Swaziland Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Swaziland > Map Economy History

Facts About Swaziland

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.
Government type: monarchy; independent member of Commonwealth
Capital: Mbabane; note - Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital
Currency: 1 lilangeni (SZL) = 100 cents

Geography of Swaziland

Location: Southern Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 26 30 S, 31 30 E
Area:
total: 17,363 sq km
land: 17,203 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 535 km
border countries: Mozambique 105 km, South Africa 430 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: varies from tropical to near temperate
Terrain: mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Great Usutu River 21 m
highest point: Emlembe 1,862 m
Natural resources: asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc
Land use:
arable land: 11%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 62%
forests and woodland: 7%
other: 20% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 670 sq km (1993 est.)
Environment - current issues: limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Law of the Sea
Geography - note: landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa

People of Swaziland

The majority of the population is ethnic Swazi, mixed with a small number of Zulus and non-Africans. Traditionally Swazis have been subsistence farmers and herders, but most now work in the growing urban formal economy and in government. Some Swazis work in the mines in South Africa. Christianity in Swaziland is sometimes mixed with traditional beliefs and practices. Most Swazis ascribe a special spiritual role to the monarch.

The country's official languages are Siswati (a Nguni language related to Zulu) and English. Government and commercial business is conducted mainly in English.

Population: 1,173,900 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (male 245,626; female 247,825)
15-64 years: 52% (male 270,308; female 291,884)
65 years and over: 2% (male 11,357; female 16,289) 
Population growth rate: 2.02% 
Birth rate: 40.64 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 20.4 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 108.95 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 40.44 years
male: 39.54 years
female: 41.37 years 
Total fertility rate: 5.87 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Swazi(s)
adjective: Swazi
Ethnic groups: African 97%, European 3%
Religions: Christian 60%, indigenous beliefs 40%
Languages: English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.7%
male: 78%
female: 75.6% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Swaziland > Map Economy History