General Information About Tanzania

General Information About Tanzania


Today’s Tanzania, in essence, is a union of two previously independent states – Tanganyika and Zanzibar (which includes the islands of Zanzibar, Unguya and Pemba). The modern history of Tanzania has three fundamental changes in the state system from colonialism to socialism, and then to capitalism. As a result, Tanzania’s development has not been as fast-paced as that of its northern neighbor Kenya: cities have fewer modern buildings, living standards have remained virtually unchanged since Tanzania’s independence in 1961, and agricultural and tourism resources are only partially used. However, since the beginning of the 2000s, there have been some changes in the situation: roads have been partially put in order, foreign investment in tourism has increased sharply, existing hotels and lodges have been renovated and new ones have been built, including those of a high international level,


According to 800zipcodes, Tanzania is located in East Africa below (i.e. south of) the equator and has the longest coastline of any East African country. Tanzania borders Kenya and Uganda to the north, Burundi and Congo to the east, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. Most of the country’s territory is high plateaus. But Tanzania also has swamps, forests, low hills and high mountains, volcanoes and coral reefs. The Great Rift Valley runs through Tanzania.

Tanzania has two international airports – one in Dar es Salaam, the de facto capital of Tanzania, and the other in Arusha, near Kilimanjaro. All tourist programs in Tanzania begin from these cities.

Natural resources in Tanzania are quite rich: diamonds, gold, precious stones (rubies, emeralds, sapphires, tanzanites, which are mined only in this country, and many others).


The climate in Tanzania is quite dry. The big dry season starts in June and ends in October. There are fewer clouds on Kilimanjaro at this time, and the temperatures are the lowest (up to minus 10C at the top). In November and December, a “short” rainy season begins on the plain: rains of medium strength are possible every day. They tend to focus on Kilimanjaro, as it is a solitary mountain. The period from January to March is usually hot and quite dry. This is the main season for climbing Kilimanjaro, although it rains on the mountain almost every day in the afternoon for two hours. At the end of March, the main rainy season begins, which peaks in April and May, when regular heavy rains, mudslides and an increase in tropical diseases are observed. Therefore, for the May holidays, we do not recommend going to Kilimanjaro, and on safari to East Africa. If you want to go on a safari, but there is no other time, it is better to go toSouth Africa for one of our programs .


The flora and fauna of Tanzania is largely similar to that of Kenya, almost all the main animals of Africa live here, and in huge numbers. Luxury safari in national parks is recognized as one of the best in the world.


The national parks and reserves of Tanzania are second to none in the world. Geographically, the parks are located in the north and south. Northern parks such as the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Kilimanjaro are united in the so-called “Northern Ring”. The Northern Ring is more popular as a tourist route, mainly due to more developed tourist infrastructure. The “southern ring” is formed by such parks as Rungwa, Mikumi, Sedous, Ugala, Katavi and Uwanda. In recent years, the south of the country has attracted an increasing number of tourists, demand is constantly exceeding supply, hence the rise in prices.


The Serengeti is the most famous park in Tanzania, by some estimates the best in the world. Its name comes from the Masai word “siringet”, meaning “elongated platform”. For the foundation of this park in 1951, 14,763 square meters were allocated. km, and since then the Serengeti is the second largest park after Sedous Park. The Serengeti is located at an altitude of 920 to 1850 meters above sea level. Its landscape varies from long or short grass meadows in the south to savannahs in the center and forested hills in the north. And real forests are located in the western part of the park.

The Serengeti is known primarily for the annual migration of thousands and thousands of animals, especially the wildebeest, whose total population in the park is about 1.5 million individuals. During the dry season, they migrate from south to north and west, and vice versa during the rainy season. Along with antelopes, predators also migrate, for which weak and sick animals are easy prey.


The name Ngorongoro comes from the Masai word Ilkorongoro. This word was the name worn by the ancient Maasai warriors who defended this territory from invaders. The sounds of the bells that the warriors used during the battle to intimidate the enemy were similar to “koh-rohng-roh”. Hence the name Ngorongoro.

The Ngorongoro Crater formed 2.5 million years ago and is considered relatively young in Africa. It used to be a huge volcano. After the largest eruption, its top collapsed inward and formed a caldera. But the volcanic activity did not stop and small eruptions continued, as a result of which mountain peaks arose at the bottom of the caldera, which can be seen to this day. Ngorongoro was turned into a nature reserve in 1959. The crater and surrounding areas cover an area of ​​8288 sq. km. km. In 1978, this reserve was declared a world natural heritage for its beauty and significance. The crater, 16 to 19 km in diameter, has a total area of ​​265 sq. km. The edges of the crater are at an altitude of 2286 m above sea level, its bottom is 610 meters lower. Ngorongoro is often referred to as “Heaven on Earth” or “Garden of Eden”. Demand exceeds supply

The Ngorongoro Crater is unique in that over the years it has developed its own habitat for many species of animals that are unable to get out (or simply too lazy). There they are born, live, breed and die. An estimated 30,000 animals live in the crater.


The word Manyara comes from the name of the plant “emanyara”, from which the Maasai built their dwellings. The Latin name for this plant is Euphorbia tirucam.

Lake Manyara National Park was founded in 1960. It is located in the Great Rift Valley and occupies 325 sq. km, 229 of which is a lake. On the remaining small part of the land, meadows, mountains, forests and swamps are located. The lake was formed 2-3 million years ago after the formation of the Great Rift Valley, when water flows filled the valley. In place of the lake there were lowlands, which were filled with water. Approximately 250 thousand years ago, the lake had its maximum size and played a huge role in the life of local tribes and animals. The main attraction of the park is unique lions that can climb trees. These lions spend most of their lives in the trees, descending only to find food for themselves.

In addition to lions, elephants, hippos, various lowland animals, a huge number of birds, both local and migrating from other countries, live in the park.


The year of foundation of the Tarangire National Park is considered to be 1970. The park occupies 2600 square meters. km. The park got its name from the name of the Tarangire River, which flows through it.

The first thing that tourists visiting the park see is huge baobabs towering above the tall grass.

Tarangire Park is home to thousands of animals from the south of the Masai during the dry season. Wildebeest, zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, buffalo, eland and cow antelope can be seen in the park. This park has one of the largest populations of elephants in Tanzania – about 6,000.

Tarangire Park is home to about 300 species of birds and an extensive colony of tsetse flies. This is one of the few places in Africa where they have been preserved after many years of human struggle against them.


Mount Kilimanjaro was formed about a million years ago by a series of volcanic movements. Prior to that, in its place there was a flat plateau, located at a level of 600-900 m above sea level. About 750 thousand years ago, due to volcanic activity, three peaks were formed – Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi at an altitude of more than 4800 m. 250 thousand years later, Shira stopped its volcanic activity and collapsed, forming a crater. Then Mawenzi also went out. At the same time, its northeastern wall was destroyed by an explosion of enormous power. The last major eruption occurred just 200 years ago. Now Kibo is a “sleeping”, but not extinct volcano. Although Kibo resembles a snow-covered dome, it is not. In reality, Kibo contains an elliptical caldera 2.5 to 3.6 km in diameter and 180 m deep.

At the top of Kilimanjaro there are several scattered glaciers. On the southern slope, the glacier descends to a height of 4200 m, while on the northern slope it barely drops below the summit.

Kilimanjaro National Park was founded in 1973 and now occupies 756 square meters. km. The foot of the mountain is located at an altitude of 1830 m above sea level, and Kibo Peak is at an altitude of 5895 m.

The first mention of Kilimanjaro dates back to 1848. This year, the German missionary Johan Rebmen in his reports for the first time reported a mountain with a snow-capped peak, located almost on the equator. But this message was ridiculed by the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain. And only in 1889, reports of Kilimanjaro were confirmed by the German geographer Hans Meyer and the Austrian climber Ludwig Purtsheller, who conquered the snow-capped peak of Kibo. It is interesting that back in 1989 there was still a guide who accompanied the pioneers. He lived 118 years. The mountain was originally located in British East Africa (now Kenya). But then Queen Victoria gave Kilimanjaro to her cousin as a gift. The borders were moved, and the mountain began to belong to the territory of German Tanganyika. Officially allowed to make ascents to persons not younger than 12 years. The youngest conqueror of the mountain was 11 years old, and the oldest was 74 years old. Although climbing Kilimanjaro is designed for tourists, not climbers, it is not as easy as it may seem to the uninitiated. First of all, because of the lack of oxygen at high altitude. Only 30-60% of people reach the top, the rest do not ascend to the end. Climbing is usually organized by the hotel. Tourists are accompanied by a guide, porters (1 for 2-3 people) and a cook who serves the table. Cooked and specially packaged food is taken at the hotel, and not dry rations, but full lunches and dinners. The higher the category of the hotel, the better and more varied the food. Alcoholic drinks and beer are ordered and paid separately.


Dar es Salaam is the de facto capital of Tanzania, although officially the capital has been moved to Dodoma, located 480 km to the west. The name Dar es Salaam means “peaceful harbor” and was chosen by the founder of the city, Saidam Majit, Sultan of Zanzibar. The city is located at sea level and occupies about 90 sq. km. It has about 2 million inhabitants. Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania. Its rapid development began after 1961, when Tanzania gained independence. The history of the city dates back to 1857 with its founding by the Sultan of Zanzibar. German and British rule followed.

The first impression that the city makes is squalid buildings and degraded infrastructure. But there is a huge difference between the way ordinary people live and government officials, businessmen and foreigners.


The very word “Zanzibar” conjures up exotic and romantic associations. The origin of the name of the island is still debated. According to one version, the name comes from Zayn Zal Bar, which means “fair island”. According to another – from the Persian word Zenj, which is a corruption of Zang, meaning “black”, and the word Bar means shore.

In general, Zanzibar is not one island, but two: Zanzibar and Untua. The city of Zanzibar is located on the island of Untua. It’s just steeped in history.

Slave and spice trade (especially cloves) played a huge role in the history and development of Zanzibar. In the 19th century, Zanzibar was the world’s largest supplier of cloves. But the strongest hurricane of 1872 destroyed 2/3 of the plantations of cloves and coconut trees. After that, competitors from the Far East overtook Zanzibar in the production of this spice. In 1873, the slave market closed in Zanzibar. Due to its location, Zanzibar has been one of the largest trading centers in East Africa. It was visited by Assyrians, Arabs, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Dutch and Chinese. At the end of the 15th century, during his historical journey to India, the island was visited by Vasco da Gama. Subsequently, famous African explorers visited the island with their expeditions: Burton, Speke and Livingston.

The cultural center of Zanzibar is Stone Town (Stone City), founded in the 19th century by Indian merchants. Stone Town, which now has 15,000 inhabitants, is the commercial center of Zanzibar. All the traditional houses on the island are built of wicker and mud. Later, houses were built from coral limestone with the addition of laterite.


Cuisine in Tanzania is not very sophisticated. Typically, restaurants serve British dishes (soups, steaks, fried chicken, boiled vegetables, puddings and instant coffee). Asian restaurants tend to have better food, but there aren’t many of them. Food that is sold on the street in kiosks is better not to buy, because. this is associated with a health hazard. Chips and other products in factory packaging, as well as bottled drinks, do not pose a danger. Fruits and vegetables require very thorough washing with boiled water. Water from the tap and jugs in the hotel can not be drunk. For drinking, it is better to use store-bought bottled water, soft drinks and boiled water. If this is not possible, then it is necessary to use water purification tablets. Local beer is very cheap, for an amateur ($1 per liter). Along with local beer, imported from Kenya or South Africa is also sold, but it is 3 times more expensive. As for wine, the best is imported from Europe or South Africa ($6 per bottle). Local is very different in quality and taste. Therefore, you should consult with the guide what is worth buying and what is not.


The national currency is the Tanzanian shilling; 1 USD = about 1000 TSh.


When traveling to Tanzania, it is necessary to take measures against tropical malaria. In addition, a yellow fever vaccination is highly recommended. For more information  on health care in Southeast Africa  , see the article on our website  here .

In Tanzania, it is customary to tip, on average 10% of the cost.

General Information About Tanzania