The Republic of Tanzania covers an area of 945,087 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by Kenya, to the northwest by Uganda, and to the west by Rwanda , Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On the south Tanzania borders Zambia and Malawi and to the Soth East it is bordered by Mozambique. Tanzania also has a long coastline bordering the Indian Ocean. Included in the Republic of Tanzania is the well known holiday Island of Zanzibar.
Tanzania has two main principal cities. Dares Salaam is the commercial capital while Dodoma is the political capital. Because of its sheer size, communication is a challenge. Tanzania has addressed this matter by operating internal flights to many other domestic cities including Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Mwanza, Mtwara, Lindi, Kilindonu Mafia,Tanga, Moshi, Tabora and Iringa . In Zanzibar the major cities are Zanzibar and Chaka Chaka.
Tanzania has a population of about 37.8 million people. The main national language is Swahili while English is the official language for commerce
Tanzania has a dry, warm and pleasant tropical climate throughout the year, but there are areas such as the highlands of Moshi that are cool all year round. The coastal strip and Islands of Zanzibar are generally very hot and humid. In general climate is determined by the time of the rains in Tanzania. March to May are the wettest months both in the mainland and in the island of Zanzibar. These are the months of the long rains. Also wet are the months of October and November. This is not a good time to plan a holiday. If you will be visiting these months, make sure you have a good pulse oximeter in your travel bag.
Visa and Health Requirements
Visitors to Tanzania need a valid visa which can be obtained from the Tanzania embassies located in most countries of tourist origin. It advisable that visitors obtain the visit visas before departure.
In addition to the valid visas, all visitors to Tanzania need Yellow Fever vaccinations. These must be given in good time before departure and a certificate to the effect entered in the Health Certificates. Visitors will not be permitted to enter Tanzania without a Yellow Fever Certificate.
Visitors also advised to take malaria prophylaxis in the required doses, prior to travel , during their stay in Tanzania and also after they leave the country. Please consult your doctor if in doubt about the right dosages.
Tanzania is a well respected tourist destination in Africa with a large part of its land mass devoted to wildlife conservation. Thousands of tourists come to Tanzania every year to visit its world famous game parks – Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater , Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Selous Game Reserve. Other thousands come to Tanzania for adventure especially to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. For the more romantically inclined, the white sandy beaches of Zanzibar has attracted thousands of holiday makers as an idyllic tropical paradise and a honeymooners favourite. More information on the Wildlife Parks is given below:
THE NATIONAL PARKS
Serengeti National Park
“Serengeti Shall Not Die” so goes the name of the epic film that first brought the abundance of Serengeti’s wildlife to international fame. Covering an area of nearly 15,000 sq Kms, Serengeti is the largest park in Tanzania extending to Kenya border where it is mirrored by Kenya’s Maasai Mara. These two wildlife parks are world famous for the Annual migration – the unique natural phenomenon, that is responsible for millions of wildebeest (and zebras)leaving their home in Serengeti to travel in single file across hundreds of miles into Kenya’s Maasai Mara followed in close pursuit by lions and other predators for which Serengeti is famous.
Another natural phenomenon, equally awesome is Norongoro Crater, the world largest caldera with a base measuring nearly 20 square kilomtres. Inside this crater a great variety of animals are to be found in a natural and diverse landscape containing forests, swamps, lakes, grasslands etc. Ngorongoro is one of Africa’s most visited tourist sites and a must in Tanzania’s tourist circuits.
Lake Manyara National Park
One of the lakes of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara is especially famous for tree its climbing lions as well as a proliferation of hippos in its waters.
Tarangire National Park
The park stretches from the Tarangire River and borders Lake Manyara. It is famous as a place to which thousands of game migrate during the dry months of June when the rest of the plains are dry and without water. Lions, Elephants, Buffalo, The greater kudu as well thousands of other plains-game are found in this park. A great variety of birds are also found in this park..
Kilimanjaro National Park
In 1989, UNESCO declared Mt Kilimanjaro National Park, a world heritage site. Inside this park is the snow covered Mt Kilimanjaro , the tallest mountain in Africa. Sitting astride the border between Kenya and Tanzania Mt Kilimanjaro can be accessed throughout the year from either of the two neigbouring East African countries. The largest part of the mountain is however in Tanzania and many adventure tourists arrive every year from all over the world to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.
The mountain has three peaks and climbers can either choose to reach Shira peak, the lowest at 3,962m, followed by Mawenzi peak at 5,149m or the highest and most sought after peak, Kibo at 5,895m.. There are five climbing major routes namely Rongai route, Umbwe Route, Lemosho route, Marangu route, and Machame route. Attractions en-route to the summit include meadows dense rainforests, meadows and glades, alpine forests and glaciers on the twin peaks.
Iniatially a separate country, the Island of Zanzibar was united with mainland Tanganyika to form a new country, the Republic of Tanzania. Known in the early years as a market for the infamous slave trade, Zanzibar is now famous for its spices also a feature of its past as well as for its tourism. Stone Town is Zanzibar’s old city, a place of narrow alleys where the inhabitants live still very much as they did in the 15th century and where today you will find shops laden to the brim with crafts, depicting its rich past- intricately decorated doors, carved wooden chests trinkets, old jewelry and pottery. At regular intervals within Stone Town are to be found remnants of richly decorated old palaces and buildings of great beauty, many of which are either Museums or have been converted to the much sought after international hotels. Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located about 30 or minutes drive from Stone Town are the breathtaking beaches of Zanzibar, one of the most visited holiday destinations in the world. An all time favourite is to combine a safari in one or all the parks in Tanzania with a beach wind down in Zanzibar.
Finally a visit to Zanzibar is considered incomplete without visiting the famous Spice Plantations which have from time immemorial provided Zanzibar with its economic power and were the source of the immense riches of its past rulers.