Tiny landlocked Swaziland, also called Ngwane, is in Southern Africa. Swaziland is one of the last absolute monarchies left in the world. It's also one of Africa's smallest countries and many say, the friendliest. In contrast to neighboring countries, Swaziland, although also suffering like its neighbors from problems of poverty and AIDs, is well known for its peacefulness, civility, and overall relaxed nature. Perhaps this means that the rumors of Swaziland's economy being based on marijuana farming are true. Swaziland also has numerous sizable game parks and wildlife reserves, all popular spots for visitors. The western half of the country is covered in mountains where the climate is temperate while in the east on the low region, temperatures regularly reach 40 degrees.
Being in Swaziland gives one a sense of the scale of time. Amazingly, the region has been inhabited continuously since prehistoric times. Copious artifacts showing human activity from 200,000 years ago (the early Stone Age) have been discovered in Swaziland, and rock paintings have been found which date back to 25,000 B.C. When the English won the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1902, they made Swaziland a protectorate. Swaziland became independent from the UK in 1968.
Many notice that when they cross the border from South Africa into Swaziland, an immediate sense of peace envelopes them, as if all the tensions of its southerly neighbor are washed away in laid-back and friendly Swaziland. Even though the country is tiny, there's a lot to do. Take in a royal ceremony for example, which happens with good natured regularity since the people love their king so much. The wildlife reserves are exceptional, all funded by the government. Swaziland Hlane Royal National Park in the northeast contains lions, antelopes, elephants, and white rhinos, among others, and overnight camping is available. For five dollars you can take a guided walk, or for twenty dollars, you can take a two-hour guided drive which also takes in a village dance performance (Mswati Reed Dance and Swazi Reed Dance). Mountains bikes can also be rented.
Swaziland Ezulwini and Malkerns Valleys are also popular destinations, with the Ezulwini Valley known for its handicrafts and superb scenery. The valley starts near Mbabane and goes all the way down past the village of Lobamba. This is the homeland of the Swazi royalty.
An interesting book, partly set in Swaziland and which may get you in the mood for the country is called "Sangoma: My Odyssey Into the Spirit World of Africa" by James Hall.
Read on South Africa travel guide.