothing and shoes only will be explained during orientation in Swaziland.

Please do not point at or to a person as it is not polite in Swazi culture.  

Giving and receiving is done with the right hand or both hands, never give or receive with the left hand.

To learn more about Swaziland, go to www.wikipedia.org and search for Swaziland.

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