Welcome to eSwatini
Big things come in small packages
Formerly known as Swaziland, the kingdom of eSwatini got its new name (which means “Land of the Swazis”) in 2018. Landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique, this tiny country is the second-smallest country in continental Africa (only Gambia is smaller). But it more than makes up for its lack of size with incredible offerings.
This is a land of stunning scenery filled with mountains and valleys, forests and verdant plains. Celebrated wildlife reserves are home to more than 500 species of birds and a huge diversity of animals, including the Big Five. And because the parks are small, the game is never hard to find.
The country’s breathtaking mountain scenery sets the stage for a number of adventure activities, from white-water rafting, caving and abseiling, to mountain biking and zip-lining above ancient forests. The hiking in eSwatini is exceptional, and a horseriding safari should not be missed.
Culture and heritage are deeply engrained in all aspects of Swazi life – this, after all, is one of the few remaining monarchies in Africa. The country’s rich culture is showcased in annual festivals and ceremonies that will be a highlight of your trip if you happen to catch one. They’re lively and colourful events, usually involving elaborate costumes and traditional dancing to a soundtrack of throbbing drumbeats.
The Swazi people are incredibly friendly and laid-back, and because this hidden gem is not swamped by tourism (yet!), it’s ideal for travellers wanting an authentic, safe and relaxed African holiday experience that they don’t have to share with hordes of other tourists. It’s easily incorporated into a southern African travel itinerary, but don’t just make a flying visit here on your way to a larger, more famous destination in South Africa or Mozambique – stay and do this incredible country justice. It offers everything that’s best about Africa in one small but perfectly formed and oh-so beautiful country.
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eSwatini at a glance
Eswatini is a land-locked country in Southern Africa, bordered by Mozambique to the east but almost completely surrounded by South Africa.
The tiny kingdom is not only one of the world’s few remaining monarchies, it’s also the smallest country in the Southern Hemisphere, with a total area of just 17,364 square kilometres.
It has two capital cities: Mbabane is the executive capital and largest city, while Lobamba is the traditional, spiritual and legislative capital. Just over one million people live in this country and the official languages are Swazi (also known as Swati or siSwati) and English.
Choosing when to visit eSwatini comes down to personal preferences. eSwatini’s seasons are the same as Australia, so December is mid-summer and July is mid-winter.
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