Fast Facts

Mbabane (administrative); 70,000—Lobamba (legislative and royal); 4,400
17,363 square kilometers (6,704 square miles)
English, siSwati
Indigenous beliefs, Roman Catholic, Muslim
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $4,800
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Swaziland
Map: Swaziland

Swaziland, consisting mostly of high plateaus and mountains, is in southern Africa. In 1949 the British government rejected a South African request for control of this small, landlocked nation. Independence was granted in 1968. The death of King Sobhuza in 1982 led to the coronation of 18-year-old King Mswati III in 1986. The king is an absolute monarch with supreme executive, legislative, and judicial powers. Nearly 60 percent of Swazi territory is held by the crown.


  • Industry: Mining (coal), wood pulp, sugar, soft drink concentrates
  • Agriculture: Sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco; cattle
  • Exports: Soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

Related Features

  • <p>Photo: A running wolf</p>

    Africa's Last Wolves

    Why is the Ethiopian wolf the rarest canid on the planet?

  • Photo: Men riding horses

    Lost in the Sahel

    Along Africa's harsh frontier between desert and forest, crossing some lines can be fatal.

  • <p>Photo: A mountainous coastline</p>

    Free Cape Town!

    Although many things in this otherwise affordable city are priced for tourists, you can find plenty to do shelling out a single rand.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

2015 Traveler Photo Contest

  • Picture of a tree under night stars in Deadvlei, Namibia

    See the Winners

    Explore the top photos, share your favorites, and browse all entries.