|Kingdom of Swaziland
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The Kingdom of Swaziland is located in the south of
Africa and is the second smallest country on the
continent with an area of 17,363 km² after Gambia. The
country borders South Africa in the south, west and
north, and Mozambique in the east .
The country descends in stages from the west
(foothills of the Drakensberg as part of the Great
Fringe of South Africa) to the east (lowlands of
Mozambique). Three stripes of landscape running from
north to south can be distinguished: The mountainous
region in the west (Highveld, 1,000 m and higher) is
severely divided by rivers. Here is the highest point in
Swaziland, the Emlembe at 1,862 m. To the east follows
the so-called Middleveld, which is at an altitude of 500
to 1,000 m. The flat Lowveld borders in the east (200 to
400 m height). In the northeast, Swaziland has a share
in the Lebombo Mountains, a plateau of volcanic origin
up to 800 m high.
The country's four largest rivers are the Komati,
Usutu, Mbuluzi and Ngwavuma, which flow in a west-east
direction and flow into the Indian Ocean in Mozambique .
The subtropical climate prevailing in Swaziland is
tempered by the higher altitudes. In the summer month of
January, the average temperatures in the highveld are
around 18 กใ C and in the lowveld around 26 กใ C. In
winter (July) the average values are 12 กใ C in the
west and around 16 กใ C in the east. Most of the
precipitation falls in the summer months (October to
April). An average of 1,000 to 2,000 mm is measured in
the high field, and an average of 500 mm in the low
field. The annual rainfall in the Lebombo Mountains is
between 750 and 1,000 mm.
Flora and fauna
The vegetation of the Highveld is characterized by
grass fields and forest stands, which are mostly due to
large-scale reforestation campaigns with pine and
eucalyptus. With a size of over 40,000 hectares, the
Usutu forest is the largest contiguous forest area that
was created in Africa by afforestation. The original
savannah area of the Middleveld has largely given way
to cultural and pastureland. In the Lowveld there used
to be malaria-contaminated swamp areas next to the
prevailing dry savannah, which have now been drained and
used as agricultural land.
The wildlife in Swaziland is rich in species.
Antelopes, zebras, giraffes, monkeys, jackals and lions
live here. The largest of the existing protected areas
is the Mlilwane Game Reserve, which is located in the
west of the country. Other protected areas are Hlane in
the northeast and Malolotsha in the north of Swaziland.
Around 1.17 million people live in the Kingdom of
Swaziland, 84% of whom belong to the Swazi people. Zulu
(10%), smaller groups of Tsonga and other Bantu-speaking
peoples also live here. Around 8,000 whites live in the
state. According to COUNTRYAAH, 27% of the population live in cities, the capital
Mbabane has about 70,000 residents. The Middleveld is
the most densely populated area, the least people live
in the Lowveld.
English and Siswati are official languages (the
government language is English), and other Bantu
languages are also spoken. Almost three quarters of
the population are followers of Christian-oriented
religions, but they are often mixed with traditional
religious practices. The population grows only 0.6%
every year because a third of the population is infected
with the HI virus. Accordingly, the average life
expectancy has dropped sharply in recent years and is
now only 32 years.
School attendance is not compulsory, but the
illiteracy rate is comparatively low at 18%. There is a
university in Kwaluseni.
In Swaziland there is an absolute monarchy according
to the 2005 constitution. The king (Mswati III since
1986) is head of state and owner of executive and
legislative power. He appoints the Prime Minister
(Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini since October 2008) and the
other members of the government.
The parliament (Libandla), which acts as an advisory
body, consists of two chambers. The National Assembly
consists of 55 elected and ten members appointed by the
monarch, the Senate of ten elected and 20 appointed by
the monarch. Political parties are prohibited. The term
of office for both chambers is five years.
Swaziland is divided into four districts.
The kingdom is relatively wealthy compared to other
African countries. However, only a few Swazi participate
in this prosperity: almost two thirds of the population
live below the poverty line. Unemployment is also high;
it affects over a third of the population.
A third of Swaziland's population is employed in
agriculture, and three quarters of the country's total
area can be used for this. The most important area is
livestock farming (cattle). Large farms (mostly run by
whites or private companies) mainly cultivate sugar
cane, citrus, pineapple and cotton for the domestic
market and for export. Beans, corn, millet and sweet
potatoes are grown in subsistence farming. Since the
drought in the early 1990s, Swaziland has been dependent
on food imports; numerous people are starving.
The country's industry mainly processes agricultural
products. Oil is imported to meet the energy
requirements, coal is available in the country, and part
of the energy requirements is also met by hydropower. In
addition to coal, asbestos and diamonds are among the
country's mining products.
Tourism is an important source of foreign currency,
most of the visitors come from South Africa.
South Africa is by far the most important trading
partner for exports (beverage concentrates, wood and
wood products, sugar, refrigerators) and imports
(machines, fuels, chemical products).
Around 1,000 km of the total of almost 3,600 km of
roads are paved. The rail network comprises around 300
km and connects the inland to ports in Mozambique
(Maputo) and South Africa (Durban). It is used
exclusively for freight transport. There is an
international airport between Manzini and Mbabane, the
King Mswati III International Airport.
The currency is the Lilangeni (= 100 cents).