Tanzania is country so wealthy that it would practically take years to document all the resources. Not only is the country proud to bear witness to the highest and largest free standing mountain in the world but also to the rich and diverse wildlife concentrations, mineral and other resources available. If Africa’s tourism opportunities were to be summarized by one single country that country would be Tanzania.
Tanzania has a tropical climate along the coast but it gets temperate in the highlands.
April & Mid – May = Long rains (Green Season)
June – Sept = Cool season
Nov – Dec = Short Rains
October – March = Hottest season
The range of Temperatures in Tanzania is fairly limited and always hot, running from 25 to 30 degrees C on the coast while the rest of the country apart from the highlands run from 22 to 27 degrees C.
Tanzania has a tropical climate but has regional variations due to topography. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F) during cold and hot seasons respectively.
The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling lower than 20 °C (68 °F). The hottest period extends between November and February (25–31 °C or 77.0–87.8 °F) while the coldest period occurs between May and August (15–20 °C or 59–68 °F).
Seasonal rainfall is driven mainly by the migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. It migrates southwards through Tanzania in October to December, reaching the south of the country in January and February, and returning northwards in March, April, and May. This causes the north and east of Tanzania to experience two distinct wet periods – the short rains (or “Vuli”) in October to December and the long rains (or “Masika”) from March to May – while the southern, western, and central parts of the country experience one wet season that continues October through to April or May.
The onset of the long rains averages 25 March and the cessation averages 21 May. A warmer-than-normal South Atlantic Ocean coupled with a cooler-than-normal Eastern Indian Ocean often causes the onset to be delayed.
Of the land area, 84.1% has a tropical wet and dry/ savanna climate (Aw), 6.9% has a semi-arid/ steppe climate (BS), 9% has a temperate/ mesothermal climate with dry winters (Cw).
Of the population, 80.5% live in a tropical wet and dry/ savanna climate (Aw), 9.5% live in a semi-arid/ steppe climate (BS), 10% live in a temperate/ mesothermal climate with dry winters (Cw)
Tanzania has a varied geography, including deep and large freshwater and salt lakes, many national parks, and Africa’s highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m or 19,341 ft)
Northeast Tanzania is mountainous and includes Mount Meru, an active volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano, and the Usambara and Pare mountain ranges. Kilimanjaro attracts thousands of tourists each year.
West of those mountains is the Gregory Rift, which is the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley. On the floor of the rift are a number of large salt lakes, including Natron in the north, Manyara in the south, and Eyasi in the southwest. The rift also encompasses the Crater Highlands, which includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Ngorongoro Crater.
Just to the south of Lake Natron is Ol Doinyo Lengai (3,188 m or 10,459 ft), the world’s only active volcano to produce natrocarbonatite lava.
To the west of the Crater Highlands lies Serengeti National Park, which is famous for its lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and buffalo plus the annual migration of millions of white bearded wildebeest. Just to the southeast of the park is Olduvai Gorge, where many of the oldest hominid fossils and artifacts have been found.
Further northwest is Lake Victoria on the Kenya–Uganda–Tanzania border. This is the largest lake in Africa by surface area and is traditionally named as the source of the Nile River. Lake Victoria covers 69,490 sq km (26,832 sq miles), which is Africa’s largest lake and 49% of it lies in Tanzania.
Southwest of this, separating Tanzania from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is Lake Tanganyika . This lake is estimated to be the deepest lake in Africa and second deepest lake in the world after Lake Baikal in Siberia, with maximum depths of 1,470m (4,821ft), and is 673km (420 miles) long and averages 50km (31 miles) across; 41% of its area lies in Tanzania. The western portion of the country between Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi consists of flat land that has been categorised by the World Wildlife Fund as part of the Central Zambezian Miombo woodlands ecoregion. Just upstream from the Kalambo Falls, there is one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa.
The Tanzanian mainland is divided into several clearly defined regions: the coastal plains, which vary in width from 16 to 64km (10 to 39 miles) and have lush, tropical vegetation; the Masai Steppe in the north, 213 to 1,067m (698 to 3,500ft) above sea level.
The centre of Tanzania is a large plateau, which is part of the East African Plateau. The southern half of this plateau is grassland within the Eastern Miombo woodlands ecoregion, the majority of which is covered by the huge Selous National Park. Further north the plateau is arable land and includes the national capital, Dodoma.
The eastern coast contains Tanzania’s largest city and former capital, Dar es Salaam. Just north of this city lies the Zanzibar Archipelago, a semi-autonomous territory of Tanzania which is famous for its spices.
The coast is home to areas of East African mangroves, mangrove swamps that are an important habitat for wildlife on land and in the water.
Tanzania has a tropical climate and different bacteria, flora and fauna than most visitors are accustomed to , so it is advisable to take a few health precautions when travelling to make sure your trip goes as comfortably and smooth as possible. Malaria is usually top on the list of visitors’ worries, and prevention goes a long way towards keeping you protected. Make sure to visit your doctor to get a prescription for the anti-malarial drug the best suit you. The yellow-fever vaccination is no longer official required when entering Tanzania; however this is still a requirement if you wish to visit Zanzibar. Other vaccination should be considered.
The best choice of vaccines for your trip depends on many individual factors, including your precise travel plans. Vaccines commonly recommended for travellers to Africa include those against Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow fever, Rabies and Meningitis.
Certificate required for entry into, or travel between, some African countries. Several of these vaccines require more than one dose, or take time to become effective. It is always best to seek advice on immunisation well in advance, if possible around 6 weeks before departure.
Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes that bite mainly at dusk and at night: every traveller to Africa needs reliable, up to date advice on the risks at his or her own destination. Prevention consists of using effective protection against bites (see below), plus taking anti-malarial medication. The most suitable choice of medication depends on many individual factors, and travellers need careful, professional advice about the advantages and disadvantages of each option. The most effective preventive drugs for travel to Africa are:
The most effective preventive drugs for travel to Africa:
Whatever your choice, you must take an anti malarial drug if you are visiting a malarial region, and you must continue taking the drug for the necessary period after your return; you must also take precautions to reduce the number of insect bites.
Visitors to malarial areas are at much greater risk than local people and long term expatriates – from malaria as from several other diseases: do not change or discontinue your malaria medication other than on skilled professional advice. Travellers to very remote places should also consider taking stand-by malaria treatment, for use in an emergency.
Other Tropical Diseases
Tropical diseases are relatively uncommon in travellers. Most of them tend to be food-borne or insect-borne, so the precautions listed above will prevent the majority of cases.
Schistosomiasis, also known as Bilharzia, is a parasitic disease spread by contact with water from lakes, rivers and streams. Regardless of any advice you may receive to the contrary by local people, and even tour guides, no lake, river, or stream in Africa is free of risk. Contact should be avoided or kept to a minimum. Chlorinated swimming pools are safe.
Rabies: In Africa, dogs are not pets: avoid handling any animal. Rabies is transmitted by bites, but also by licks and scratches: wounds need thorough scrubbing and cleansing with antiseptic, followed by prompt, skilled medical attention including immunisation. Seek advice about pre-travel rabies immunisation, especially if your trip will be a long one.
Most cases of traveller malaria occur when travellers stop taking antimalaria drugs as soon as they get home. This is dangerous – tablets should be continued as instructed (at least 4 weeks after leaving a malarial area, except for Malarone, which can be stopped after 1 week).
Symptoms of malaria – and other tropical diseases
May not appear until long after your return home – you may not necessarily associate them with your trip. Always report any symptoms to your doctor, and make sure that he or she knows that you have been to Africa, even up to 12 months after your visit. DEMAND a blood test for malaria. If you have been exposed to schistosomiasis, a blood test at least six weeks after returning home should be considered.
No responsibility can be accepted by AMREF or contributors for actions taken as a result of information contained here. Everyone is advised to seek proper medical advice where necessary before, during and after travel.
The Flying Doctor Service
In many parts of Africa access to adequate health care can mean long, tortuous journeys by road. The Flying Doctor Service operated by AMREF not only provides outreach and emergency care to local communities in remote regions, it also provides a medical air evacuation service to tourists. By joining the Flying Doctors’ Society you can help the service reach the people who need it most and also ensure a free emergency evacuation flight for yourself should the worst happen on your travels
It is believed that modern humans originate from the rift valley region of East Africa, and as well as fossilized hominid remains, archaeologists have uncovered Africa’s oldest human settlement in Tanzania.
In 1959, Dr. L. S. B. Leakey, a British anthropologist, discovered at Olduvai Gorge in NE Tanzania the fossilized remains of what he called Homo habilis, who lived about 1.75 million years ago. Tanzania was later the site of Paleolithic cultures. By the beginning of the first millennium A.D. scattered parts of the country, including the coast, were thinly populated. At this time overseas trade seems to have been carried out between the coast and NE Africa, SW Asia, and India.
By about A.D. 900 traders from SW Asia and India had settled on the coast, exchanging cloth, beads, and metal goods for ivory. They also exported small numbers of Africans as slaves. By this time there were also commercial contacts with China, directly and via Sri Vijaya (see under Indonesia) and India. By about 1200, Kilwa Kisiwani (situated on an island) was a major trade center, handling gold exported from Sofala (on the coast of modern Mozambique) as well as goods (including ivory, beeswax, and animal skins) from the near interior of Tanzania. By about 1000 the migration of Bantu-speakers into the interior of Tanzania from the west and the south was well under way, and the population there had been greatly increased. The Bantu were organized in relatively small political units.
Since the dawn of mankind, when the savannahs of east and southern Africa saw the birth of humanity, Tanzania has been home to countless peoples of many different origins. Tanzania’s history has been influenced by a procession of peoples, from the original Bantu settlers from south and west Africa to the Arabs from Shiraz in Persia and the Oman; from the Portuguese to the Germans and the British. Tanzanians took control of their own destiny with independence in 1961.
It has a population of over 26 million with 120 African ethnic groups, none of which represent more than 10 per cent of the population. The Sukuma others including the Nyamwezi, the Makonde and the Chaga of the Kilimanjaro region., the largest group, live in the north-western part of the country, south of Lake Victoria. They are fairly commercial oriented and have prospered with a mix of cotton farming and cattle herding.
Unlike in other African countries, most people identify themselves as Tanzanian first and foremost. This reflects the ideals which were introduced by the leader of the nation for over twenty years, Julius Nyerere
The Hadzabe of northern Tanzania have built a society based on hunting and gathering food, while the Iraqw live in the central highlands of Mbulu and are known for their statuesque, immobile posture and sharply delineated features. They grow their own food and tend cattle.
The Masaai, who are perhaps the most well known of East Africa’s ethnic groups, are pastoralists whose livelihood and culture is based on the rearing of cattle, which are used to determine social status and wealth.
They dominate northern Tanzania but only occupy a fraction of their former grazing grounds in the north, much of which they now share with national parks and other protected areas. They are easily recognised by their single red or blue garments and their ochre covered bodies.
North of the Masaai steppe, on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, live the Chagga, who farm the mountain side. Through cooperative farming they have achieved a fair standard of living.
Tanzania is a safe country to travel in.
Tanzanians are warm – hearted and generous people and are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Hotels are safe and have watchmen. Tanzania is a politically stable, multi-democratic country.However, as in all countries, a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still betaken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe and not walking alone at night
Wildlife of Tanzania
The wildlife of Tanzania refers to the fauna of Tanzania. Tanzania contains some 20 percent of the species of Africa’s large mammal population, found across its reserves, conservation areas, marine parks, and 17 national parks, spread over an area of more than 42,000 square kilometres (16,000 sq mi) and forming approximately 38 percent of the country’s territory.
Wildlife resources of Tanzania are described as “without parallel in Africa” and “the prime game viewing country”. Serengeti National Park, the country’s second largest national park area at 14,763 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi), is located in northern Tanzania and is famous for its extensive migratory herds of wildebeests and zebra while also having the reputation as one of the great natural wonders of the world. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, established in 1959, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and inhabited by the Maasai people. Its Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact caldera in the world.
The national parks are also part of the wetlands of Tanzania. The wild animals tend to be closer to the wetlands, particularly the water loving species such as the hippopotamus, waterbuck, common warthog, elephant, crocodile, sitatunga as well as water birds such as flamingoes and ducks.
Since the colonial era, wildlife conservation in Tanzania has been the prerogative of the government. Under this structure, the use of wildlife resources by local communities had always been restrictive, causing increased rural poverty and poaching. In recent years, the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) has initiated corrective actions to involve the local community in conservation efforts, which is aimed at contribution to local economies by way of equitable benefits sharing.