ESWATINI (SWAZILAND)

Date of establishment: September 6, 1968

Brief history:

  • Pre-colonial period: The territory of present-day Swaziland was inhabited by Bantu ethnic groups, the Nguni tribes, and was part of a diverse and traditional African community.
  • Period of colonization: During the 19th century, British and German colonizers came to the territory of present-day Eswatini, during the colonial period, which heralded political and economic changes in the region.
  • 1881: Britain recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Swaziland, allowing it to retain some autonomy.
  • 1906: The country became a British protectorate.
  • 1963: King Sobhuza II expressed a desire for Swaziland to gain independence. This resulted in negotiations between the British authorities and the kingdom.
  • 6 September 1968: Swaziland declared independence from the British protectorate and became a sovereign state under the name Kingdom of Swaziland.
  • 1986: King Sobhuza II died and was succeeded by King Mswati III.
  • 2018: The country officially changed its name to the Kingdom of Eswatini.

 

International abbreviation: SZ

 

Currency: Swazi Lilangeni (SZL)

The Swazi lilangeni is divided into smaller units called cents (hundredths of lilangeni). The exchange rate between the Lilangeni and the South African Rand (ZAR) is fixed and both currencies are commonly accepted, due to economic integration and close relations between the two countries.

 

Internet domain: .sz

 

Dialing code: +268

 

Time zone: GMT +2

 

Geography:

Eswatini is located in southern Africa and is completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa, with the exception of a small territorial outcrop in the northwest that borders Mozambique. It is a landlocked state.

The country has a hilly relief with several mountain ranges and peaks. It has several rivers, the most prominent of which are the Great Usutu (also known as Maputo) and the Ngwavuma.

Thanks to the hilly relief and adequate water supply, some parts of Eswatini are suitable for agriculture.

 

Highest peak: Emlembe 1 862 m (6 109 feet) above sea level.

Mount Emlembe is located in hilly terrain and is part of the Drakensberg mountain range that stretches across South Africa to Lesotho.

 

Climate:

Summer in Eswatini is a time of warm and humid weather. Average temperatures range from 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F) and can reach even higher values. This period is also known as the rainy season when the most rainfall occurs. The winter months are drier and colder. Average temperatures drop to 15°C (59°F) to 20°C (68°F) and can be even lower at night.

The greatest precipitation falls during the summer, especially from November to February. Rainfall is often intense and can cause flooding.

 

Fauna and flora:

Eswatini is home to African elephants. These majestic creatures can be observed in some nature reserves. Protecting rhinos is one of the main tasks of the country. The country has a population of white rhinos that are threatened with extinction. The kudu is a large species of antelope and is common. Leopards inhabit forested areas.

The country has a rich avifauna with many species of birds including terns, eagles, parrots, and hummingbirds.

There is rainforest in the Lebombo Mountains on the border with South Africa. Mountain meadows cover the Drakensberg and Malolotja mountain ranges.

 

Agriculture:

Agriculture in Eswatini includes growing various crops and raising livestock. Major crops include sugarcane, corn, cotton, tobacco, citrus fruits, and pumpkins.

Sugar cane is one of the main crops and the country is an important world producer of sugar. Agriculture is dependent on an adequate water supply. There are a number of dams and irrigation projects that help farmers make better use of water for agricultural production.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

Wood is one of the main raw materials. The forest industry includes logging for construction, furniture, and paper production.

Charcoal production is also common. Eswatini has reserves of precious stones, including diamonds. However, the mining of precious stones is limited, and many deposits are controlled by the state. Gold is mined on a smaller scale in the country.

 

Industry:

The food industry is one of the most important industries, thanks to the processing of sugar cane.

The woodworking industry includes the production of furniture, building materials, and paper, providing jobs and contributing to the country’s economy. Some minerals are also mined, including dolomite, which is used to produce limestone and cement. Construction is also a key industry, mainly due to infrastructure development and construction projects.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: tourism

 

Natural and historical attractions: Hlane National Park, Shewula and Mbuluzi reserves, Sibebe, and Mantenga Falls

Eswatini is known for its beautiful nature and various natural scenery. The country offers mountainous landscapes, rainforests, savannahs, rivers, and lakes. These natural treasures attract tourists seeking wilderness experiences. It has several nature reserves and national parks such as Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Malolotja Nature Reserve.

Thanks to its hilly terrain, it offers a variety of outdoor activities such as mountain hiking, mountain biking, rafting, and climbing Mount Emlembe. Tourists can experience rich culture and traditional events , including dance festivals, traditional village markets and royal ceremonies. The King and Queen of the Swazi people are important symbols of the country.

 

 

Form of government: absolute monarchy

The holder of executive power and sovereign of Eswatini is the king, who wields significant political power. The king is the traditional and cultural leader of the country and has the final say in matters related to traditions and culture. The king appoints the prime minister, who is the head of government and responsible for running the country.

Parliament, consists of two chambers. The lower house, known as the House of Assembly, is made up of elected representatives from different regions of the country. The upper house, known as the Senate, has most members appointed by the king.

Despite the existence of parliament, the king has significant political power, and his decisions influence the direction of the country.

 

Capital city: Mbabane

Mbabane lies in Hhohho, which is one of the four main administrative regions of Swaziland.

The city was officially established in 1887 as the capital of Swaziland (now Eswatini) after it was chosen as the new site for the royal palace and central government seat.

 

Area: 17 364 km2 (6 704 square miles)

 

Population: 1 250 000 (2022)

The main ethnic group is the Swazi, who make up the majority of the population. There are also minorities, including Zulu, Tsonga, and others.

The official language is Swazi, which is spoken by the majority of the population. English is also widely used mainly in government institutions and education.

The majority of the population practices Christianity. There are also traditional African religions and belief in ancestors. Swaziland has a low rate of primary education and faces several health challenges, including HIV/AIDS, which affect the country’s living conditions and demographics.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

 

National parks: 1

 

1. Hlane Royal National Park