Tucked in the jumble of granite peaks and valleys that make up the Dlangeni hills, Swaziland's administrative capital, MBABANE (pronounced "M-buh-ban"), is small, relaxed and unpretentious, with a population of only 90,000. The most popular route into Swaziland, through the Oshoek/Ngwenya border post, is only 20km west of Mbabane; the city roughly marks the point where the mountainous southern African highveld descends briefly into middleveld, before bottoming out further east as dry lowveld.
This is a good base from which to start exploring Swaziland, especially if you're without your own transport: the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary lies not far south, and the royal village of Lobamba makes an easy day-trip – vital if you're here when the Umhlanga or Ncwala ceremonies take place.
Mbabane is the capital of Swaziland, but it may well not have become the capital if the British had not won the Anglo-Boer at the turn of the century. During the 1890’s the Boer administration had earmarked what was then Bremersdorp (now Manzini) for the main centre, preferring the warm climate of the middlevelt area. In "Travels of an American Insurance Agent" by Jas. A. Cavanagh, which was published in 1900, Bremersdorp is indeed described as the capital of Swaziland. However, all that changed when the British won the war and Swaziland subsequently became a protectorate of that country.