Coat of Arms
Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini
»Unitary parliamentary absolute monarchy
»17,364 km2 (157th)
» Per capita -$6,367
» Per capita -$3,457
»South African rand
Swazi lilangeni (SZL)
eSwatini, officially the Kingdom of eSwatini and sometimes called kaNgwane or Swaziland, is a sovereign state in Southern Africa surrounded – with the exception of Mozambique to its east – by South Africa. It and its ethnic people take their names from Mswati II, the 19th-century king under whose rule Swazi territory was expanded and unified.
eSwatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa. It is no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west. Regardless, the country has a very diverse topography of varying climate with a cool and mountainous highveld and a hot and dry lowveld. The population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is siSwati. They established their kingdom in the mid 18th century under the leadership of Ngwane III; the present boundaries were drawn up in 1881. After the Anglo-Boer War, Swaziland was a British protectorate from 1903 until 1967, regaining independence on 6 September 1968
The country is the last absolute monarchy in Africa. It is currently ruled by King (Ngwenyama) Mswati III. The king is head of state and appoints the prime minister and a number of representatives of both chambers of parliament. Elections are held every five years to determine the majority of the house of assembly. The current constitution was adopted in 2005. eSwatini is a member of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, and the Commonwealth of Nations.
Tourism in eSwatini is a successful industry. Most of the tourists who visit eSwatini arrive by road from South Africa. eSwatini tourism industry developed during the apartheid era in South Africa and this shaped many of its distinctive attractions. Since the end of apartheid, eSwatini has emphasized its traditional culture as a tourist attraction.
One of the major travel and tourism highlights in 2012 that took place in eSwatini was the nation’s triumphant hosting of the ‘East3Route’ excursion, which later moved to Mozambique and finally to KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. First launched in late 2011, this cross-border tourism initiative has been helping to encourage inter-regional trade and tourism among these three countries by providing both tourists and investors the opportunity to explore offerings within this unique triple setting. eSwatini is also benefiting from this three-way initiative due to its geographical location, which is equidistant from South Africa and Mozambique.
$2.049 billion f.o.b. (2011 est.)
- soft drink concentrates,
- wood pulp,
- cotton yarn,
- canned fruit
Main export partners
- South Africa 59.7%,
- EU 8.8%, US 8.8%,
- Mozambique 6.2% (2004)
In short: big things come in small packages. The intriguing kingdom of eSwatini is diminutive but boasts a huge checklist for any visitor. Rewarding wildlife watching? Tick. Adrenaline-boosting activities such as rafting and mountain biking? Tick. Lively and colourful local culture, with celebrations and ceremonies still common practice? Tick. Plus there’s superb walking trails, stunning mountain and flatland scenery, and excellent, high-quality handicrafts.
Presiding over this is King Mswati III, the last remaining absolute monarch in Africa, who, despite his critics, is the source of great national pride. eSwatini is remarkably relaxed, with friendly people and a lack of racial animosities.
The excellent road system makes eSwatini a pleasure to navigate. Accommodation ranges from hostels to family-friendly hotels, wilderness lodges and upmarket retreats. Many travelers make a flying visit here on their way to Kruger National Park but it’s worth staying at least a week.
- The national parks and reserves are the most important sights in Swaziland and traditional culture and customs are still alive – just like in most of Africa.