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Swaziland Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Swaziland

  • The Kingdom of Swaziland is a landlocked country in Southern Africa
  • Swaziland is bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique
  • Swaziland measures no more than 200 km north to south and 130 km east to west
  • Rainfall in Swaziland occurs mainly in the summer and may reach 2 m in the west
  • The population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is siSwati, though English is spoken as a second language
  • The Swazi people descend from the southern Bantu who migrated from Central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries
  • The head of state in Swaziland is the king, who appoints the prime minister and a small number of representatives for both chambers of parliament
  • Swaziland's economy is dominated by the service industry, manufacturing and agriculture
  • Swaziland's main trading partner is South Africa and its currency is pegged to the South African Rand

Introducing Swaziland

The Kingdom of Swaziland is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Swaziland is bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. This Southern African country , as well as its people, are named after the 19th century king Mswati II. Swaziland is a small country measuring no more than 200 km north to south and 130 km east to west. The western half of Swaziland is mountainous, descending to a lowveld region to the east. The eastern border of Swaziland with Mozambique and South Africa is dominated by the escarpment of the Lebombo Mountains. The climate is temperate in the west, but may reach 40 degrees in summer in the lowveld. Rainfall occurs mainly in the summer and may reach 2 m in the west.

The region which Swaziland now covers has been continuously inhabited since prehistory. Today, the population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is siSwati, though English is spoken as a second language. The Swazi people descend from the southern Bantu who migrated from Central Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Anglo Boer war saw Britain make Swaziland a protectorate under its direct control. Swaziland gained independence in 1968.  It is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, and the Commonwealth of Nations. The head of state in Swaziland is the king, who appoints the prime minister and a small number of representatives for both chambers of parliament. Elections are held every five years to determine the majority of the representatives. A new constitution was adopted in 2005.

Swaziland's economy is dominated by the service industry, manufacturing and agriculture. Some 75% of the population are employed in farming, and about 60% of the population in Swaziland live on less than the equivalent of US$1.25 per day.  Swaziland's main trading partner is South Africa, and its currency is pegged to the South African rand.

Geography and Climate

Situated in Southern Africa, the Kingdom of Swaziland is landlocked in the east by Mozambique and on the other borders by South Africa. Swaziland has a subtropical climate with summer temperature averaging 15 degrees to 25 degrees Centigrade and 15 degrees to 19 degrees in winter. The rainfall at higher altitudes varies from 1000 to 1600mm while in the lower areas it is between 500 and 600mm. The country's highest point is Emlembe at 1862m and the lowest at the Usuthu River at 21m. Swaziland is home to a wide range of habitats and great variations in flora and fauna.

Brief history of Swaziland

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, an African people of Nguni descent migrated southward from Central Africa and eventually, during the mid-eighteenth century, a group of them settled in the area which is now called Swaziland in Southern Africa. These people, the Nkosi Dlamini, became known as the Swazis. Nkosi means 'king' and Dlamini is the surname of the royal family. Swaziland derives its actual name from a later king, Mswati but another name, Ngwane, is an alternative word for Swaziland.

Population of Swaziland

The official figure of population in Swaziland is approximately 1.1 million; about 54 people per square kilometre.

Languages spoken in Swaziland

Siswati and English are the official languages in Swaziland although English is used extensively in government and business. The majority of the population uses Siswati every day.

Culture

Visitors to Swaziland are likely to see many Swazis dressed in colourful costumes featuring toga-like garments - the emahiya. The women sport the traditional 'beehive' hairstyles.

Swaziland's economy

Sugar, soft drink concentrates, citrus products and wood pulp are the major export items of Swaziland, mainly to South Africa from which the Kingdom of Swaziland receives almost (90 percent) of its imports. Tourism is one of the Kingdom of Swaziland's biggest industries.

Government in Swaziland

King Mswati III is the sovereign head of the Kingdom of Swaziland. The Prime Minister and Cabinet through a Parliament of elected members, administer the affairs of the country.

Game Viewing in Swaziland: national parks and sanctuaries

Swaziland 's reserves provide the visitor with great Big Five game viewing.

Hlane Royal National Park

In the vast bushveld expanse of Eastern Swaziland lies Swaziland's largest protected area: the Hlane Royal National Park. This game reserve is home to four of the big five; the lion, elephant, rhino and leopard. Other animals which can be found here include the hippo, giraffe, crocodile, blue wildebeest and many more.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Mlilwane, Swaziland's pioneer conservation area is a beautiful secluded sanctuary situated in Swaziland's "valley of heaven", the Ezulwini valley. The sanctuary's grasslands stretch up onto the striking nyonyane mountain with its granite peak known as the "rock of execution" where the ancient san once lived.

Mkhaya Game Reserve

In the Southeastern part of Swaziland, lies an unspoilt wilderness, haven to endangered species who roam the magnificent africa bush. Unique intimate encounters with Mkhaya's wildlife are almost guaranteed and the tranquil riverine forest at stone camp provides a comfortable real bush experience.

Mbuluzi Game Reserve

Mbuluzi is situated in the foothills of the Lubombo mountains and is part of 60,000 ha conservancy that includes Mlawula Nature Reserve and Hlane Royal National Park. Close to Mozambique and South Africa, it is easily accessible by car. For exploring the reserve, vehicles with a high clearance are recommended due to the nature of the terrain. Open backed 4x4 vehicles are available for hire by guests. This beautiful reserve, the habitat of over 300 species of birds, including some rare and uncommon species, and much varied game, is a unique wilderness area. The varied plant life and magnificent indigenous trees make it a fascinating place to visit.

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