General Information

The historical development of the state

The Kingdom was established in the 18th century by the Bantu people, who descended from Mozambique and it was a British colony since 1903 until it became independent on 6/9/1968 and is now ruled by King Mswati III, who was crowned on April 25, 1986.


A small, landlocked kingdom, Swaziland is bordered in the North, West and South by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique in the East. Swaziland has a land area of 17,364 km2. Swaziland has four separate geographical regions. These run from North to South and are determined by altitude. Swaziland is located at approximately 26°30'S, 31°30'E, Swaziland has a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains along the Mozambican border to savannas in the east and rain forest in the northwest. Several rivers flow through the country, such as the Great Usutu River.

Along the eastern border with Mozambique is the Lubombo, a mountain ridge, at an altitude of around 600 metres. The mountains are broken by the canyons of three rivers, the Ngwavuma, the Usutu and the Mbuluzi River. This is cattle ranching country. The western border of Swaziland, with an average altitude of 1200 metres, lies on the edge of an escarpment. Between the mountains rivers rush through deep gorges. Mbabane, the capital, is located on the Highveld.

The Middleveld, lying at an average 700 metres above sea level is the most densely populated region of Swaziland with a lower rainfall than the mountains. Manzini, the principal commercial and industrial city, is situated in the Middleveld.

The Lowveld of Swaziland, at around 250 metres, is less populated than other areas and presents a typical African bush country of thorn trees and grasslands. Development of the region was inhibited, in early days, by the scourge of malaria.

Swaziland is divided into four climatic regions, the Highveld, Middleveld, Lowveld and Lubombo plateau. The seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere with December being mid-summer and June mid-winter. Generally speaking, rain falls mostly during the summer months, often in the form of thunderstorms.

Winter is the dry season. Annual rainfall is highest on the Highveld in the West, between 1,000 and 2,000 mm (39.4 and 78.7 in) depending on the year. The further East, the less rain, with the Lowveld recording 500 to 900 mm (19.7 to 35.4 in) per annum.

Variations in temperature are also related to the altitude of the different regions. The Highveld temperature is temperate and seldom uncomfortably hot, while the Lowveld may record temperatures around 40 °C (104 °F) in summer. The Kingdom's natural resources are asbestos, coal, clay, tin, hydropower, forests, and a few gold and diamond reserves.


Population size - religious and ethnic composition

i. Population, Growth Rate and Age Structure by Gender: -

The population of the Kingdom of Swaziland is 1,386,914 According to the census conducted in July 2012, the population structure of the Kingdom is shown below:

Age structure of population according to 2013 estimates:

  • From the age of 0 to14 years old represent 36.9% of the total population

    (Males approx. 261954 / females approx. 256144)

  • 15-24 years of age, 22.4% of the total population

    (Male approx. 158947 / female approx. 155421)

  • From the age of 25 to 54 years, 32.7% of the total population

    (Males approx. 234805 / female approx. 224703)

  • From the age of 55 - 64 years by 4.2% of the total population

    (Males approx. 23,287 / female approx. 35,900)

  • From the age of 65 years and above, 3.7% of the total population

    (Males approx. 21042 / female approx. 31159)

  • Ethnic composition
    1. o84.3% Swazi, Zulu 9.9%, Tsonga 2.5%, Indians 0.8%, Pakistan 0.8%, and Portuguese 0.5%.
  • Religious Composition
    • 70% of the population clings to Christianity, making it the most common religion in Swaziland. There are different Protestant churches as it is the case in the rest of Africa, including African Zionism, which is followed by the majority of Christians (40%), a church that confuses Christianity with ancient African traditions, followed by 20% Roman Catholic followers. The country also has Islam (0.95%), Baha'i (0.5%) and Hindu (0.15%).

The political, administrative and judicial system of the State

  • The nature of the political system:

    Swaziland is a constitutional monarchy, but the power is concentrated in the hands of the king and princes who are close to him. The monarchy does not recognize the multiplicity of parties allowed by the constitution that was drafted and acknowledged after independence. Political parties were banned by King Sabhuza II in the declaration of 12/4/1973, and this announcement is still in force. 

  • The nature of the administrative system:

    The legislature authority is composed of two chambers according to the constitution:

    • House of assembly (parliament): consists of 50 members, local councils elect 40 of them, and 10 members are appointed the King.
    • The House of Senate: consists of 30 members. Local councils elect 20 members and the king appoints 10 members.

      The executive authority is represented by:

    • The King: (called Ngwenyama) and has absolute power where most legislative and executive bodies are considered advisory.
    • The Queen Mother: she has the status of a head of state and in the absence of the king; she is the one who manages the government
    • The Government: The King appoints its Prime Minister and the rest of the Ministers.
  • The nature of the judicial system:

The judicial system in Swaziland is a dual system. The 2006 constitution established a court system based on the western model consisting of four regional Magistrates Courts, a High Court and a Court of Appeal (the Supreme Court), which are independent of crown control. In addition, traditional courts (Swazi Courts or National Courts) deal with minor offences and violations of traditional Swazi law and custom.

Judges are appointed by the King and are usually expatriates from South Africa. The Supreme Court, which replaced the previous Court of Appeal, consists of the Chief Justice and at least four other Supreme Court judges. The High Court consists of the Chief Justice and at least four High Court judges

Transportation - Roads & Transport

  • The total length of the roads in the Kingdom is 3,768 km, about 1,500 km paved and the remaining 2270 km of which are gravel roads (unpaved).
  • Public transport is the main mode of transport in Swaziland. The number of private car owners in Swaziland is low, with 32 cars per 1,000 people. The national road network is 1,500 kilometers from the main roads and 2270 kilometers from the internal roads.
  • Currently there are two airports in the Kingdom: Matsaba Airport, which is located near Manzini, currently in use by the king and the air force, and the other is King Mswati III International Airport (KM3), which was recently opened on 7 March 2014, and it is being used for commercial flights.
  • Only one airline operates from King Mswati III International Airport, and that is south African AirLink and operates flights to and from Johannesburg.
  • A 301 km railway line is used to transport goods, not to passengers, connecting South Africa to Mozambique via Swaziland.

Communications and Housing in Swaziland

There are three companies in the Kingdom that provide telecommunication services:

  • Swazi Telecom: owned by the government, provides landline telecommunications services and other communications solutions except mobile services.
  • MTN Swaziland: a private mobile communications service provider.
  • SwaziMobile: a private mobile communications service provider.