Land of Safaris and Kilimanjaro
Tanzania can truly claim to be the home of "safari" since the word is Kiswahilli for a journey. And there's no better place to enjoy the enriching wildlife experience than Tanzania. The country's game viewing experiences are widely regarded as the best in Africa.
It's the place to see seemingly endless herds of wildebeest and zebras trekking across the plains on their annual migrations followed by the predators, lion, cheetah and hyena. It's elephant country, boasting some of the largest populations in the world.
And it's home to chimpanzees, now so rarely seen in the wild.
Tanzania boats beautiful beaches end hundreds of miles of palm-fringed sands; its lakes are huge and bountiful with fish; its cities are relaxed and friendly; its islands, Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia, live up to their exotic images. Yet this, the largest country in Eastern Africa, is untouched by the holiday making hordes of mass tourism.
The remains of one of the earliest humans were discovered in Tanzania, so the country can lay claim to the title, "The Cradle of Mankind".
The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest crater in the world, a vast amphitheater teeming with game; while the snowcapped majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro inspired Hemingway to write a novel.
It was in Tanzania that Stanley uttered those famous words, "Dr. Livingstone I presume" when he tracked down the Scottish explorer after a long trek into the interior. Indeed, Tanzania was a magnet for several Victorian explorers who made epic journeys of discovery in search of the source of the Nile.
Tanzania is the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The United Republic of Tanzania was formed in 1964 when Tanganyika on the African mainland united with the offshore Island State of Zanzibar.
The Republic lies on the east African coast between 1° and 11°45' South, and 29°20' and 40°35' east. Kenya and Uganda border it to the north; Rwanda, Burundi and Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south.
Dodoma, its political capital is in the center of the country.
Dar Es Salaam, the economic capital is on the coast.
Tanzania covers an area of 945.166 sq. km (364.929 square miles). It is one of the largest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, larger than Kenya and Uganda combined. To put it in a European context, Tanzania is about 41/2 times the size of Britain; in an American context, it's about 11/2 times the size of Texas.
The total population of Tanzania is about 45 million (2012 estimate), of which roughly 1,303,569 live on Zanzibar. Apart from the towns the most densely populated areas tend to be the highlands, especially those around Lake Nyasa and Kilimanjaro.
There are estimated to be 120 linguistic groups in Tanzania None exceeds 10% of the country's total population. The most numerically significant groups are the Sukoma of Lake Victoria, the Hehe of Iringa, the Gogo of Dodoma, the Chagga of Kilimanjaro and the Nyamwezi of Tabora.
Like most things in Tanzania, the weather is greatly dictated by geographic location. Rains, humidity levels and temperatures vary throughout the country. Most parts of Tanzania (with the exception of the central plateau) experience two rains during the year, separated by a dry season having an average length of five-and-a-half months.
The "long rains" usually occur from March until May, while the "short rains" generally arrive around the month of October and continue falling until December.
Large sections of the country are virtually impossible to navigate once the rains arrive (although the scenery, as a result of the luxuriant regeneration of plant life and trees, is magnificent and can be well worth the time and effort). It is advisable to make use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle at this time of year.
The coastal area is hot and humid for most of the year, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 °C (68-86 °F). Weather conditions are determined by monsoon winds, which blow from north to east from October to February, and south to east for the rest of the year. The average humidity is 78%.
The dry season savannah of Tanzania's central plateau receives rainfall only once a year and is generally warm and dry with temperatures averaging 27 °C (81 °F). Highland zones in the Northeast (Kilimanjaro, Pare and Usambara), east (Uluguru) and south (Livingstone, Poroto, Rungwe) of the country are quite pleasant with balmy clear days. March is usually the warmest month, with an average temperature of 21 °C (70 °F), while June is the coolest with an average temperature of 15 °C (59 °F). Evenings and mornings throughout the year can be quite chilly and it is advisable always to have a warm sweater or jacket at hand.
Visas are required for all, except citizens of the Commonwealth, Scandinavian countries and the Republic of Ireland. Before departure, you can obtain a visa from the Tanzanian Embassy. You can also get your visa at the major entry points such as Dar Es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar International Airports, Namanga, Tunduma, Holili, Taveta, Sirari and Horohoro.
Yellow fever vaccination: recommended on the mainland and compulsory in Zanzibar. Visitors are advised to take anti-malaria tablets for beach holidays. Contact your doctor before departure. Personal insurance is advised.
After independence Tanzania became one of the most staunchly socialist countries in Africa, but since the mid-1980s there has been a swing to free market Systems. Tanzania is considered to be one of the five poorest countries in the world, with a per capita GNP of US$1 50 (1990). Less than 10% of the workforce is in formal employment; most Tanzanians have a subsistence lifestyle. The country's major exports are coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, sisal, tobacco, tea and diamonds. Zanzibar and Pemba are important clove producers. Gold, tin and coal are also mined.
KiSwahili and English are the official languages. Little English is spoken outside of the larger towns, but most Tanzanians speak KiSwahili.
The unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (pronounced Shillings), which is divided into 100 cents. The rate of exchange in June 2013 was around US$ 1.00 = TSH 1,600 and 1 Euro = 2.100 TSH.
Traveler cheques are exchangeable in some places. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels but it is advisable to carry cash.
Tanzania is three hours ahead of GMT.
Tanzania's power system is 230 volts AC, 50 Hz. Plugs are both round two-pin and square three-pin, with the square pin being the more predominant. Hotels, lodges and tented camps usually have sockets in the tents; sometimes they only have them in common areas or offices for visitors to charge their batteries.
Three international airports: Dar Es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. Several international airlines connect Tanzania with the rest of the world.
For safaris in the north, during the day, light clothing. Sturdy shoes are recommended. Canvas hats. At night casual wear with a light cardigan or a pull over (for altitudes between 1.500 m in Arusha and 2.400 m in Ngorongoro). On the coast summer wear. For Kilimanjaro or other treks, check at our Nepali website. To bring sunscreen, lotions, sunglasses, mosquito cream and binoculars.
There are a variety of foods. You'll find international cuisine in the hotels, restaurants and lodges. On the coast fish and lobsters with local dishes such as biryanis and meat or fish curries. Specialties: spiced tea or coffee and "halua", a sweet desert with almonds
The protection of nature is everyone's concern. On safari, do not collect or buy bones, skins, horns, teeth, feathers or shells. And on the coast do not bring back coral, shells or starfish, which play an important role in the fragile ecosystem. Do not litter where others are expected to visit.
The protection of cultures is also everyone s concern The guides know the local habits and customs. It is always advisable to ask someone's permission before taking his/her photograph.
Locally made products are available at good prices. On the mainland, you can find batiks, the Tingatinga paintings, objects in ebony (cutters, bracelets, sculptures, furniture), basket work (baskets, hats, rugs), beaded Maasai necklaces, precious jewels (gold, diamonds tanzanites and other stones). In Zanzibar, you can find textiles (wrap-a rounds - kikol for men and khanga for women), carved chests, perfumes, natural lotions and spices.
Places To Visit
The Arusha National Park is situated about 25 km east of Arusha and 58 km west of Moshi. The Arusha National Park is one of the smallest parks of Tanzania but one of most beautiful and topographically varied. It encompasses three varied zones: in the west the highland montane forest of Mount Meru, where black and white colobus and blue monkeys can be spotted; in the southeast the Ngurdoto crater, a small volcanic crater inhabited by a variety of mammals; in the northeast the Momela lakes, a series of seven alkaline crater lakes, habitat of a large number of water birds. The Arusha National Park was established in 1960. The film Hatari was made here in 1962 by Howard Hawks. The parks cover an area of 137 sq. km and rises from 1.524m at the Monela lake to 4.572m at the peak of Mount Meru. The Arusha National Park contains many animals including giraffe, elephant, hippo, buffalo, rhino, colobus monkey, bush buck, red forest duiker, reed buck, waterbuck and warthog. There are no lions in the park. Also a numerous number of birds are found in the park like: pelicans, ibis, flamingo, grebes, cormorants etc..
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, so can truly be regarded as the roof of Africa. "As wide as all the world, great, high and unbelievably white," was Ernest Hemingway's description in his book, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro". Its outstanding features are its three major volcanic centers, Shira in the west, Mawenzi in the East and the snowcapped Kibo in the middle.
The Ngorongoro Crater, at 2,286 m. above sea level, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Surrounded by very steep walls rising 610 meters from the crater floor, this natural amphitheater covers an area of about 260 sq. km - that's 100 sq. miles - and is home to up to 25,000 larger mammals, almost half of them zebra and wildebeest.
There are also gazelle, buffalo, eland, hartebeest and wart hog. Such vast numbers attract predators a plenty, mainly lion and hyena but also cheetah and leopard. More than 100 species of birds not found in the Serengeti have been spotted here. Countless flamingos form a pink blanket over the soda lakes.
The crater has been declared a World Heritage Site. The Ngorongoro Crater lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 8,000 sq. Km. Lake Eysai bound it in the Southwest and the Gol Mountains in the north. Roughly in the center are the Olbalal Swamp and the arid Olduval Gorge.
The Serengeti National Park is arguably the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world. "Serengeti" means "endless plains" in the Masai language, and within its boundaries are more than three million large mammals. About 35 species of plains animals can be seen here including the so-called "big five" - elephant, rhino, lion (more than 2,000 of them), leopard and buffalo. In May or early June, huge herds of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra begin their spectacular migrations. In their wake follow the predators; lion, cheetah and hunting dogs with vultures circling overhead. Other common species found here include hippo, giraffe, eland, impala and other antelope types, baboons, monkeys and a profusion of almost 500 bird species.
Also comparatively close to Arusha (120 km away) is the Tarangire National Park which gets its name from the river that threads its way through the length of the reserve.
It is famous for its dense wildlife population, which is most spectacular between June and October, the dry period. During this time thousands of animal's - wildebeest, zebra, eland, elephant, hartebeest, buffalo and fringe eared oryx - migrate from the dry Masai steppe to the Tarangire River looking for water. Lion and other predators follow the herds.
Most famous spectacle in the Lake Manyara National Park are the tree-climbing lions which spend most of the day spread out along the branches of Acacia trees six to seven meters above the ground. Nestling at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment the park is noted for its incredible beauty. As visitors enter the gate they pass into the lush forest, home to troops of baboons and blue monkeys.
Further along, the forest opens up into woodlands, grassland, swamps and beyond, the soda lake itself, covering 390 sq. km and sanctuary to over 350 species of bird including flamingo, pelican, storks, sacred ibis, cormorants and Egyptian goose. The park is also noted for its numerous buffalo, elephant, giraffe, impala, hippo and a great variety of smaller animals.
This alkaline lake is situated at the Kenyan border on the bottom of the Gregory Rift part of the Great Rift Valley and about 250 Km from Arusha. It is surrounded by escarpments and volcanic mountains, with a small volcano in the north end of the lake in Kenya, and a larger volcano (Ol Doinyo Lengai 2.886m) to the Southeast of the lake. The lake measures 56 km long in the north/south axis by 24 km wide. Lake Natron has no outlet so his size varies according to the rainfall. This lake is known for the huge flocks of flamingos that gather at certain parts of the lake at the end of the rainy season.
Lake Eyasi is a salt lake situated at about 1.000m between the Eyasi escarpment in the north and the Kidero mountains in the south. He is sometimes referred to as the forgotten lake. It is larger than the Natron and Manyara Lake and is situated on the remote southern border of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Two ancient tribes inhabit this area; the Hadzabe(Tindiga) and the Iraqw (Mbulu). The Hadzabe are hunter-gatherers and still live in nomadic groups. They hunt with bows and arrows and gather tubers, roots and fruits. Their language resembles the click language associated with the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. The Iraqw's are a people of Cushitic origin who arrived about 2.000 years ago, as well as Masaai and various Bantu groups.
Zanzibar Just the name, Zanzibar, evokes dreams of romance and mystery. And the reality will not disappoint the traveler bored with mass tourism, seeking and enlightening and enjoyable holiday experience. Zanzibar, the name includes the main island, Unguja, and its sister island, Pemba - has for centuries attracted seafarers and adventurers from around the world. Now it welcomes a new generation of explorers, those who have come to marvel at the rich heritage, reflected in the architecture and the culture of the people. For this is where Arabia meets Africa. Visit ZanzibarŐs historic Stone Town, where the sultans once ruled. Relax on one of 25 dazzling white, palm-fringed beaches, where the azure waters of the Indian Ocean beckons swimmers, divers, fishermen and water sport enthusiasts alike. Breathe in the fragrant scents of cloves, vanilla, cardamom and nutmeg, and discover why Zanzibar is called "The Spice Island". Explore the forests, with their rare flora and fauna. Or visit some of the ancient, archaeological sites. Spend a few days here after a safari on the African mainland, or better still allocate a week or two and immerse yourself in the magic that is Zanzibar.