10 Stunning Facts About Eswatini, Polygamy Is Sweet!

King Mswati Monarchy
Written by See Africa Today

The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is magical. Its small geographic stature doesn’t take away the beauty of the land. Want to know some facts about Eswatini?

There are many attractions dotting eSwatini. Most of them have a cultural tie and are close to the community. There is so much to learn, see and experience in Eswatini.

If you haven’t travelled to this fantastic country tucked between South Africa and Mozambique, here are the highlights.

It’s Eswatini Not Swaziland

First, it is the smallest Kingdom in Africa. As of 2019, there was a population of 1.148 million people, according to a World Bank report. Nonetheless, it changed from Swaziland to “eSwatini” to honour the heritage of the Swati people. Swaziland was a British name given to the Kingdom, but it was decided otherwise to maintain the cultural look.

It's Eswatini Not Swaziland

Eswatini. [Photo: Quartz]

It’s A Monarchy

You would imagine a president being the overall leader, just like in neighboring Southern African countries. But you are wrong! eSwatini is ruled by a powerful King making the Kingdom the last remaining monarchy in the world.

Besides, King Mswati – the ruler – lives a very private life. Affairs of his personal life remain so. While the Swati people are welcoming and amiable, they barely talk about the King and the royal family. It is a rule passed from one generation to another and is never broken. You won’t get information on how many wives and children the King has from a random person.

King Mswati Monarchy

KIng Mswati III. [Photo: BBC]

HIV/AIDS Rates Are High

For some reason, new HIV infections in eSwatini are prevalent. HIV prevalence rate in 2016 in the Kingdom was at 27.2% and gradually became an epidemic. It mainly affects the youthful groups often faced with inequality. As a result, they engage in transactional coitus, where they end up getting HIV. one pg the serious facts about Eswatini.

Malaria Infections Are Low

Malaria infection rates are relatively low compared to what is in the neighboring Mozambique. It is the only country in Southern African to record low malaria cases. However, you may need to take anti-malarial pills as a precaution when touring the eastern parts of Lubombo. Here, you tour the Lubombo Mountains and Lubombo Conservancy.

Currency – South African Rand Is Popular

South African rand remains popular in eSwatini despite having the official lilangeni. Lilangeni is the official eSwatini currency. But, you are not allowed to transact using South African rand coins all through the Kingdom. You still get services when using a credit card since it is widely accepted.

Forget Direct Travel To eSwatini From International Destinations

In most cases, there is no direct flight to King Mswati III International Airport. You would have to connect via Johannesburg. A flight from South Africa’s capital to Mbabane takes 45 minutes. However, it is easy to enter eSwatini via land from its border of South Africa and Mozambique. Charges are only 50 rands for every vehicle.

Visa Is Not A Must

A visitor from a commonwealth country is free to enter the Kingdom without a visa. They have up to 30 days to stay in the country. You can apply for a more extended stay at the Ministry of Home Affairs if you visit more than the stipulated 30 days.

Polygamy Is A Thing

Eswatini is primarily a polygamous kingdom. King Mswati III leads by example with his 13 wives. Historic King Mswati – his father – had 100 wives. Things are no different on the ground. Men are allowed to have multiple wives. They live in separate huts but in the same homestead.

Polygamy is a thing

A traditional hut in Swaziland. [Photo: saw_bizzy]

Wildlife Spectacle

Eswatini is small in size but is a wildlife haven. It has stringent wildlife laws that repel poaching across its parks, sanctuaries, and conservancies. You can sight the big five at the Hlane National Park. The park has sentimental value in eSwatini land because it protects the Swati King culture. It is symbolized by a lion’s head, signifying bravery, courage, and protection.


English is standard, but some Swati people do not speak or understand the Queen’s language. They communicate in siSwati which is eSwatini’s native language. Otherwise, you will still get a few people in the village speaking good English. So, learn a few siSwati words. How do you like facts about eswatini?

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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