Swaziland Towns, Cities, Locations and Districts
(Swaziland, SZ, Southern Africa)
The majority of Swaziland's four districts (Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini and Shiselweni) are made up of countryside and scattered rural villages. There are also a small number of larger urban settlements.
Mbabane serves as the capital city and resides on the north-western side of the country, being sandwiched between the nature reserves of Hawane (north) and Mantenga (south).
Further significant destinations in Swaziland include Lobamba, Manzini, Piggs Peak, Big Bend and Nhlangano.
Situated close to the border with South Africa
, Mbabane is the largest urban centre in Swaziland. In comparison with other African capitals, however, the city is relatively small. For most visitors, Mbabane is a place to get things done, including trips to the bank and the city's shops. Its main attractions are its traditional Swazi market and craft shops. More information about Mbabane
Once a gambling resort, the town of Piggs Peak lies on the north-westerly side of the country and is better known nowadays for its handicrafts.
Nearby attractions include the Phophonyane Waterfalls, which can be found roughly 8 km / 5 miles to the north. Also relatively close by is the now deserted village of Bulembu, which was once a wealthy asbestos-mining town.
Formerly named Goedgegun, Nhlangano is off the main tourist trail and serves as the country's fourth-biggest town. Whilst there are no tourist attractions as such in the town, it is a useful base for exploring this part of the country. Nhlangano's proudest moment was in 1947, when British King, George VI visited Swaziland and met with King Sobuza.
This town started life in the 1880s as a trading post and now boasts a population approaching 80,000 people. Manzini is Swaziland's second-largest urban centre and acts as a busy hub for travellers looking to stock up on essentials.
Also an important centre for industry and commerce, Manzini has good transport connections and is within easy reach of Sikhuphe International Airport, although doesn't have much in the way of tourist attractions. That said, its lively handicrafts market held on Thursday and Friday mornings is worth a visit. Manzini's historic Catholic mission building may also be of interest.
Lobamba is frequently referred to as Swaziland's 'Royal Valley'. This town, which is situated at the heart of the Ezulwini Valley, is widely regarded as the legislative capital of Swaziland. It is also the home of the Queen Mother, known as Ndlovukazi. Tourist attractions are in good supply here and include the National Museum
, the State Palace, the Somhlolo National Stadium, the House of Parliament and the King Sobhuza II Memorial
. A series of the country's principal festivities take place in Lobamba, namely the Umhlanga Reed Dance
in August or early September, and Incwala Day each December or early January.
Lying on the eastern side of the country and famed for its plentiful sugar plantations, Big Bend's biggest attraction has to be its picturesque location. As the town's name suggests, it resides at the bend of a river - the Usuthu River to be more precise. From Big Bend, it's possible to take in the beautiful mountains that surround the town.