Tanzania /ˌtænzəˈniːə/, officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa in the African Great Lakes region. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country’s eastern border is formed by the Indian Ocean. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is in northeastern Tanzania.
The head of state is President Jakaya Kikwete, elected in 2005. Since 1996, the official capital has been Dodoma in central Tanzania, where the National Assembly and some government offices are located. Dar es Salaam remains Tanzania’s principal port and commercial city and is the main location of most government institutions.
Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
According to the 2012 census, the total population was 44,928,923. The under 15 age group represented 44.1 percent of the population.
The population distribution in Tanzania is extremely uneven. Most people live on the northern border or the eastern coast, with much of the remainder of the country being sparsely populated. Density varies from 12 per square kilometre (31/sq mi) in the Katavi Region to 3,133 per square kilometre (8,110/sq mi) in the Dar es Salaam Region.
Approximately 70 percent of the population is rural, although this percentage has been declining since at least 1967. Dar es Salaam (population 4,364,541) is the largest city and commercial capital. Dodoma (population 410,956), located in the centre of Tanzania, is the capital of the country and hosts the National Assembly. Other large cities include Mwanza (population 706,543), Arusha (population 416,442), Mbeya (population 385,279), and Morogoro (population 315,866).
The population consists of about 125 ethnic groups. The Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Chagga, and Haya peoples have more than 1 million members each. Around 99 percent of Tanzanians are of African descent, with small numbers of Arab, European, and Asian descent. The majority of Tanzanians, including the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, are Bantu. The Nilotic peoples include the nomadic Maasai and Luo, both of which are found in greater numbers in neighbouring Kenya.
The snowcapped Uhuru Peak.
Travel and tourism contributed 12.7 percent of Tanzania’s gross domestic product and employed 11.0 percent of the country’s labor force (1,189,300 jobs) in 2013. The sector is growing rapidly, with overall receipts rising from US $1.74 billion in 2004 to US $4.48 billion in 2013, and receipts from international tourists rising from US $1.255 billion in 2010 to US $1.880 billion in 2013. In 2012, 1,043,000 tourists arrived at Tanzania’s borders compared to 590,000 in 2005. The vast majority of tourists visit Zanzibar or a “northern circuit” of Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and Mount Kilimanjaro. In 2013, the most visited national park was Serengeti (452,485 tourists), followed by Manyara (187,773) and Tarangire (165,949). According to a 2013 published report, around 600,000 persons visit the NCA annually, earning 56 billion Tanzanian shillings in 2012.
The ‘Northern Circuit’ is the home of the Kilimanjaro, the highest volcano on the planet measuring 5,895 meters. Surrounded by beautiful rainforest, it is worth touring the volcano! You will also discover the colorful life of the Serengeti as well as Lake Manyara National Park, Arusha National Park and Tarangire National Park.
The Ngorongoro Crater, often nicknamed the Africans Eden, offers the spectacular opportunity to observe the life and survival of the wildlife of Tanzania. The Olduvai Gorge is also worth a visit where the remains have been found of human like creatures which have been estimated to be 2 million years old!
The Southern Circuit is the hidden treasure of Tanzania’s authentic Africa. The national parks and wildlife reserves are enormous with a higher concentration of wildlife than anywhere else on the African continent. Not to be missed is the Selous Game Reserve which spans over 50.000 square meters and offers spectacular sights throughout. Ruaha National Park gives you the opportunity to observe the many different wild animals that live in and around the River Ruaha. This river is the sole life source of the area, responsible for the life of all animals and plants. Gombe Stream is the smallest National Park in Tanzania however it is very special due to the large groups of jolly Chimpanzees who will happily entertain any visitors.
But there is more to discover! A visit to the local population will complete your Safari when you can see for yourself how they live, what their houses look like and what their habits and traditions are.
Tanzania has considerable wildlife habitat, including much of the Serengeti plain, where the white-bearded wildebeest and other bovid participate in a large-scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. Tanzania is also home to 130 amphibian and over 275 reptile species, many of them strictly endemic and included in the IUCN Red Lists of different countries.
Tanzania has developed a Biodiversity Action Plan to address species conservation. A recently discovered species of elephant shrew called Grey-faced Sengi was filmed for the first time in 2005, and it was known to live in just two forests in the Udzungwa Mountains. In 2008, it was listed as “vulnerable” on the 2008 Red List of Threatened Species. Lake Natron in northern Tanzania is the largest breeding site for the threatened Lesser Flamingo, a huge community of which nest in the salt marshes of the lake. Areas of East African mangroves on the coast are also important habitats.
The population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups, of which the Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Chagga, Nyakyusa, Haya, Hehe, Bena, Gogo, and the Makonde have more than 1 million members. Other Bantu peoples include the Pare, Zigua, Shambaa, and Ngoni. The majority of Tanzanians, including the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, are Bantu. Cushitic peoples include the half million Iraqw. Nilotic peoples include the nomadic Maasai and Luo, both of which are found in greater numbers in neighbouring Kenya. The Sandawe speak a language that may be related to the Khoe languages of Botswana and Namibia, while the language of the Hadza, although it has similar click consonants, is a language isolate.