One of the smallest countries in Africa, but it is now starting to boom because of the full support of the government in promoting the tourism in Swaziland. The asset of the place is not just the reserve spots and parks, but it is actually the people who are known to be the friendliest and accommodating locals on this side of South Africa. Strolling around the local streets might not be too friendly because of lack of guides and road signage. However, you could just get a cab to send you to Hlane Royal National Park, because this place would complete your journey by diving into the wilderness!
Important and Interesting Facts about Swaziland
- It’s a sovereign state in Southern Africa surrounded – with the exception of Mozambique to its east – by South Africa.
- Swaziland 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.
- The country is the last absolute monarchy in Africa. It is currently ruled by King (Ngwenyama) Mswati III.
- Sugar, soft drink concentrates, citrus products and wood pulp are the major exports, 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.
- Along the eastern border with Mozambique is the Lubombo, a mountain ridge, at an altitude of around 600 metres. The mountains are broken by the canyons of three rivers, the Ngwavuma, the Usutu and the Mbuluzi River. This is cattle ranching country.
- Even though it is a small nation, it is well off in terms of water resources as compared to other African nations.
- Hlane Royal National Park is the largest in Swaziland and the best park if you want to see the big five that is the leopard, lion, cheetah, elephant, and lots of other animals. You can have a unique experience by viewing the wildlife by foot also wildlife viewing by vehicle is provided.The national park also provides catered and self catering accommodation. Also there are other things to do while in the park such as bird watching, wildlife viewing, camping, game viewing, guided walking safaris, guided mountain biking trails and cultural tours.
- Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary Swaziland’s wildlife pioneer conservation area. At Ezulwini in between the Capital Town of Swaziland Mbabane and Manzini as the biggest city in Swaziland there lies a beautiful quiet sanctuary-Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.Visitors can relax on our peaceful rest camps within the Hippo Haunt Restaurant and Bar with picnic areas and a large swimming pool.
- Mkhaya Game Reserve a very small area, but definitely worth visiting. Mkhaya game reserve is located in eastern part of Swaziland. This is the place to see black and white Rhinos. Spending a night in this reserve is worth it, they have luxurious tent camps. There is also game viewing on open land rovers.
- Ezulwini (“Place of the Sky”), to the south of Mbabane, is a tourist center with a large number of hotels. There are also tennis courts, riding arenas and a thermal spring, as well as numerous shops selling craft products.
- The National Museum set in beautiful gardens, has interesting archaeological and historical exhibits on the culture and history of Swaziland, including examples of traditional dress with explanations of their significance and function. Outside the Museum is a Swazi kraal.
Cool and Funny Facts about Swaziland
- Six times as many people use mobile phones compared to home phones in Swaziland.
- Swaziland has the highest prevalence of AIDS in the world.
- Swaziland has never had a professional surfer, as it is landlocked
- Everything is slow in Swaziland – internet, service, waiting for food etc 😛
- Everything has so many additives! The jam is bright red, the yoghurts are bright green and bright yellow and they have a drink called Cabana which is basically Sunny D – yeah, that was banned in the UK 😉
- The custard creams here are amazing! You can get so many different flavours on the inside; mango, strawberry, orange, lemon, peach… basically anything. NOM.
- There are literally no road rules. You get where you want to by driving however you want to. Kombi’s (public transport minibuses) are the fastest thing on the road, and they have the most passengers. Also, don’t trust the power of zebra crossings. They mean nothing.
- Cows and goats really like being on the road, you gotta slow down or you’ll be eating beef/goat for a year!
- ‘Excuse me’ doesn’t really come into it that much, if you want to get something or move somewhere just push yourself through… If you don’t you’re getting nowhere! SERIOUSLY there’s not even a word in SiSwati for ‘excuse me’.
- The Swazi’s love TOYOTA. If you see a truck that isn’t a TOYOTA you’ve done extremely well. It’s like being in Cornwall and spotting VW camper vans – they’re everywhere.
- Apparently the mesh bags that you get oranges in are really good to use when washing up. Cheaper than buying a cloth I guess!
- Socks and sandals are a common fashion choice
Historical and Cultural Facts about Swaziland
- According to tradition, the people of the present Swazi nation migrated south before the 16th century to what is now Mozambique. Following a series of conflicts with people living in the area of modern Maputo, the Swazis settled in northern Zululand in about 1750. Unable to match the growing Zulu strength, the Swazis moved gradually northward in the 1800s and established themselves in the area of modern or present Swaziland.
- Swazis consolidated their hold under several able leaders. The most important was Mswati II, from whom the Swazis derive their name. Under his leadership in the 1840s, the Swazis expanded their territory to the northwest and stabilized the southern frontier with the Zulus
- Contact with the British came early in Mswati’s reign, when he asked British authorities in South Africa for assistance against Zulu raids into Swaziland. It also was during Mswati’s reign that the first whites settled in the country. Following Mswati’s death, the Swazis reached agreements with British and South African authorities over a range of issues, including independence, claims on resources by Europeans, administrative authority, and security. South Africans administered the Swazi interests from 1894 to 1902. In 1902 the British assumed control.
- In 1921, after more than 20 years of rule by Queen Regent Lobatsibeni, Sobhuza II became Ngwenyama (lion) or head of the Swazi nation. The same year, Swaziland established its first legislative body – an advisory council of elected European representatives mandated to advise the British high commissioner on non-Swazi affairs. In 1944, the high commissioner conceded that the council had no official status and recognized the paramount chief, or king, as the native authority for the territory to issue legally enforceable orders to the Swazis.
- In 1966 Britain agreed to discuss a new constitution. A constitutional committee agreed on a constitutional monarchy for Swaziland, with self-government to follow parliamentary elections in 1967. Swaziland became independent on 6 September 1968.
- The traditional dress for man mainly includes “emahiya” the lion cloth and women usually wear a lion apron and a cloak together with a skin skirt.
- The Incwala is an impressive religious festival celebrated in December and January, lasting three weeks. It is a kind of fertility ceremony designed to prepare for the new year and as a symbolic renewal of the monarchy.
- Maize and millet were the main staples. Dairy products, especially soured milk, were reserved for children. Cattle were slaughtered mainly for ritual purposes, and meat was in short supply. Leafy vegetables, roots, and fruits completed the traditional diet.
- Respect is due to one’s elders. Traditionally, greeting all persons, including strangers, was a normal event; this is no longer the case in towns.
- Christianity is the predominant religion. In addition to the traditional Western forms, there are numerous syncretist churches, and indigenous beliefs about the supernatural, particularly regarding ancestors, are still important. Many people consult tinyanga (traditional healers), who employ natural medicine and ritual in their cures. There is a widespread belief in witchcraft and sorcery. ” Muti (medicine) murders” in which persons are killed so that their body parts can be used for medicine are now uncommon.
- Swazi believe that the spirit of a person has a distinct existence. One’s social place is demonstrated through the elaborateness of funeral rituals. A head of household is buried at the sibaya ; his widow shaves her head and undertakes a long period of mourning.