Terrain shapes and bedrock
According to COUNTRYAAH, Swaziland descends gradually from the slope of Drakensberg in the west to the coastal plain near the Indian Ocean in the east. The area to the west, Highveld, is more than 900 m above sea level, and here a transition is made between the volcanic rocks of Drakensberg and the sedimentary rocks to the east. At the far north-west is the country’s highest point, Mlembe, 1,862 m above sea level.
To the east follows a transition zone, Middleveld, of about 300–1000 m above sea level. with carbon-bearing rocks. The lowland to the east, Lowveld, is mainly sandstone. At the border with Mozambique lies the Lebombo Mountains which reach up to 800 m above sea level. The Komati, Umbeluzi and Usutu rivers flow east through the country.
The rainfall, which mainly falls during the period November – April, varies between about 1,350 mm per year in Mbabane in the west to about 750 mm on the coastal plain. The average temperature in Mbabane is 12 °C in July and 20 °C in January.
Plant-and animal life
At Highveld in the west, grassy steppes with gallery forests dominate the rivers. Locally there are shrubs with acacias and some protea plants. To the east, follows Middleveld, which is a transition zone to Lowveld’s dry shrubs and dry savannas with acacias and monkey bread trees. There are about 2,700 species of flowering plants in the country. However, the original flora has been depleted by cultivation of, among other things. sugar cane and cotton in the lowlands and large plantings of conifers and eucalyptus higher up. In order to find original plant life one must search for inaccessible ravines, especially in Drakensberg.
The wildlife was initially very rich, but through long periods of uncontrolled hunting, larger mammals have practically disappeared. There are now almost 50 species of mammals, about 350 species of breeding birds and just over 100 species of reptiles. Among larger mammals, all uncommon, are mentioned leopard, impala, larger kudu, rock antelope (Raphiʹcerus campeʹstris) and anubis baby.
Swaziland had a national park in 2010, the grassy sands Hlane in the northeast, with stubborn rhino, giraffe and a rich antelope fauna. There were also nature reserves, among other things. the Malolotja mountain area in the northwest with stubborn rhinos and antelopes, and wildlife protection areas.