It is a mystery why Swaziland is not part of South Africa. But many country boundaries are mysteries anyway. For instance, remember that Alaska is part of the USA. In East Africa, the island of Migingo is said to be in Uganda while its surrounding waters is in Uganda. In the Middle East, the jury is still out on who should rightfully hold the title deed of Jerusalem. Swaziland is a tiny dot in South Africa. It is only 17, 364 miles square kilometres. But it is not entirely locked by South Africa in all corners; it shares a little border with Mozambique in the east. The country gained independence from Britain in September of 1968, much ahead of South Africa, yet it is in South Africa!
You should visit this country next time you go to South Africa. It too has a lot to offer, beginning with stunning landscapes. You will enjoy zipping through the treetops, pitching your tent at one of the national parks, visiting the cultural villages or taking part in one of the many dances that accompany the endless ceremonies. You should expect the following discoveries:
It Is a Culturally Unique Country
Swaziland is one of those quiet, see-no-evil-hear-no-evil countries that troubles no one and is only concerned with its internal affairs. It keeps a low-profile, content with following its cultures, not what Donald Trump is tweeting. The only time you may hear about Swaziland is when its king is marrying yet another young wife. With its vibrant cultural identity, the country has loved to be loyal to the monarchy to preserve the pre-colonial customs. Colonization and civilization might have diluted many African cultures elsewhere but not in Swaziland.
Many people in the outside world have never heard of Swaziland. You will thus get an empty blank if you say you are visiting or has visited Swaziland. Some of those who have heard of it mistake it for Switzerland. Even some tourists who have been to South Africa do not know about Swaziland. As a return of compliment to the outside world, the people of Swaziland act as though they do not care what the outside world thinks. In fact, the outside world does not even exist. How would you explain the fact that in this modern world, the women of Swaziland still willingly come out to dance in public with their ripe breasts fully bare before the international cameras?
If you follow the news, perhaps you have seen the spectacular Reed Dance. If you have not, find out on YouTube. To the liberal westerner, the whole thing could be seen as “degrading women.” To the Swazis, it is much fun and an essential part of being a Swaziland citizen. It is during that annual Reed Dance ceremony that the king gets to select his new bride from among the dancers. Which top leader of the modern world can do that anywhere without being accused of abusing his office, promoting sexual misconduct or plundering the public resources to satisfy his own flesh desires? In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the Reed Dance ceremony will be considered the most extreme indecency punishable by death.
The local currency in Swaziland is Emalangeni. It is on par with the South African Rand. There is no need to exchange the Rand for Emalangeni. This is because the South African rand is accepted everywhere in Swaziland. You can use the South African rand to buy a matchstick at a kiosk in a remote Swaziland village without raising eyebrows.
Swaziland is a safe country to travel. It is safer than the Republic of South Africa where the crime rate is sometimes alarming. Tourists are never entirely safe in some parts of South Africa. Swaziland is, however, low on crime. The desire to steal and get rich quickly is not strong here. Indeed, some criminal activities in Swaziland are spillages from South Africa.
Because the British colonized them, many Swaziland people speak fluent English, so you won’t suffer from a language barrier if you are an English-speaking tourist.
Back To The Past
In 2018, Swaziland marked its Jubilee year since it gained independence. The year also marked the current king’s (Mswati’s) birthday, so it was a big ceremony the day these two occasions were mixed and celebrated together. International guests were invited to attend the birthday parties. Perhaps they thought the king would announce dramatic changes at par with the modern thinking. In the course of the ceremony, however, king Mswati announced that the Kingdom of Swaziland would resume its ancient name of eSwatini. So, in short, there is no more Swaziland. The nation has sunk back into its glorious past.
Do not miss out on visiting eSwatini. You can come during the Reed Dance when King Mswati is marrying again. Do not forget to carry your camera.