Interesting facts about Swaziland

swaziland flag

Swaziland sometimes called kaNgwane or Eswatini is a landlocked country in Southern Africa.

The official name of the country is the Kingdom of Eswatini.

It is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and by South Africa to its north, west and south.

Swaziland has two official languages: English and ‎Swazi.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Swaziland was estimated to be 1,317,007 people.

It is the 154th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 17,364 square kilometers (6,704 square miles).

Mbabane is the capital and largest city in Swaziland. The city is located on the Mbabane River and its tributary the Polinjane River in the Mdzimba Mountains. The average elevation of the city is 1243 meters (4,078 feet).


At no more than 200 kilometers (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometers (81 mi) east to west, Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa; despite this, its climate and topography are diverse.

Swaziland has a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains along the Mozambican border to savannas in the east and rain forest in the northwest.

Emlembe at 1,862 meters (6,109 feet) above sea level is the highest mountain in Swaziland.


Protected areas in Swaziland covers about 4% of the national territory. It is made up of 3 national parks plus other types of protected areas.

Hlane Royal National Park is Swaziland’s largest protected area and park. The park and its adjacent dispersal areas covers 30,000 hectares (74,100 acres) of Swazi bushveld. It is a flat lowland area, covered with ancient hardwood trees like knobthorn, leadwood and tambuti, with some grasslands and shallow pans. Hlane is home to the Transvaal lion, South African cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and white rhinoceros. Wildebeest, zebra and impala herds are attracted to the waterholes during the dry winter months, June to September.

hlane royal national park

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland’s oldest protected area. The sanctuary serves as a headquarters for the Big Game Parks including Mlilwane’s sister reserves Hlane Royal National Park and Mkhaya Game Reserve. The Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares (11,270 acres) in the Ezulwini Valley or “Valley of Heaven”. Formerly a farming and tin mining area, the area has been rehabilitated and is now Swaziland’s most frequently visited reserve.

mlilwane wildlife sanctuary

Malolotja National Park covers 18,000 hectares (44,000 acres) of mountain wilderness on Swaziland’s north western border with South Africa. Although Malolotja doesn’t contain as much large wildlife as other Swaziland protected areas, it boasts some of the world’s oldest mountains and almost 300 bird species, including a rare bald ibis colony close to the nearly 95-meter (312-foot) high Malolotja Falls.

malolotja national park

Swazi Cultural Village is a living museum of the ancient traditions of Swaziland and represents the classic style of life of the Swazi people during the 1850s before the arrival of settlers British. It comprises 16 huts, kraals and byres for cattle and goats, reed fences and other structures. The building material is strictly traditional: poles, grass, reeds, leather stripes, earth and dried cow dung. Like most people in Africa, Swazi’s favorite pastimes were singing and dancing.

swazi cultural village

Mbabane, Swaziland’s cool-climate capital, is home to the Swazi Market, a must-see for souvenir-starved tourists. It lies at the south end of Allister Miller Street, the town’s main shopping street. The stalls here brim with fresh produce, pottery, hand-made baskets, masks, traditional fabrics, soapstone carvings, and beaded jewelry. Particularly interesting is the traditional medicine center, with an impressive array of healing lotions and potions.

swazi market

The Ngwenya Mine is located on Bomvu Ridge, northwest of Mbabane and near the north-western border of Swaziland. This mine is considered to be the world’s oldest. The haematite ore deposit was used in the Middle Stone Age (abot 43,000 years ago) to extract red ochre, while in later times the deposit was mined for iron smelting and iron ore export.

ngwenya mine

Artifacts indicating human activity dating back to the early Stone Age, around 200,000 years ago, have been found in Swaziland.

Prehistoric rock art paintings date from c. 25,000 B.C. and continuing up to the 19th century can be found in various places around the country.

Evidence of agriculture and iron use dates from about the 4th century.

According to tradition, the people of the present Swazi nation migrated south before the 16th century to what is now Mozambique.

Swaziland derives its name from a later king named Mswati II (c. 1820–1868). KaNgwane, named for Ngwane III, is an alternative name for Swaziland the surname of whose royal house remains Nkhosi Dlamini. Nkhosi literally means “king”. Mswati II was the greatest of the fighting kings of Swaziland, and he greatly extended the area of the country to twice its current size.

In 1903, after British victory in the Anglo-Boer war, Swaziland became a British protectorate.

Swaziland became independent on 6 September 1968.


The country is an absolute monarchy, ruled by Ngwenyama (“King”) Mswati III since 1986. He is head of state and appoints the country’s prime ministers and a number of representatives of both chambers (Senate and House of Assembly) in the country’s parliament.

Swaziland is a developing country with a small economy. The economy of Swaziland is fairly diversified, with agriculture, forestry and mining accounting for about 13 percent of GDP, manufacturing (textiles and sugar-related processing) representing 37 percent of GDP and services – with government services in the lead – constituting 50 percent of GDP.

Swaziland is classified as a country with a lower-middle income.

The majority of Swaziland’s population is ethnically Swazi, mixed with a small number of Zulu and White Africans, mostly people of British and Afrikaner descent

Over 88 percent of the total population adheres to Christianity, making it the most common religion in Swaziland.

The cuisine of Swaziland is largely determined by the seasons and the geographical region. Staple foods in Swaziland include sorghum and maize, often served with goat meat, a very popular livestock there. The farming industry mainly depends on sugarcane, tobacco, rice, corn, peanuts, and the exportation of goat meat and beef. Many Swazis are subsistence farmers who supplement their diet with food bought from markets.

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