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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 about 58,000. The city roughly marks the point where the mountainous southern African highveld descends briefly into middleveld, before bottoming out further east as dry lowveld.
There's not much to do in Mbabane, but many visitors find it more agreeable than hectic Manzini, especially if you need to get money (there is a multitude of working ATMs in the malls), find a comfortable bed or plan your trip ahead. 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.