Excerpts from "A Traveller's Guide to Swaziland" by Bob Forrester.
CARS and DRIVING
Index to information in the guide
The majority of cattle in Swaziland are of Nguni stock - a short-haired, hardy breed, highly resistant to ticks and disease. They are easily recognised by their wide horns and randomly spotted hides which can be black, white red, brown, grey or any combination of these. Cattle arrived in Swaziland from the north around 1000 years ago. It is not known how these cattle survived the perilous journey through the tsetse fly belt en route from Central and East Africa.
Attempts have been made to cross this stock with Brahmins and Jersey and other exotic breeds to increase meat bulk and milk carrying capacity. The traditional indicator of wealth in Swaziland is cattle and, since prestige is derived from the number of cattle owned rather than the quality or commercial value of them, overgrazing is rife. Many of the cattle are grazed on communal Swazi Nation Land, and there is therefore no individual incentive to preserve pastures and avoid overgrazing. Swaziland has one of the highest density grazing rates in Africa, one beast to each 1.6 hectares. There are more cattle than people in the country.
In 2001 there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, which resulted in cattle being shot to prevent it being spread, unlike the UK the disease was quickly controlled. Humans can be carriers, but we remain unaffected by it.