Eswatini, officially Swaziland until 2018, traditionally unofficially also kaNgwane, is a landlocked country in southern Africa. It borders South Africa and Mozambique. The national holiday is September 6, the anniversary of independence in 1968. The form of government is in fact an absolute monarchy. The country's two largest cities are the administrative capital, Mbabane, and the economic center, Manzini. The seat of government is Lobamba.


With an area of 17,363 square kilometers, the kingdom is the second smallest country on the African continent after Gambia. The landlocked country's neighboring countries are Mozambique to the east and the South African provinces of Mpumalanga to the north and west and KwaZulu-Natal to the south. The total length of the state border is 535 kilometers, of which 105 kilometers are shared with Mozambique and 430 kilometers with South Africa. The Lusutfu, also known as the Great Usutu River and later Maputo, is the longest river in the country. Eswatini is divided into four regions: Hhohho (to the north and north-west), Manzini to the west and centre, Shiselweni to the south and Lubombo to the east.

Eswatini is divided into four topographical zones from west to east. In the west of the country lies the Highveld (upland), which has an average altitude of 1300 m and goes west into the South African Drakensberg. The highest elevation within Eswatini is the 1862 m high Emlembe near the western border. About a sixth of the highlands is covered by forest. The capital Mbabane is in this region. The Middleveld has an average elevation of around 700 m and consists of fertile hill country. Manzini, the largest city in the country, is also located here. To the east is the Lowveld, which consists mainly of scrubland and has its lowest point at 21 m at the Lusutfu River. The lowlands are mainly used for sugar cane cultivation. Along the eastern border of Eswatini lies the southern part of the Lubombo Mountains (also Lebombo Mountains), with the 776 m high Mount Mananga.

The climate zones correspond to the four landscape zones and are subtropical overall. The Highveld gets the most rain at over 1000mm. Most precipitation falls in summer (October to March). Mostly there are showers, prolonged rainfall is rare. The temperatures are predominantly warm or mild. Humidity is mostly high; in Mbabane, average summer temperatures reach 26°C. In winter they drop to around 13 °C. There is significantly less rainfall in the Lowveld. The climate is warmest here. The Lubombo Mountains also have a dry, subtropical climate with slightly cooler temperatures than in the Lowveld.

bodies of water
Hydrologically, the country is divided into four catchment areas. All of its precipitation drains eastwards via these into Maputo Bay. The north, with 2500 km² and 14% of the country's area, drains over the Komati, which brushes the land. The headwaters and tributaries of the Mbuluzi rise in the middle and east, covering more than 10% of the area. The entire south drains into the Maputo, whose catchment area of around 12,000 km² makes up 69% of the country's area. In the extreme east there is a small part that drains over the Tembe.

Most of the country's lakes are reservoirs. The largest are Mnjoli Reservoir, Maguga Dam and Pongolapoort Reservoir. The latter is mostly on the territory of South Africa and only extends into the territory of Eswatini when the water level is high.

Over 90% of the population of Eswatini belong to the Swazi Bantu people. Sotho, Zulu, Tsonga, White and Coloureds also live there.

The average fertility rate per woman for the period 2015-2020 was 3.02 children. During the same period, there were an average of 26.7 births and 9.4 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants. The average life expectancy at birth in 2017 was 52.1 years (women: 51.5 years, men: 52.7 years). The median age was 21.7 years. Population growth was 1.08% per year in 2017. Eswatini is among the African countries with the lowest percentage of population growth. Reasons for this are lower fertility, high mortality from AIDS and emigration (mainly to South Africa).

languages and religions
Almost all Swazi speak siSwati, a Nguni language, as their mother tongue. A few residents speak isiZulu or Xitsonga as their first language. English is the language of education, lingua franca and the second official language in Eswatini. For example, the websites of the government, public administration, energy and water suppliers, companies, banks, media, etc. are written exclusively in English; de facto no Eswatini websites can be found in siSwati.

Around 90% of Eswatini's residents are Christians. It is estimated that 40% of the population belong to the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), which is widespread in southern Africa, and about 5% to the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholics are combined in the Diocese of Manzini.


Although schooling is not compulsory and there is a fee to attend school, a large proportion of children attend primary schools, which last up to the 7th grade. At the same time, around 12% of 5-14 year olds work (as of 2001). The proportion of children who attend secondary school is around 47%. Illiterates are clearly in the minority.

Eswatini has had its own university since 1973, the University of Eswatini, renamed in 2018. It is based in Kwaluseni; some faculties are located in Luyengo and Mbabane. There are also other institutions in the tertiary education sector, both public and private.

Until the second half of the 20th century, the education sector was determined by mission stations. Leading churches in this context included the Nazarenes, including some of their associated groups, as well as the Methodists and the Anglicans. At least until 1945, Eswatini was part of the former High Commission Territories (BLS states) that provided education through the Primary Standards, then up to Standard VIII/age 16. Established in 1908, St Mark's School (Anglican) in Mbabane offered full secondary education. The Goedgegun school (state) went only up to Junior Certificate and offered training in an agricultural department. These were educational offers for students from the population of European descent.
The widespread schooling for members of the Swazi went to the above same period up to Standard IV, but usually only up to II or III, but in two cases up to the Junior Certificate. Altogether there were about 100 schools for this population in 1945 (financed by the state or with state funds). There were also three Swazi national schools with primary education. Only one of these three institutions funded by the Swazi National Fund offered a Junior Certificate level degree. The latter, the Matapa School founded in 1932, had professional training opportunities in the field of industrial and agricultural job profiles. It also served as a school for the chiefs' sons and was directly overseen by a government commission.

The rate of HIV infection is the highest in the world. In 2004, 39% of the population was infected with the causative agent of the immunodeficiency disease, in 2005 it was already 42%, adjusted for the elderly and children around 63%. Between 2008 and 2013 the infection rate was slightly reduced. In 2019, the proportion of people infected with HIV in the 15 to 49 age group was 27.3%. Over 3000 people die from the disease every year. AIDS is one of the main reasons for the low life expectancy, at times the lowest in the world. It reached its lowest point in 2005 at 42.5 years, 44.6 years for women and 40.7 years for men. Since then, however, it has increased again continuously and was around 59.4 years in 2019, 64.0 years for women and 55.3 years for men. In addition to the low fertility rate and migration to South Africa, this is one of the reasons for the very low population growth by African standards.

Despite the progress the country has made, health care is still rudimentary. 88.3% of births are attended by qualified medical staff (as of 2019). Infant mortality is 40.8 per 1000 births, maternal mortality is 389 per 100,000 births (as of 2019). 66% of married women have access to contraception (as of 2019).

Progress has been made in the fight against malnutrition and hunger. In 2014, 5.8% of small children were malnourished. At the same time, 16.5% of adults are severely overweight.