Area: 17.364 km2
Inhabitants: 1.148.130 inhabitants (2019)
Population density: 66,12 inhabitants per km2.
Languages: The official languages of Eswatini are English and Swazi. Consider that in this country, 90% of the population belongs to the same ethnic group, which is the Swazi. Therefore, we do not find much variety of languages as is the case in most African countries.
Currency: The country’s official currency is the Lilangeni (SZL). However, the South African Rand (R) is also used. In fact, 1 Lilangeni is equivalent to 1 Rand, so the two currencies have the same value and you can pay with either. In exchange, 1 euro is 18 SZL. You can look at the current exchange in the next link.
Clima: In Eswatini, we find a rainy season during its summer (from November to March approximately) where rains fall and storms can be generally strong. During this time, the landscape becomes greener and the days are warmer. We suffered two storms (all in the afternoon-evening) during the week we visited the country; and in these cases, the next day it became difficult to drive on some of the national park roads such as the Hlane Royal NP. In contrast, during the winter season (May to September), the climate is drier and it is easier to see animals near waterholes.
Road driving: Eswatini is a small, mountainous country, where we find some general roads that are in good condition. For example, the one that crosses the country through Mbabane and Manzini is a two-lane highway that is fine. However, on some secondary roads you have to go slowly because, despite being paved, you will find different potholes that will make you drastically slow down. Be careful, and try to avoid them! The Ezulwini Valley area is very quiet in terms of driving; whereas if you approach some of the big cities like Mbabane or Manzini, there is much more traffic there and therefore you have to have more patience. In general, being a small country with few inhabitants, we did not find many traffic jams and the driving was very peaceful in the middle of valleys, mountains and beautiful landscapes.
WHAT TO SEE IN ESWATINI?
These waterfalls, 80 meters high and located in the northwest of the country, are located in a small nature reserve of the same name. They are one of the demonstrations of the natural beauty that this country has. This reserve with fantastic landscapes is crossed by a river that creates different waterfalls and natural water pools that you can walk through different paths and routes. A good stop if you arrive in the country via the Jeep’s Reef border crossing.
This valley is located between the two main cities of the country: Mbabane and Manzini. Also known as the Valley of Heaven, you can fully immerse yourself in the history of Swazi culture by visiting some of its traditional villages or the National Museum in Lobamba, where the parliament and the royal residence are also located. Apart from that, it has a beautiful surrounding to enjoy different excursions such as a visit to the Mantenga Falls or a climb to Sheba’s Breast with spectacular views. This is a valley where you can stay for a few days and enjoy the craft markets, the beauty of the landscape and the warmth of its people.
This sanctuary is one of the most important reserves in the country. It is a conservation area located in the Ezulwini Valley and has been repopulated with a large number of herbivores and antelopes. The surroundings are very beautiful, with green meadows, pine forests and rocky mountains like the legendary Execution Rock. There, you can enjoy walking safaris with animals, bird watching, waterholes with turtles and crocodiles, bike routes, horseback riding, viewpoints with beautiful panoramic views and a good restaurant where you can taste different antelope meats.
It is the quintessential park in Eswatini with an area of approximately 30,000 hectares. You can see 4 of the Big Five where the main attraction is the ease of seeing the white rhino. You can take safaris on foot with this fantastic endangered animal, as well as enter the lions area to see them in action. Don’t forget that if you’re lucky, you can see an albino kudu, which is very strange to see anywhere else!
5.- MALOLOTJA NATURE RESERVE
This reserve is located among the highest mountains in the country, where you can enjoy different trekkings of more than a day through spectacular scenery and rural villages. There is also the oldest mine in the world called Ngwenya. Located near Piggs Peak, it is a great choice for hiking and mountain lovers.
6.- MKHAYA GAME RESERVE
In the southeast of the country we find this reserve that stands out for the presence of black rhinos. To visit it, you will have to travel in a park safari car or walk with a guide. Apart from rhinos, you can also see other animals such as giraffes, buffaloes (the only place in the country where you can see them) or the sable antelope; among others. This reserve is included in the South African Wild Card.