World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Africa

Swaziland Travelling Guide
Swaziland Travelling Guide

General background: Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted 1968. Student and labor unrest during the 1990s have pressured the monarchy (one of the oldest on the continent) to grudgingly allow political reform and greater democracy.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than New Jersey.

Climate: Varies from tropical to near temperate.

Terrain: Mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains.

Population: 1,123,605

Ethnic groups: African 97%, European 3%

Religions: Zionist (a blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship) 40%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish and other 30%

Language: English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)

Government type: Monarchy; independent member of Commonwealth.

Capital: Mbabane; note - Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital.

Legal system: Based on South African Roman-Dutch law in statutory courts and Swazi traditional law and custom in traditional courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic overview: In this small landlocked economy, subsistence agriculture occupies more than 80% of the population. Manufacturing features a number of agro-processing factories. Mining has declined in importance in recent years: diamond mines have shut down because of the depletion of easily accessible reserves; high-grade iron ore deposits were depleted by 1978; and health concerns have cut world demand for asbestos. Exports of soft drink concentrate, sugar, and wood pulp are the main earners of hard currency. Surrounded by South Africa, except for a short border with Mozambique, Swaziland is heavily dependent on South Africa from which it receives nine-tenths of its imports and to which it sends more than two-thirds of its exports. Remittances from the Southern African Customs Union and Swazi workers in South African mines substantially supplement domestically earned income. The government is trying to improve the atmosphere for foreign investment. Overgrazing, soil depletion, drought, and sometimes floods persist as problems for the future. Prospects for 2002 are strengthened by the country's status as a beneficiary of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act initiative.

Communication/Telephone system: A somewhat modern but not an advanced system.

Places of interest: A progressive and hands-on attitude towards wildlife preservation has endowed Swaziland with a striking bunch of national parks and game reserves, and black and white rhino, elephant, and more recently, lion, have been reintroduced. You can trek, horse ride, raft on wild rivers or cycle through many of the parks and get surprisingly close to a huge variety of wildlife. The system of reserves also protects unique and rare plants and plant communities, such as the fynbos ('fine bush' in Dutch), more common in neighboring South Africa.

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