A map of Eswatini Eswatini—the new name (since April 2018) for Swaziland—is one of Africa’s smallest countries. This tiny, landlocked country lies almost completely surrounded by its neighbour, South Africa. To the east, the Lubombo Mountains form a border with Mozambique. In the west are the high, jagged mountains of the Drakensberg range: this region, known as the Highveld, has a cool, humid climate. The capital, Mbabane, is situated here. Further eastwards, the land slopes to the rolling savanna grasslands of the Middleveld and Lowveld, where the climate is drier and warmer.
Nearly all Eswatini’s people are ethnic Swazi, a Bantu people whose ancestors came from Central Africa about 2000 years ago. They speak siSwati and English. There are also small numbers of Zulu and Afrikaners. Eswatini has a very high number of people suffering from HIV/AIDS. Thousands of children have lost their parents to the disease. As a result, Eswatini has the lowest life expectancy in the world: about 49 years.
Eswatini's king is an absolute monarch: he makes all the country’s laws. It is traditional for him to reign alongside his mother, or, if she has died, another female member of the royal family. She is known as the “Ndlovukati”, or she-elephant. The king is called the “Ngwenyama”, the lion.
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