About Tanzania, Visit Tanzania, Tanzania Safaris, Tanzania Tours, Tanzania Holidays
About where to go for Tanzania Safaris, Tanzania Tours and Tanzania Holidays
Tanzania is in central east Africa and is bordered by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. There is a coastline on the Indian Ocean.
A unitary republic, there are 26 mikoa (regions) in the United Republic of Tanzania. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete is the head of state and was elected in 2005. Dodoma has been the capital since 1996. From the country’s independence to 1996, Dar es Salaam was the capital. Dar es Salaam is still the country’s commercial center and the seat of many government agencies. Tanzania acts as the seaport for many of the country’s landlocked neighbors.
The population is estimated at 60,445,249 million (2019).
Know about Tanzania History for your Tanzania Safaris
Tanzania is one of the earth’s oldest known continuously inhabited areas. There are fossil remains of humans and hominids that date back more than 2 million years. Tanzania is believed to have been populated by Cushitic and Khoisan speaking people. Bantu speakers arrived approximately 2,000 years ago. Niloltic pastoralists arrived later and continued to do so up to the 18th century.
Since the early first millennium AD, merchants from Western India and the Persian Gulf visited the East African coast. Islam began to be practiced in the area around the 8th or 9th century AD.
Omani Sultan Seyyid Said claimed the coastal strip and moved his capital to Zanzibar City in 1840. The city became the Arab slave trade’s center around this time. Of the Arab-Swahili population in Zanzibar, 65 percent to 90 percent were enslaved. Tippu Tip was one of the most famous slave traders in the region. Msiri and Mirambo led the Nyamwezi slave traders.
Germany conquered what became modern day Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi in the late 1800s. This area was incorporated into German East Africa. The British attempted a failed invasion during World War I. After repulsing the British, German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck began a guerilla campaign. After the war, the League of Nations made the area a British Mandate with the exception of a small area given to Belgium that became Burundi and Rwanda.
In 1961, British rule ended when the country transitioned to independence relatively peacefully. The Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) was the leading political organization in Tanzania.
Julius Nyerere, who formed the TANU, became the Prime Minister at independence. Soon after taking power, he committed to Pan-African socialism. Large industries and banks were nationalized.
When the Arab dynasty in Zanzibar was ousted in the Zanzibar Revolution, it merged with Tanganyika to form Tanzania in 1964.
The economy faltered in the late 1970s. Tanzania aligned with China in exchange for aid.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, the government borrowed from the IMF and instituted some reforms. The GDP and per capita income grew.
Members of the National Assembly and the president are elected by popular vote for five year terms. The prime minister is appointed by the president. The president chooses the cabinet from the members of the National Assembly. The president is also permitted to nominate ten non-elected parliament members. One party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Party of the Revolution), dominates the state and is in power.
The National Assembly is unicameral and has 295 members. These include the Attorney General and five members from Zanzibar’s House of Representatives. 20 percent of the seats are reserved for women. Chama Cha Mapinduzi holds 93 percent of the seats. Laws related to certain designated union matters are valid in Zanzibar.
In Zanzibar, its House of Representatives have jurisdiction over all matters not related to the union. It has 76 members with 50 of them elected by the people, ten appointed by Zanzibar’s president, five ex officio members, and the attorney general. 15 seats are allotted for women. The members of the House and the President of Zanzibar serve five year terms.
There are five levels of the judiciary that combine Islamic, British, and tribal systems of law. From the primary courts, appeals go to the district courts, magistrate courts, high courts, and the Court of Appeals. The Chief Justice of Tanzania appoints the judges except those on the High Court and the Court of Appeals, whom the president appoints. The system in Zanzibar has a similar system, with the exception of Islamic and constitutional issues which are appealed to the union’s courts.
Know about the Economy of Tanzania as you go for your Tanzania Tours
Tanzania’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.1% in 2017 according to official statistics. Official release of quarterly 2018 growth data is pending due to an on-going GDP rebasing exercise. Growth in 2017 was supported by expansion in both the industrial and agriculture sectors. Improvement in infrastructure and relatively stable power supply facilitated the expansion in the industrial sector while favorable weather conditions supported increased crop production. Growth in the services sector slowed, for example in public administration as public recurrent spending was held in check.
Supported by lower food prices, the inflation rate has continued to decline, reaching 3.3% by the end of July 2018. The external balance has strengthened, with a lower current account deficit caused by a decline in imports outstripping the decline in exports. Gross foreign reserves remain high at $5.5 billion in June 2018, sufficient to cover 5.6 months of imports. Monetary policy has been accommodative, however credit growth to the private sector has remained below 5% since June 2017. The financial sector remains broadly stable with adequate capitalization and liquidity ratios.
The fiscal deficit remained low in 2017/18 at 2.1% of GDP, slightly higher than the 1.5% of GDP recorded in 2016/17. Total expenditures increased from 18.3% of GDP to 18.6% of GDP during the fiscal year, however execution of the development budget continued to be low at about 65% in 2017/18. Behind the low headline deficit, fiscal policy implementation has been challenged by a high level of central government payment arrears, topping 5% of GDP in June 2018.
Regions and Districts of Tanzania for Tanzania Holiday
There are 26 regions in the country, with 21 on the mainland and five in Zanzibar. There are also 99 districts with a local council in each. 114 councils operate in the districts. 22 are classified as city councils, town councils, or municipal courts.
Tanzania has a total area of 847,300 sq. km. The northeast is mountainous and is the location of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. The Great Lakes of Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika are in the north and west. A large plateau is situated in central Tanzania. The eastern shore’s weather is hot and humid.
There is a tropical climate in Tanzania. Temperature varies in the highlands. The hottest time periods are from November to February. There are two major rainfall seasons. The first is from December to April and the other is from October to December and has a second phase from March to May.
There is considerable wildlife habitat in the country. On the Serengeti, the white-bearded wildebeest and other similar animals migrate annually. The journey to forage during the dry seasons causes 250,000 to perish yearly. Several other endemic species also are present in Tanzania.
A Biodiversity Action Plan has been developed to address conservation.
Tanzania’s population stands at 60,445,249 million (2019), with a 7.1 percent growth rate. Distribution is uneven. Over 80 percent of the people are live in rural areas. The largest city and commercial capital is Dar es Salaam. Dodoma is the new capital and houses the parliament.
There are over 120 ethnic groups. Those with more than 1 million members are the Sukuma and Nyamwezi, the Gogo, the Haya, the Hehe and Bena, the Makonde, the Chagga, and the Nyakyusa. The Shambaa, Ngoni, and the Pare are other groups. Most Tanzanians are part of the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, which are of Bantu origins. The Maasai and Luo are from Nilotic origins. Khoisan languages are spoken by the Sandawe and Hadza people.
Indians, Arabs, and Pakistani people are also in Tanzania along with small Chinese and European communities.
The country’s population is roughly one-third each of Muslims, Christians, and indigenous religions. Religious affiliation is a sensitive topic since Tanzanians pride themselves on living together with diversity.
Most Christians are Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Seventh-day Adventists, Pentecostals, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. In Zanzibar, 97 percent are Muslim. The Muslim mainland communities are mostly in the coastal area. Most Muslims are Sunni. Other religions exist in smaller numbers and include Buddhists, Baha’is and Hindus.
Languages in Tanzania
Local languages have over taken former colonial languages in Tanzania. English is still the official language in the courts, it has recognition. Swahili is Tanzania’s unifying language. Most Tanzanians first learn their tribal language and English and Swahili are learned later.
Culture of the peoples of Tanzania
Tanzanian music varies from traditional African styles to hip hop to taarab. There are several internationally known artists from Tanzania. A distinct type of rumba music called muziki wa dansi is present in Tanzania. There are many famous writers from Tanzania.
Tanzania’s position in art is unique with two styles, Tingatinga and Makonde, becoming well known. Tingatinga involves enamel paints on canvas of animals and flowers. Makonde is a sculpture style known for Trees of Life make from ebony tree materials. George Lilanga, one of Africa’s most famous artists, is from Tanzania.
Tourist attractions in Tanzania for Tanzania Tours, Tanzania Safaris and Tanzania Holidays
Tanzania is home to some of Africa’s most famous national parks and the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro rising above the Serengeti. Most visitors will find themselves passing through Dar es Salaam and heading out on safaris and various wildlife viewing adventures.
For those who want to take a break and spend some time soaking up the sun, the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar beckon. Off Pemba and Mafia islands is a whole other kind of natural wonder, one most appreciated by the scuba divers and snorkelers who come here from around the world to experience the coral gardens, colorful fish, and crystal clear waters.
1. Mount Kilimanjaro
One of the most frequented attractions in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is home to Africa’s highest mountain peak. Unlike other parks in northern Tanzania, this one is not visited for the wildlife but for the chance to stand in awe of this majestic snow-capped mountain and, for many, to climb to the summit. Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed at any time, although the best period is from late June to October, during the dry season.
Mount Kilimanjaro, a World Heritage Sites, was formed over 1 million years ago by volcanic movement along the Rift Valley. Three points – Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi came to be about 750,000 years ago. The highest point is Uhuru Peak on Kibo, which is one of the Seven Summits of the world.
The mountain rises from farmland on the lower level to rainforest and alpine meadow and then barren lunar landscape at the peaks. The slopes of the rainforest are home to buffaloes, leopards, monkeys, elephants and eland. The alpine zone is where bird watchers will find an abundance of birds of prey.
2. Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is a vast treeless plain with thousands, even millions of animals searching for fresh grasslands. As the largest national park in Tanzania, the Serengeti attracts thousands of tourists each year. The best months for wildlife viewing are between December and June. The wet season is from March to May, with the coldest period from June to October. The annual migration of millions of zebra and wildebeest takes place in May or early June. This migration is one of the most impressive natural events and the primary draw for many tourists.
Large herds of antelope as well as lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, bat eared fox, hunting dog and jackal are also found in Serengeti National Park. Nearly 500 species of bird have been recorded on the Serengeti. Many of these are attracted to the swamp area. ‘Serengeti’ means an ‘extended place’ in the Maasai language.
Official site: http://www.serengeti.org/
3. Zanzibar Beaches
The Zanzibar archipelago consists of the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. The island of Zanzibar, also called Unguja, is a major holiday destination known for its beautiful beaches. This island has some of the best beaches in the world with varying surf depending on what side of the island you are on. Visitors will find soft white sand and clear shallow water, along with traditional boats. Stone Town is located in the heart of Zanzibar and features old Arabian townhouses, narrow alleyways and a busy port.
4. Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and one of Tanzania’s most popular wildlife viewing areas. This huge volcanic crater has a permanent supply of water which draws all kinds of animals who stay in this area rather than migrating.
Visitors come here primarily for viewing large game and bird watching, but also of interest in the conservation area is the Olduvai Gorge. This important archeological site has revealed ancient skull and bone fragments that have delivered critical information about early mankind.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact ancient caldera in the world, nearly three million years old. The Ngorongoro volcano was one of the world’s tallest mountains before it exploded and collapsed. Thousands of wild game can be seen on the crater floor, including lions, elephants, rhinos, Thomson’s gazelles, and buffaloes, but wildebeests and zebras account for over half of the animals that call the Ngorongoro Crater home.
Bird watching is superb, especially around Lake Migadi, which attracts flocks of flamingoes to the shallows. Hippos are content to submerge themselves during the day and then graze in the nearby grass in the evening.
The Olduvai Gorge is an archeological site situated on a series of fault lines, where centuries of erosion have revealed fossils and remnants of early mankind. As early as 1911, a German professor found some fossil bones while looking for butterflies in Olduvai Gorge.
In a later expedition, the Leakeys collected skull fragments, a skull, and bones determined to be approximately 2 million years old. Tools and hunting weapons from 1 to 1.5 million years ago were also discovered in Olduvai Gorge. Another exciting find were the famous footprints of a man, woman and child at Laetoli, near Olduvai. These and other discoveries provide more evidence to the theory that at least three hominid species were in this region over 2 million years ago.
5. Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is comprised of forest, woodland, grasslands, and swamps. Two-thirds of the park is covered by water and Lake Manyara is host to thousands of flamingoes, at certain times of year, as well as other diverse bird life. The highlight of Lake Manyara Park is the large population of elephants, tree-climbing lions and hippos that can be observed at a much closer range than in other parks. This park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons in the world.
Wildlife drives, canoeing (when water levels are high enough), mountain bike tours and bird watching are the most popular activities in Lake Manyara National Park.
Official site: http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/manyara.html
6. Mafia Island
Mafia Island draws divers and snorkelers from around the world to the undersea world protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park. The best months for diving are October to March but the best weather on Mafia Island is May to October, March and April are months of heavy rain. Mafia Island Marine Park has excellent coral gardens, an abundant variety of fish and a relaxed diving atmosphere. Countless birds and over 400 species of fish can be seen in the area. Mafia Island is also a traditional breeding site for the green turtle, which are unfortunately close to extinction.
Mafia is also a desirable location for deep-sea fishing, especially tuna, marlin, sailfish and other big-game fish.
This island paradise first saw settlers in the 8th or 9th C, but Mafia became a more important settlement during the 12th to 14th C when it held a key position in the East African trading routes.
Official site: http://mafiaisland.com/en/
7. Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park was established in 1970 and is best visited in the dry season from July to September when the animals gather along the river. During the dry season, Tarangire National Park has one of the highest concentrations of migratory wildlife. Wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the lagoons. One of the most noticeable highlights of Tarangire National Park is the baobab trees that dot the grassy landscape.
The park is excellent for birdwatching, with more than 300 species recorded in Tarangire. These species include buzzards, vultures, herons, storks, kites, falcons and eagles.
Official site: http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/tarangire.html
8. Pemba Island
Pemba Island is the northernmost island in the Zanzibar archipelago. Around Pemba are many desert islands and some of the best scuba diving in the Indian Ocean, with visibility that is unparalleled. Lush coral gardens, colorful sponges and sea fans are all found in the underwater haven. The city of Chake Chake, the main population center on Pemba, is a popular base for scuba divers.
Pemba is less visited than Zanzibar and as a result has a more laidback atmosphere. From December to February visitors can watch traditional bullfighting; a sign from the days of Portuguese dominance in the 16th and 17th C. The island is hilly with deep valleys so it has become popular with mountain bikers who are drawn to the 1,000-meter peaks.
Pemba is a major world clove producer and is also well known for the juju traditions of medicine and magic. People come from throughout East Africa to learn from the voodoo and traditional healers or seek a cure.
9. Stone Town
Stone Town is the cultural heart of Zanzibar and little has changed in the last 200 years. The grand old Arabian homes lining the narrow streets and winding alleys give the city its own unique charm. The majority of homes in Stone Town were built in the 19th C when Zanzibar was one of the most important Swahili trading towns in the Indian Ocean. Visitors will notice the bras-studded, intricately carved wooden doors on many of the houses.
As the world’s oldest functioning Swahili city, many of the landmarks in Stone Town have been restored to their original glory. Some of the historic buildings are now museums which can be visited. The town also has a couple of interesting old churches of historical significance.
A walk along Creek Road takes visitors to the original Stone Town area and the location of the Central Darajani Market, Beit el-Amani, City Hall, and the Anglican Cathedral. Some of the other key highlights include the Forodhani Gardens, the Old Dispensary with its carved wooden balconies, the former home of the sultans known as Beit el-Sahel or the People’s Palace, the Hamamni Persian Baths built in 1888, and the oldest structure in Stone Town, the Old Fort.
10. Selous Game Reserve
Selous is the largest game reserve in Africa. Established in 1922, it covers 5% of Tanzania’s total area. The southern area is a forbidden zone that is undeveloped, heavily forested, and contains a series of steep cliffs. Travelers are limited to the area north of the Rufiji River. This area of the Selous Game Reserve has large open grassland, woodlands, rivers, hills and plains. The best time to visit is July through October.
The Rufiji River bisects the Selous Game Reserve and has the largest catchment area of any river in East Africa. The river is an important feature of the reserve providing the opportunity to watch the diverse water-based wildlife. A broad range of game can be found including elephants, hippos and rhinos as well as buffalo, antelope, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest, lion, leopard and cheetah. The diversity of bird life in Selous includes over 350 recorded species.
11. Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park, although smaller than most in Tanzania, has a range of habitats that consist of the forest of Mount Meru, Ngurdoto Crater in the southeast section of the park, and Momela Lakes, a series of seven crater lakes. Black and white Colobus monkeys are easily spotted in the forested area while the marshy floor of the crater is dotted with herds of buffalo, zebra and warthog. Momela Lakes is home to a large selection of resident and migrant waterbirds. People come here to see wildlife and also to climb Mount Meru.
Mount Meru is one of the most beautiful volcanoes in Africa and the second highest mountain in Tanzania. The summit is reached by a narrow ridge, which provides stunning views of the volcanic cone lying several thousand feet below in the crater. The ascent is steep but the route passes through parkland, forest, a giant heather zone and moorland.
Official site: http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/arusha.html
12. Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is the least accessible park in Tanzania and as a result the landscape remains relatively untouched. Birdwatcher’s can enjoy over 400 species of bird that are not found in northern Tanzania, and the river, spectacular gorges, and majestic trees are especially appealing to photographers.
As Tanzania’s second largest park, Ruaha has large herds of buffalo, elephant and gazelle. The concentration of elephants are some of the largest in Tanzania. The Great Ruaha River is the main feature of Ruaha National Park providing magnificent wildlife viewing on the banks. The river also provides much of the electricity to Tanzania through a hydroelectric dam at Kidatu.
Official site: http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/ruaha.html
13. Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park is located in a remote location offering unspoiled wilderness. A predominant feature in Katavi is the enormous flood plain, split by the Katuma River and several seasonal lakes. The lakes support enormous groups of hippos, crocodiles and over 400 species of birds. One of the spectacles in Katavi is the hippos at the end of the dry season when as many as 200 try to squeeze into a pool of water. The male rivalry heats up causing territorial fights.
The dry season brings Katavi National Park to life, herds of impala, reedbuck, lions, zebras and giraffes can be seen at the remaining pools and streams. An estimated 4,000 elephants and several herds of buffaloes in the thousands also converge on the park when the flood waters retreat.
Official site: http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/katavi.html
14. Gombe Stream National Park
Gombe Stream National Park is primarily for those who want to get a little off the beaten track and see chimpanzees. This is the smallest national park in Tanzania and is famous for the work of Jane Goodall. This British researcher arrived in 1960 to study the wild chimpanzees and her work turned into what would become the longest running behavioral research program of its kind in the world. Guided walks take visitors into the forest to observe chimps in the wild. Many species of primates and mammals live in the park. Over 200 bird species have been recorded in the tropical forest, including barbets, starlings, sunbirds, crowned eagle, kingfishers and the palm-nut vulture.
Hiking and swimming are other popular activities; a trail leads into the forest to a waterfall in the valley.
Official site: http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/gombe.html
15. Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa and is bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This lake is the source of the White Nile and provides an income for millions of residents along its shores. The Tanzanian section of Lake Victoria is one of the least visited regions in the country, however the towns of Bukoba, Musoma and Mwanza have a number of attractions. Near Mwanza and Musoma are many islands, some have become wildlife sanctuaries. Bird watching and fishing trips are popular excursions, and boat trips or hikes can be arranged around Lake Victoria.
Rubondo Island National Park, which includes several other smaller islands, is on the southwest shores of Lake Victoria.