Photos of Swaziland's Royal Villages

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Swaziland's Royal Villages

Although Mbabane is Swaziland's capital, its Royal Capital is Lobamba, the traditional and legislative capital, the seat of Parliament, Royal Kraal and residence of the "Ndlovukati" (She-elephant) or Queen Mother.

Near Lobamba
In Lobamba
Gucqasithandaze huts
Houses, Royal Kraal
Queen Mother's kraal
Marbles game
Good Friday meeting
Regimental huts
Mdzimba mountains
Valley near Lozitha
Usutshwana river
Looking after cattle
Masundwini Royal Village
Old Zombodze
Near Lobamba market
View near Zombodze
Houses in Lobamba
Doing high jumps
In the Royal Residence
Parliament Building
Lozitha Royal Residence
Stadium and Parliament
Lobamba Royal Residence
Lobamba market

Because King Sobhuza II's real mother had of course long ago died, one of his senior wives had taken this role. Her residence was right in the centre of a very traditional village, with the typical beehive grass huts called "gucqasithandaze" (kneel and pray). There are also the enclosures for the "emabutfo", traditional age-grade regiments with its "emalawu" huts for the men. Outside the traditional village, across the main highway, is Swaziland's Parliament building and nearby is Somhlolo National Stadium. Located in the Ezulwini Valley, Lobamba is about 20 kilometers from Mbabane and nowadays also houses Embo State Palace, the Swazi National Museum and a museum dedicated to the late King Sobhuza II.

The Mdzimba mountains across the Lufushwana or Little Usutu River near Lobamba, contain the burial caves of Swazi kings, including King Sobhuza II. The road between the mountain range and the river leads to Lozitha, another Royal village and now the site of Lozitha Palace, the residence of the present King Mswati III. Continuing further east is the Royal village that was the residence of King Sobhuza II, Masundwini, south of Matsapha. It had a modest bungalow where the King lived. And also not far from Matsapha is Zombode (Zombodze); Old Zombodze used to be a Royal village as well, below a hill where the early Swazi Kings were buried.