Eswatini Facts

Here are some interesting Eswatini facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

Eswatini Facts for Kids

  • Population: 2.1 million people (2021)
  • Capital: Mbabane with 68,000 inhabitants
  • Name: Kingdom of Eswatini. Until 2018 referred to as Swaziland 
  • King: King Mswati III rules the country since 1986
  • Motto: 'We are the Fortress'
Eswatini flag - Swaziland flag
  • Government: Absolute monarchy
  • Language: siSwati and English
  • Religion: mainly Christian 
  • Life expectancy: 59 years
  • Literacy: 88% of the people over 15 years can read and write
  • Currency: 1 Swazi lilangeni = 100 cents
  • National Day: 6 September (Independence Day)
  • National Symbols: lion (representing the King) and the elephant (representing the Queen Mother)
  • National Anthem: 'O Lord is our God, Eswatini' is sung in Siswati. 
  • History: Eswatini, then called Swaziland, gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1968. 

Eswatini Geography

Eswatini is the second smallest country in continental Africa. Only The Gambia and some African islands are smaller. 

Eswatini is landlocked between two countries: Mozambique and South Africa which surrounds the country to north, west and south. The country has two capital cities, Lobamba and Mbabane, but the official capital city is Mbabane. Both cities are located in the country's northwest.

Map of EswatiniEswatini map

Eswatini is slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey/USA or slightly smaller than Kuwait.

There is an international airport in the capital city Mbabane. A flight to O.R. Tambo international airport in Johannesburg in South Africa takes about 50 minutes from Mbabane. 

Eswatini Facts | Eswatini Geography

Eswatini lies on a high plateau and has higher mountains and hills in 'high veld' in the northwest as well as rolling hills.

The Ezulwini Valley near Mbabane is referred to as the "Royal Valley" as there is the royal palace and the seat of parliament in Lobamba. Ezulwini means 'Place of Heaven'. In fact, Lobamba is the second capital as Mbabane is only the seat of the administration of the country.

Eswatini Ezulwini ValleyEzulwini Valley

To the eastern border, there are the rugged and volcanic Lebombo mountains at the border to Mozambique. The eastern regions, however, are mainly covered by dry bush veld.

Bushveld in Eswatini
  • The country has mostly a tropical climate, but the higher areas are more temperate, and the eastern border is drier and hotter.
  • Eswatini's highest point is Emlembe with 1,862 m/ 6,109 ft. The mountain is part of the Drakensberg Range and located at the border to South Africa.

Eswatini Attractions and Landmarks

Ngwenya mine in EswatiniNgwenya mine in Eswatini
  • The oldest mine in the world is located in Eswatini. The Ngwenya mine was already started by bushmen ore than 43,000 years ago. The bushmen looked and excavated pieces of iron ore they used then for extracting colour to smear people and objects. The black pigments were used for warding of evil and the red ochre was used to signify purity. In siSwati, ngwenya means crocodile.
Bushmen paintings in EswatiniBushmen paintings in Eswatini

Sibebe Rock is the largest granite dome in the world. The massive volcanic rock is over 3 billion years old and is over 800 m/ 3,000 ft high. You can climb on it to admire the panoramic views.

The Ezulwini Craft Market is the largest market in the country with over 1,200 stalls where you can find anything. From textiles and wooden carvings to traditional garments and beadwork.

Eswatini Facts | emaSwati People 

The emaSwati, also often referred to as Swazi people, live mainly in rural areas in the valleys and plains. Manzini is the kingdom's busiest city.

Unemployment is high in Eswatini and thus poverty is a major challenge. More than half pf the population live below the poverty line.

Emaswati women carrying firewoodCarrying fire wood home

Eswatini has the fifth highest youth unemployment rate in the world. 47% of the young people between 15 and 24 years are unemployed. Many emaSwati emigrated as the industry and mining sector downsized in the last ten years. 

Most emaSwati are Christians (90%) with the majority of them being Zionists which is a mix of indigenous worship of ancestors and Christian belief.

The Reed Dance is a major event in the Swati culture. Then young girls and women travel from all over the country to attend the annual ceremony in front of the King. Reed more here.

Reed Dance - image von Vera NewSibReed Dance - image von Vera NewSib

52% of the population are 24 years and younger, with more than one third of the people being under 14 years of age! The health sector is lacking doctors and nurses with only 3 doctors per 10,000 people!

Eswatini has the world’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate with almost one third of all adults having the disease.

Here a lovely insight into the cultural traditions of the country.

SiSwati and English are the official languages in Eswatini, siSwati is closely related to isiZulu. The siSwati language has three click sounds that you might find difficult to pronounce if you are not used to them. 

Languages in Eswatini

  • 'k' is generally pronounced as a hard 'g'
  • 'c' is pronounced with clicking your tongue against your front teeth
  • 'hl' is pronounced with clicking your tongue against the palate, similarly as the 'll' is pronounced in the Welsh language.

Here four easy words (without click sounds) to remember:

  • sawubona - hello (greeting one person)
  • sanibonani - hello (greeting two or more people)
  • yebo - yes, good day (as response in a greeting)
  • kulungile - it's ok

Eswatini Facts | Eswatini Economy

The natural resources of Eswatini are coal, clay, talc, cassiterite, some gold and diamonds

The main agricultural products are sugar cane, maize and tropical fruits such as oranges, grape fruit and bananas. Agricultural land accounts for 68% of the land area, most of it are pastures.

Eswatini sugar cane field

About 60 % of the energy in the country is produced by renewal energy sources such as hydropower, Eswatini is ranking fifth in the world for producing renewal energy as the main energy resource! 

The main trading partner is South Africa. Also the eSwati currency is pegged to the South African rand.

Eswatini Animals

Eswatini has a rich wildlife. Here you can encounter many species of mammals, from elephants to hippos and giraffes. There are many different species of antelopes such as the blesbok you see below.

blesbokBlesbok

Eswatini Facts | Resources

Source for Eswatini Facts page:

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Eswatini." WorldFactBook. Last updated 16 February 2021. Last accessed 23 February 2021
  • Kingdom of Eswatini. "Sibebe Rock." KingdomofEswatiniLast accessed 7 May 2021

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Image Credits on Eswatini Facts: shutterstock.com and wikicommons, if not otherwise stated.

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