If abundance and variety of natural resources are used as the criteria of distinguishing tourist destinations on earth then this vast East African country is second to none. It offers Africa’s highest and fifth highest mountains, the world’s largest volcanic caldera, the world’s second largest and second deepest freshwater lakes, the most famous national park in Africa, and the world’s largest game reserve. And when it comes to wildlife then the notion that Noah’s Arc ended its journey here is most probable. With over 20% of Africa’s mammals ranging across 25% of the country’s land dedicated to national parks and conservation areas- Tanzania has proved to be the best possible custodian of this great natural treasure.
Tanzania also offers the world’s greatest annual animal migration of more than two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle. More than 1,000 bird species have been recorded and many are endemic. The great lakes provide one of the world’s greatest diversity of fish species.
Serengeti, Selous, Ngorongoro Crater, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Olduvai Gorge, Maasai Steppe- These incredibly world famous places are very synonymous with Tanzania. Whoever dreams of experiencing the best of what Africa has to offer- vast plains teeming with wildlife, colourful Maasai herding their cattle alongside, thick rainforests alive with sounds of birds and monkeys, palm lined white sandy beaches along crystal clear warm waters of the Indian ocean- has to come to Tanzania.
People & Hospitality
Tanzania has a very diverse population of more than 35 million people comprising of 120 tribes speaking 100 different languages. The official languages are Kiswahili and English. Cultural diversity and different types of lifestyles makes Tanzania a great cultural tourism destination. Some prominent tribes include the Maasai, Nyamwezi, Sukuma, Haya, Nyamwezi, Hehe, Gogo and Makonde. Each of this tribe has a very fascinating lifestyle and that is a major factor contributing to the curiosity of all visiting tourists. Tanzanians are reputed to be the most hospitable and friendly of all Africans. These together with the government’s tourism friendly policies contribute greatly to the increasing tourist visitations every year. And due to this Tanzania has been predicted to be the number one tourist destination in Africa in the future.
Tanzania has over the years taken great strides in enhancing its image worldwide thereby attracting tourists from all over the world. Many international airlines have started operating flights from all over the world into the country. These include: British Airways, KLM, Emirates, Oman air, Ethiopian airlines, Kenya airways and South African airways. You can now connect to Tanzania from anywhere in the world.
The local infrastructure has also had a major facelift in recent years. Road network is improving day by day. Many scheduled domestic airlines and small charter companies have been established to provide quick and comfortable connections to the different parts of the country. Area wise circuits have been established in order to offer services in an organized way. Nowadays tourists can easily fly directly to any national park or conservation area in Tanzania. Basic, decent and luxurious lodges and tented camps have been established in most of the areas to provide adequate accommodation to all levels of tourists- from the low end to the high end.
Reliable tour operators, like ourselves, who know and specialize in this country, offer tours to all the areas in Tanzania in the most organized and economical way.
Tanzania in general has a pleasant tropical climate but due to altitude differences there are climatic variations in the different parts of the country. The coast is the hottest and the most humid, where most of the time daytime temperatures reach up to 30 degrees Celsius. Low lying areas, such as the Rift Valley floor, are also hot but far less humid. Most parts of the interior cool down significantly at night and montane areas turn very chilly at night.
Situated close to the equator makes the days and nights have equal duration. And there are very little temperature differences between the summer and rainy seasons. The months between May and September are marginally cooler compared to the months between October and April. Most of Tanzania experiences rainfall between November and May. The rainy season is divided into two periods; the short rains- mvuli, are in the months of November and December. And the long rains- masika, are from February to May.
Tanzania has a rich and fascinating history. Like other African countries it had undergone colonialization under the Arabs, Portuguese, Germans and the British. But unlike many other African countries it attained its independence quite early and without shedding any blood.
Tanzania had before colonialization been ruled by the ntemi system, which was an authoritarian rule where the ntemi chiefs were served by an advisory council. At one given point in the early 19th century there were approximately 200 ntemi chiefs, each with about 1,000 subjects.
Slave trade was rampant in the 19th century. Slaves were brought from different parts of Tanzania to Zanzibar via Bagamoyo and exported by Arabs in ships to coffee plantations in America. Slavery trade remains can be viewed even today in places like Ujiji, Bagamoyo and Zanzibar.
Many colonial names made a mark in the history of Tanzania, such as Sultan Bhargash, Sir Richard Turnbull, Carl Peters, Dr David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley, Richard Burton, Henry Speke etc. And there are historical buildings and monuments, both in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, where one can have a first hand historical experience.
Tanzania - In Brief
Geographical Position: Situated in Eastern Africa
Bordering countries: Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Burundi, Congo, Malawi
Size: 945,166 Sq kms
Population: 35 – 40 million
Languages: Over 100 local languages with Kiswahili and English as official
Time: GMT + 3 Hours
Money: Tanzanian Shilling (Tshs)
Major exports: Coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, sisal, tobacco, tea, diamonds & gold.