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9 tiny countries with big appeal

By: Josh Lew on Nov. 21, 2013, 9 a.m.
Swaziland, Komati River, Maguga Dam

Photo: René C. Nielsen/Flickr

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Traditional culture and nature are at the forefront of what has become an impressive tourist industry in Swaziland, which sits on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. Hlane Royal National Park, Mlawula Nature Reserve and Malolotja Nature Reserve all have abundant wildlife and natural landscapes that have never been affected by humans. White rhinos, lions, zebras and even elephants are among the animal inhabitants at these parks. Swaziland is also a land of great traditional culture, with annual festivals drawing thousands of tourists.

Swaziland, one of the smallest countries in Africa, is considered the world's last true absolute monarchy. Today, there is a parliament, but a majority of its members as well as the prime minister are directly appointed by the king. Despite its unusual political status, this tiny country is known for being friendly, open and peaceful.