Swaziland, a small, landlocked monarchy in southern Africa, is known for its wilderness reserves and festivals showcasing traditional Swazi culture. Marking its northeastern border with Mozambique and stretching down to South Africa, the Lebombo Mountains are a backdrop for Mlawula Nature Reserve’s many hiking trails. Nearby Hlane Royal National Park is home to diverse wildlife including lions, hippos and elephants.
At no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west, Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa; despite this, its climate and topography are diverse, ranging from a cool and mountainous highveld to a hot and dry lowveld. The population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is Swati. They established their kingdom in the mid-18th century under the leadership of Ngwane III; the present boundaries were drawn up in 1881 in the midst of the scramble for Africa. After the Anglo-Boer War, Swaziland was a British protectorate from 1903 until 1967. It regained its independence on 6 September 1968