Flag of Swaziland

Swaziland

The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small, landlocked country in Southern Africa, situated on the eastern slope of the Drakensberg mountains and surrounded by South Africa to the north, south and west and bordered by Mozambique to the east. The country is named after the Swazi, a Bantu tribe.

The lush Ezulwini Valley is a miracle of nature and the centre of Swaziland's major tourist attractions, including the country's famous casino, the magnificent Royal Swazi golf course and the hot mineral spring known affectionately by locals and guests as the 'Cuddle Puddle'. Swaziland has a number of protected nature reserves and game parks which are open for visitors and strong efforts have recently been made to bring wildlife back to the country. Mlilwane, the oldest established game sanctuary in Swaziland, was once privately owned but was offered to the nation as a sanctuary for wild animals.

The industrial centre of Manzini lies east across the valley, a good half-hour's drive. On the way, visitors pass signposts to Swaziland's most famous waterfall, the Mantenga Falls. Food stalls in the local markets sell traditional Swazi meat stew and maize meal or stamped mealies and roasted corn on the cob (in season). There are some Western-style nightclubs in the main tourist centres of Mbabane and Ezulwini Valley. Throughout the year, a number of traditional festivals, dances and rituals are celebrated.

Largely as a result of having the world's highest rate of HIV infection, Swaziland has the lowest life expectancy on the planet: just 32.62 years. This is expected to drop to just 29 years by the year 2010.

Map of Swaziland