|Elevation||694 m (2,277 ft)|
|Time zone||SAST (UTC+2)|
|Area code(s)||416 (country code +268)|
|ISO 3166 code||SZ/SWZ|
Lobamba is the traditional, spiritual, and legislative capital city of Swaziland, seat of the Parliament, and residence of the Ntombi, the Queen Mother. Mswati III lives about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away at the Lozitha Palace. The King and Queen Mother participate in annual December and January Incwala ceremonies and August and September Reed Dancees at the Royal Kraal.
Key attractions are the Parliament, National Museum of Swaziland, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, and the King Sobhuza II Memorial Park. The Embo State Palace, not open to visitors, was built by the British government for the polygamous King Sobhuza II, whose family included 600 children. He led the movement for Swaziland's independence from the United Kingdom and was its first prime minister.
- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 Government
- 4 Infrastructure
- 5 Culture and attractions
- 6 Events
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
It is located in the western part of the country in the woodland "Valley of Heaven", or Ezulwini Valley. It is 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Mbabane, in the district of Hhohho and has a subtropical climate with a summer rainy season.
In 1997 its population was 3,625. Its population in 2006 was 11,000. Across the country, 84.3% of its people are Swazi and 9.9% are Zulu. The remainder are Tsonga (2.5%), Indian (1.6%) and others (1.7%). Its official languages are Swazi and English.
Two areas have been called Lobamba, the first now called "Old Lobamba" was established in 1750 in southern Swaziland. The subject of this article is a settlement that was created by Sobhuza II in the northwest section of the country.[nb 1]
In 1903, following the Boer Wars, the British government took control of Swaziland and it was then ruled by a regent. In 1921 King Sobhuza II became leader of Swaziland, which was still under the British government's control. Swaziland became independent of the British government on September 6, 1968, which was announced at a cattle byre in Lobamba by Prince Makhosini. He was the country's first prime minister and the great-grandson of Sobhuza I. With its independence, Swaziland was a member in its own right of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), British Commonwealth, and the United Nations. It was made a constitutional monarchy under Sobhuza II, who lived in the royal residence, or kraal, in Lobamba.
Parliament of Swaziland
It was made a branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on January 1, 1965 and its date of independence was January 1, 1968. The constitution was signed by King Mswati III on July 26, 2005. The king appoints the prime minister and the council. There are two chambers: the Senate and the House of Assembly. The parliament building is sometimes open to visitors.
Embo State Palace
King Mswati III lives at the Lozitha Palace, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city. He visits the Royal Kraal, or Ludzidzini Royal Residence, during the Umhlanga dance and Incwala ceremonies. The royal village includes the queen mother's Royal Kraal, dwelling clusters, and a parade ground for ceremonies.
Lobamba has a police station and is served by The Royal Swaziland Police Service. During the British colonial era Lord Selborn, High Commissioner for South Africa signed a proclamation in 1907 for what became the Swaziland Police Force. After Swaziland's independence in 1968, the force was renamed the Royal Swaziland Police Force. Its name was further changed making it a service, rather than a force.
Health and welfare
Many of the roads in Swaziland are unsurfaced, but there are good roads that connect principal towns, including the MR3 highway and MR103 road. There are small local airstrips and a railroad that operates between Swaziland and Mozambique. The Matsapha Airport is 23 kilometres (14 mi) from Lobamba. The next closest domestic and international airport is Maputo International Airport in Mozambique, which is 216 kilometres (134 mi) away.
One of the tour operators in Swaziland is Swazi Trails, which has tours of the Lobamba royal village, nature reserves, game parks, and craft centres. Nabo Bashoa runs minibus tours.
Culture and attractions
|“||African Life. Some of the Sons of the Late Chief Bokweni Mamba.
National Dancing at Lobamba (1951)
National Museum of Swaziland
The National Museum of Swaziland, located in Lobamba next to the Parliament building, was built in 1972 and expanded in 1986 and 1990. The museum was made a non-profit institution in 1974 by the International Council of Museums.
The museum houses a memorial to the revered King Sobhuza II and Swazi and South African artifacts. It has a collection of photographs that include subjects of the Mbabane and Manzini Regions and British colonial administrators. A 16th-century head of Krishna, discovered nearby, is located in the natural history wing and provides evidence of trade with the east. The natural history wing includes highveld and lowveld dioramas to illustrate the diverse Swaziland ecosystems and feature rarely seen nocturnal animals. Its nature-centric exhibits integrate environmental and cultural impacts.
Also located near the Parliament building is the Somhlolo stadium for football and other major events.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Just outside Lobamba is the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary that has horseback and hiking trails, guided mountain-bike tours, rustic trail camps and camping in caves. Throughout the park are opportunities to observe game, including antelope, giraffe, zebras, and many types of birds.
King Sobhuza II Memorial Park
A memorial park was established in the memory of King Sobhuza II, who was the leader of the country's independence in 1968. The king's life is told through an exhibit of photographs. Three of the king's vintage cars are in the museum and his mausoleum is within the park.
Malkerns Valley is an arts and crafts center located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) south of Lobamba.
Lobamba is famous for two ceremonies that are held there: the Reed Dance, celebrated in August and September in honour of the Queen Mother, and the Incwala, in December and January in honour of the King. These ceremonies include dancing, singing, and celebrations with traditional attire.
- Swaziland National Trust Commission - operates the National Museum of Swaziland
- In the mid 18th century ancestors of Sobhuza I came to (old) Lobamba from the north. About 1750 Swazi was founded in (old) Lobamba by Dlamini dynasty chief Ngwane III, according to local tradition. His son, Ndvungunye, died in 1815 and Sobhuza I became the king and founder of modern Swaziland, ruling from his Shiselweni royal residence beginning in 1818. The city of (old) Lobamba was built in 1820 as headquarters for Sobhuza I, who died in 1838.
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Lobamba.|