Saturday, May 25, 2013

Geography of Swaziland

Swaziland is a landlocked country; lying between Mozambique and South Africa and forms part of the Southern African region. The physical geography consists of Savannah in the east with a rainforest in the northwest. Mountains poke out of the high veld in the west.
The climate of Swaziland varies from tropical to near temperate. The seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere with December being mid-summer and June mid-winter. Generally speaking, rain falls mostly during the summer months, often in the form of thunderstorms. Winter is the dry season. Annual rainfall is highest on the Highveld in the West, between 1,000 and 2,000 mm (39.4 and 78.7 in) depending on the year. The further East, the less rain, with the Lowveld recording 500 to 900 mm (19.7 to 35.4 in) per annum. Variations in temperature are also related to the altitude of the different regions. The Highveld temperature is temperate and, seldom, uncomfortably hot while the Lowveld may record temperatures around 40 °C (104 °F) in summer.
The average temperatures at Mbabane, according to seasons:
SpringSeptember – October18 °C (64.4 °F)
SummerNovember – March20 °C (68 °F)
AutumnApril – May17 °C (62.6 °F)
WinterJune – August13 °C (55.4 °F)

Physical geography

Topographic map of Swaziland
The terrain largely consists of mountains and hills, with some moderately sloping plains. The lowest point is the Great Usutu River, at 21 metres, and the highest is Emlembe, at 1,862 m.
As a landlocked country, Swaziland has neither coastline nor maritime claims. In terms of land boundaries, Swaziland borders Mozambique for 105 kilometres, and South Africa for 430, giving a total land boundary length of 535 km.

Natural resources

Swaziland possesses the following natural resources: asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc
670 km² of the country's land is irrigated. The following table describes land use in Swaziland.
Land use
UsePercentage of Area
arable land9.77
permanent crops0.7


The Kingdom of Swaziland is prone to floods and drought. Soil erosion as a result of overgrazing is a growing problem.
Swaziland is part of the following international agreements: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban and Ozone Layer Protection. The country has signed, but not ratified the agreement on desertification, and the law of the sea.

Extreme points

This is a list of the extreme points of Swaziland, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.
  • Note: Swaziland does not have a westernmost point as the western-most section of the border is formed by the 31° longitude.