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Formerly known as Swaziland, this country officially changed its name in 2018 after King Mswati III decided the old name caused too much confusion with Switzerland.

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Spelling, though, is about where the similarities end, both physically and among its people. Eswatini has one of the few absolute monarchs in the world, which made changing the country name pretty simple.

The nature here, much like in neighboring Mozambique and South Africa, is stunning, whether you’re driving through the bright green Ezulwini Valley or hiking up to thundering Malolotja Falls. The valley has a hot mineral spring called — no joke — the cuddle puddle (which sounds cute until you step into water that’s a constant 108 degrees). The country is, for the most part safe, and though the monarchy has brought some unrest among the people over the years, it currently remains largely at peace.

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