• Menu
  • Menu
Ezulwini Tal, Bild: mbrand85 / shutterstock

Eswatini – Charming Destination in Southern Africa


The small kingdom of Eswatini is located in southern Africa and is surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique . From north to south, the former Swaziland stretches over 180 kilometers. From west to east it is 120 kilometers. It is made up of the four regions of Hhohho with the capital Mbabane, Lubombo, Shiselweni and Manzini. The royal capital and seat of government is Lobamba.

Why is Swaziland now called Eswatini?

Better known as Eswatini is the South African kingdom under the name Swaziland. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of independence, the absolutist King Mswati III ordered the renaming of the state to the Kingdom of Eswatini. The name Swaziland was considered a remnant of the British colonial era, which ended in 1968.

Eswatini is the last absolutist monarchy on the African continent. Although the former Swaziland is one of the poorest countries in the world, the king lives in great luxury. The largest cities in the country are Manzini with over 110,000 inhabitants, and Mbabane, which is home to about 76,000 inhabitants.

Cultural aspects in the kingdom

African Rondavels
African rondavels, Image: Peter John Watson / shutterstock

Eswatini is shaped by deep-rooted traditions. So the king is highly respected in the country. The monarch has been provided by the Nkosi Dlamini tribe for over 200 years.

There is a strong social gap between the population in the cities and in the countryside. Especially in the countryside, hardly any English is spoken, because only a few Swazi can raise enough money to attend school.

There are numerous traditional customs and traditions in Swatini, such as festivals with dancing and singing. Visitors to Swaziland who can expect a friendly welcome are allowed to attend the traditional festivals. However, permission should always be asked before taking pictures. Sometimes a small tip must also be paid. Among the most famous festivals are the Incwala Festival and the Reed Dance.

Getting to Eswatini

Mbabane, Eswatini
View of Mbabane, Image: Sopotnicki / shutterstock

A visa is usually not required to enter the Kingdom of Eswatini from Europe . Arrival by plane is possible via King Mswati International Airport , which is located 45 kilometers from Manzini and 70 kilometers from Mbabane. The capital can be reached on paved roads. The flights will be from Johannesburg, South Africa. It is also possible to rent a car at the airport.

There are also bus connections to neighbouring countries. Travel by train is not possible in Eswatini because only goods are transported on the small rail network.

The sights in Eswatini

Those who do not shy away from the effort of the journey to the second smallest country in Africa will get to see fascinating natural sights. In western Swaziland, these include the Drakensberg Mountains and the Highveld highlands. The highest mountain there is the Emlembe, which reaches 1862 meters above sea level. In the eastern part of the country, the Lubombo Mountains are impressive. The country’s climate is characterized by subtropical influences and high humidity. Temperatures reach 26 degrees Celsius between November and March and 13 degrees Celsius from April to October.

Admire the black rhinos

The fascinating African savannah stretches over larger areas of Eswatini with gnarled trees and half-tall grasses. Among other things, the last wild black rhinos can be admired there. Other interesting animal species that live there are lions, cheetahs, zebras, antelopes, giraffes and elephants.

Piggs Peak

A popular destination for holidaymakers in Eswatini is the town of Piggs Peak. There, history buffs in particular will get their money’s worth. The city owes its name to the gold prospector William Pigg. Prospecting for gold took place at Piggs Peak until 1945. Visitors can visit the mines that are located outside the city. Another attraction is the glass factory near Piggs Peak, where the famous Ngwenya glass is produced. Masterpieces are made under the simplest conditions.

From Piggs Peak you can also reach the imposing Maguga Dam, which reaches a height of 115 meters. It dams the Komati River.

The Ezulwini Valley

The green Ezulwini Valley is also worth a visit. A hot spring invites you to linger. The valley is an ideal starting point for further exploration tours. The Mantenga Waterfalls and the Mlilwane Game Reserve are of particular beauty. Hippos, zebras, giraffes and crocodiles cavort there.

Admire cultural sights

Hlane Royal National Park, Swaziland
Rhino in Hlane Royal National Park, Image: Peter John Watson / shutterstock

Friends of cultural sights are recommended to visit the Swaziland Cultural Village and the Swaziland National Museum in Lobamba. If you like to go to the city, you can visit the Mantenga Arts and Crafts Centre in Manzini.

Also worth a look are the caves on the Mkondo River, which runs its course through numerous gorges and waterfalls. In the caves, interesting drawings from ancient times can be admired, which tell about the everyday life of people in times gone by.

Visit to Mbabane

If you like shopping, you can do so in the capital Mbabane. There are numerous shopping centers available there. There are also hotels, wellness facilities and gyms.

Culinary specialties in Eswatini

The staple food in Eswatini is the mealie, also known as pap. This is a porridge made from corn flour. Most locals mostly eat pap because they are very poor. It is often served with cabbage or beans. One of the country’s specialties is “Chicken Dust”. It is offered by almost every street vendor and consists of grilled chicken with salad. It is considered very tasty.

However, Western food is often available in supermarkets. Wine and beer are also purchased from South Africa. Lager beers such as Black Label or Castle Lager are particularly popular.