Tanzania officially the United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Uganda to the north; Kenya to the northeast; the Indian Ocean to the east; Mozambique and Malawi to the […]
officially the United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Uganda to the north; Kenya to the northeast; the Indian Ocean to the east; Mozambique and Malawi to the south. Zambia to the southwest; and Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is in northeastern Tanzania. According to the United Nations, Tanzania has a population of 63.59 million, making it the most populous country located entirely south of the equator.
Tanzania’s population is composed of about 120 ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. The sovereign state of Tanzania is a presidential constitutional republic and since 1996 its official capital city has been Dodoma where the president’s office, the National Assembly, and all government ministries are located.
Tanzania is mountainous and densely forested in the north-east, where Mount Kilimanjaro is located. Three of Africa’s Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania. To the north and west lie Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika, the continent’s deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish. To the south lies Lake Malawi. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the Zanzibar Archipelago just offshore. The Menai Bay Conservation Area is Zanzibar’s largest marine protected area. The Kalambo Falls, located on the Kalambo River at the Zambian border, is the second-highest uninterrupted waterfall in Africa.
The name “Tanzania” was created as a clipped compound of the names of the two states that unified to create the country: Tanganyika and Zanzibar. creating the phrase “sail in the wilderness”.
Mainland Tanzania is home to an exceptionally rich array of wildlife. Large herds of hoofed animals—wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, buffalo, gazelles, elands, dik-diks, and kudu—are found in most of the country’s numerous game parks. Predators include hyenas, wild dogs, and the big cats—lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Crocodiles and hippopotamuses are common on riverbanks and lakeshores. The government has taken special measures to protect rhinoceroses and elephants, which have fallen victim to poachers. Small bands of chimpanzees inhabit Gombe National Park along Lake Tanganyika. Nearly 1,500 varieties of birds have been reported, and there are numerous species of snakes and lizards.
Tanzania’s population includes more than 120 different indigenous African peoples, most of whom are today clustered into larger groupings. Because of the effects of rural-to-urban migration, modernization, and politicization, some of the smallest ethnic groups are gradually disappearing.
San-type hunting bands inhabited the country. The Sandawe hunters of northern mainland Tanzania are thought to be their descendants. By 1000 BCE, agriculture and pastoral practices were being introduced through the migration of Cushitic people from Ethiopia. The Iraqw, the Mbugu, the Gorowa, and the Burungi have Cushitic origins. About 500 CE, iron-using Bantu agriculturalists arriving from the west and south started displacing or absorbing the San hunters and gatherers; at roughly the same time, Nilotic pastoralists entered the area from the southern Sudan.
Today the majority of Tanzanians are of Bantu descent; the Sukuma—who live in the north of the country, south of Lake Victoria—constitute the largest group. Other Bantu peoples include the Nyamwezi, concentrated in the west-central region; the Hehe and the Haya, located in the country’s southern highlands and its northwest corner, respectively; the Chaga of the Kilimanjaro region, who inhabit the mountain’s southern slopes; and the Makonde, who reside in the Mtwara and Ruvuma regions of the southeast. Nilotic peoples—represented by the Maasai, the Arusha, the Samburu, and the Baraguyu—live in the north-central area of mainland Tanzania. The Zaramo, a highly diluted and urbanized group, constitute another ethnic group of considerable size and influence. The majority of the Zaramo live in the environs of Dar es Salaam and the adjacent coastline. The Zanaki—the ethnic group smallest in number—dwell near Musoma in the Lake Victoria region
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, serves as a major tourist attraction, as does the country’s network of national parks, reserves, and conservation areas, which together span some one-fourth of the country. Tanzania’s beaches and coral reefs are also attractive to tourists, and the government has increasingly marketed its coastline and encouraged diving and snorkeling
Fresh seafood, curries and biryanis dominate the Zanzibar Archipelago, where scents of coriander, coconut and cloves drift through timeworn alleys to evoke a time when the legendary Spice Island was a focal point of seafaring trade. Further inland, foods to try include sizzling streetside barbecues, filling donut-like mandazis and some exceptional Indian restaurants
coastal cities such as Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Zanzibar are great places to feast on prawns, lobsters, calamari and meaty fish such as red snapper and yellowtail tuna. Inland, charcoal-grilled whole tilapia – a freshwater fish associated with the Rift Valley lakes – is something of a specialty.
Where to try it: For informal outdoor eating in Zanzibar Stone Town, you can’t beat the oceanfront Forodhani Gardens, where a couple of dozen small stalls specialize in freshly barbecued seafood. A relaxed favorite in Dar es Salaam is Samaki Samaki – which literally, and aptly, translates as Fish Fish!
Tangy Swahili curries are usually eaten with creamy wali wa nazi (rice cooked in coconut milk). Other trademark dishes include fragrant rice-based pilau, samaki wa kupaka (grilled fish with coconut sauce), and a spicy soup called urojo. Other Swahili foods to try in Tanzania include vitambua (small pancake-like rice cakes), mkate wa kumimina (a cake-like bread made from a similar batter) and mandazis (which resemble triangular doughnuts).
Where to try it: Zanzibar is the best place for Swahili cuisine. A longstanding favorite for those on a generous budget is a lingering evening at Emerson Spice, where you’ll enjoy a Swahili seafood set menu on one of the historic Stone Town’s tallest rooftops. Other reliable favorites are the House of Spices and Beyt al Salaam.
Transport in Tanzania spans a wide spectrum, from the motorized means made possible by roads, seaports, airfields, and railways to the traditional carrying of loads by animals and people.
Several airlines, including the national carrier, Air Tanzania, provide domestic and international service. There are numerous airports throughout the country, including international airports at Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, and Zanzibar; most scheduled international flights land in Dar es Salaam.
Serengeti National Park, the Selous Game Reserve, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Kilimanjaro National Park—have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
rock-painting sites at Kondoa, the ruins of the ancient ports of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, and Stone Town in Zanzibar.
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