The kingdom of Swaziland is one of the smallest in the world, small
enough to drive around in a single day, covering an area of only
17000 square km – half the size of the Netherlands. Despite it’s
small size, however, Swaziland has plenty to offer the visitors
as there are wide variations in vegetation and climate.
Swaziland, with its intriguing mix of European and African elements,
makes a wonderful introduction to southern Africa. After a day spent
watching zebras and wildebeests in a game park, you can relax and
sip cappuccino in Swazi Plaza. Abundant mountain streams and fertile
valleys make Swaziland ideal for agriculture and is a prime spot
for keen trout fishermen. The country is also rich in indigenous
flora such as cycads, lilies, aloe and ferns. Birdlife is abundant
and hiking is a popular activity.
In the midlands and bushveld there are a number of reserves with
game.Excellent roads make this a very accessible country to explore.
The area that is now called Swaziland was settled by the Swazis
in the early 1800s.
The British assumed control of the land after the Boer War, in 1903,
and ruled until independence in 1968 (Swaziland was the last British
protectorate in Africa). In 1973, the Swazi king set aside the constitution
and assumed full power. Geographically, there is considerable variety
in the Swazi terrain.
Most of the nation falls under one of four landscape types: the
eastern band, called the Lubombo Plateau; the low bush country,
immediately to the west; the hilly middle veld, or grassland; and
the forests and mountains of the high veld in the east.
The climate in Swaziland is moderate, ranging from subtropical to
temperate depending on the altitude. June–September is cool and
dry, while October–May is warm and wet.
Higher elevations are generally cloudy, mist–covered and about 10
degrees , cooler than the rest of the country. Sweaters are needed
for the cool evenings year round.