Full name: United Republic of Tanzania
Population: 39.3 million
Largest Cities: Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Dodoma
Area: 945,087 sq km (364,900 sq miles)
Density Population: 58.50/ km sq ( 2014 World Bank Records)
Life Expectancy: 60.34 (Male) 63.13 (Female)
Currency: The Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
GDP: $41.33 billion ( Re-based economy records in 2014 )
Government: Multiparty Parliamentary Democracy
Major Languages: Kiswahili (Swahili) and English
Major Religions: Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Traditional African
International Dialling Code: + 225
Time Zones: GMT + 3 hours
Tanzania lies just below the equator on the east coast of Africa. Being a vast area it is bordered by no fewer than 8 different countries; Kenya and Uganda to the north, Burundi, Rwanda and the Republic of the Congo to the west, and Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to the south. The east coastline of Tanzania borders the Indian Ocean with Zanzibar being a large offshore island near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, with a 5 million population.
Three Great Lakes exist within Tanzania; Lake Victoria, which is the world’s largest tropical lake, Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world, and Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest lake, formerly called Lake Nyasa.Near Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha, Mount Kilimanjaro at 5895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level is the highest mountain in Africa. Kilimanjaro is part of the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest unbroken caldera, and its stand alone feature creates one of the world’s most impressive mountain landscapes.By contrast the lower plains of Tanzania are a wildlife paradise and are now home to 16 national parks which abound with some of the most amazing wildlife to be found anywhere in the world. It is not surprising that the combination of these varied geographical features, creating so many beautiful and unique landscapes, and allowing such wildlife extremes as the great migration where 1 million wildebeest move through Tanzania’s Serengeti plains, result in Tanzania being such a sought after adventure holiday destination.
Being close to the equator, Tanzania’s climate is tropical although with land masses of considerable altitude, climatic variations are inevitable. In the lower regions temperatures rarely fall below 20'C, whilst a range of 10'C to 20'C is more appropriate for the higher regions. The hottest months are November to February while March heralds a rainy season until May. June through September are the driest months with humidity always being higher in the coastal regions,
Tanzania enjoys a very rich and diverse culture which has made a vast contribution to the development and advancement of the country. The main diversities are found across language, painting, dance, music and sculpture, with the most important of these being language where more than over 100 languages are spoken. Literature has produced eminent writers and in music the National Anthem of Tanzania ‘Mungu Ibariki Afrika’ is a very stirring experience when seen performed and clearly strengthens the unity amongst Tanzanians. Makonda sculpture has become quite famous and the Tingatinga’s unique painting style further enhances the depth of Tanzanian culture.
The people of mainland Tanzania are 99% indigenous African with 95% of these people being of Bantu stock. Within the Bantu race there are over 130 different tribes. The other 1% of Tanzanians are of Arab, Asian and European origin. The urban population makes up 22% of the population with 78% being rural.
The offshore island of Zanzibar is historically connected to Arabian immigrants so in consequence has a strong Arab population as well as some mixed Arab and African. Throughout Tanzania there is relative harmony between the ethnic groups which include Masaai, Chagga, Gogo and Hadzapi.
Tanzania has the second largest economy in the East African Community and is the 12th largest in Africa with recent growth of growth of 7.3% in 2013 up from 6.9% in 2012. Although the agriculture industry employs over half the country’s workforce, new growth areas for the economy in information technology and communications, construction and manufacturing are fuelling a shift towards a more balanced economy. The challenges of filling in the gaps in Tanzania’s infrastructure and addressing low productivity will need to be overcome to secure the country’s continued economic development. It is recognised that large rural infrastructure development to increase connectivity between rural and urban areas will diminish regional disparities.
One third of the population are Christians with another third being Muslims. Christianity was introduced by the establishment of a Franciscan mission in the city of Kilwa in the sixteenth century and over the next two centuries other missionary societies followed so that Catholic and Protestant missions were established in many areas. The Christian Council of Tanzania was founded in 1934. With some many indigenous tribes there are numerous religions in Tanzania and in many of the rural areas an animalistic religion is practised.
HISTORY & POLITICS
Tanzania is one of the oldest inhabited regions on earth boasting a prehistory that dates back more than 2 million years , a fact evidenced by the discovery of fossilised remains belonging to a pre-human species. A long period of European Colonial rule ended when Tanganyika, a British–controlled trust territory, gained independence in 1961 and Zanzibar, a British protectorate, became independent in 1963 thereby enabling the creation of Tanzania in 1964 when Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the United Republic of Tanzania. The name Tanzania is obviously drawn from the two original states. The new constitution of Tanzania proposed by the Constituent Assembly in October 2014 preserves a two government union structure with a Union Government for the mainland and Zanzibar, with a separate government for Zanzibar.
Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve is the largest single wildlife area in Africa. An area of 55,000 km sq it is bigger than Belgium, Costa Rica or Denmark.
Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is famed for its annual migration where some six million hooves pound the open plains with wildebeest, gazelle and zebra making seasonal migrations to seek out fertile feeding grounds.
Over 100 species of dung beetles and over 500 species of birds have been recorded in the Serengeti. With such an abundance of birdlife, the avid birdwatcher will delight at the chance of adding the common ostrich, the bizarre secretary bird, the colourful sandgrouse or the black eagle to his checklist.
Julius Nyerere (1922 -1999) was President of Tanzania from 1964 to 1985. It is largely accepted that the decline of Tanzania’s economy under his rule was due the imposition of his view of African Socialism. His policies led to economic decline, systematic corruption, and the unavailability of goods leading Tanzania to the brink of starvation. Since his retirement in 1985 a new democratic political approach adopted by his successors has transformed the state of Tanzania’s economy.