Destination: TANZANIA
 


Tanzania:
officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda on the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique on the south. To the east it borders the Indian Ocean.

The country's name is a portmanteau of Tanganyika, the large mainland territory, and Zanzibar, the offshore archipelago. The two former British colonies united in 1964, forming the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later the same year was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.

In 1996 government offices were transferred from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, making Dodoma the country's political capital. Dar es Salaam remains the principal commercial city.

[top]

History

What is now Tanzania was a colony and part of Germany from the 1880s to 1919. Under the League of Nations, the area became a British Mandate from 1919 to 1961. It served as a military outpost during World War II and provided financial help as well as munitions. Julius Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as Prime Minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. Tanganyika and neighbouring Zanzibar, which had become independent in 1963, merged to form the nation of Tanzania on April 26, 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Having been essentially a socialist state soon after independence, Tanzanian economic aid went hand in hand with structural adjustment conditionalities that deteriorated the nation's economy. This deterioration was due to a sudden shift to capitalism when the societal and economic framework of that nation was a socialist one. During the 80s Tanzanian GDP growth increased (due to SAPs) yet Human Development Indexes lowered. Tanzania still struggles with economic development yet its outlook is positive due to increasing natural resource exports.

[top]

Regions and districts

Tanzania is divided into 26 regions (mkoa), twenty-one on the mainland and five on Zanzibar (three on Unguja, two on Pemba). Ninety-eight districts (wilaya), each with at least one council, have been created to further increase local authority; the councils are also known as local government authorities. Currently there are 114 councils operating in 99 districts; 22 are urban and 92 are rural. The 22 urban units are further classified as city councils (Dar es Salaam and Mwanza), municipal councils (Arusha, Dodoma, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Morogoro, Shinyanga, Tabora, and Tanga) or town councils (the remaining eleven communities).

Tanzania's regions are: Arusha · Dar es Salaam · Dodoma · Iringa · Kagera · Kigoma · Kilimanjaro · Lindi · Manyara · Mara · Mbeya · Morogoro · Mtwara · Mwanza · Pemba North · Pemba South · Pwani · Rukwa · Ruvuma · Shinyanga · Singida · Tabora · Tanga · Zanzibar Central/South · Zanzibar North · Zanzibar Urban/West

For regions ranked by total area, land area and water area, see List of Tanzanian regions by area.

[top]

Geography

At 364,875 mi² (945,087 km²), Tanzania is the world's 31st-largest country (it comes after Egypt). It is comparable in size to Nigeria, and is slightly more than twice the size of the U.S. state of California.

Tanzania is mountainous in the north-east, where Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, is situated. To the north and west are the Great Lakes of Lake Victoria (Africa's largest lake) and Lake Tanganyika (Africa's deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish). Central Tanzania comprises a large plateau, with plains and arable land. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the island of Zanzibar lying just offshore.

Tanzania contains many large and ecologically significant wildlife parks, including the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park in the north, and Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi National Park in the south. Gombe National Park in the west is known as the site of Dr. Jane Goodall's studies of chimpanzee behavior.

The government of Tanzania through its department of tourism has embarked on a campaign to promote the Kalambo water falls in south-west Tanzania's region of Rukwa as one of Tanzania's many tourist destinations. The Kalambo falls are the second largest in Africa and are located near the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika.

[top]

Environment

Tanzania has considerable land area of wildlife habitat, including much of the Serengeti plain, where the white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi) and other bovids 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.

Languages

Tanzania has more than 126 tribes and each ethnic group has its own language. No language is de jure official, but Swahili is the de facto official national language, used for inter-ethnic communication and for official matters. After gaining independence, English, the language of colonial administration during the era of British rule, was still used for some official issues, and was thus considered de facto official alongside Swahili. As official usage of English has greatly diminished during the first thirty years following independence, and it was more common to regard Swahili as the only de facto official language. However the political reforms which turned Tanzania away from a closed and socialist environment and a centrally planned economy inevitably resulted in a dramatic opening up of the country. The attendant growth of the private sector and new investment has resulted in English having increasing importance, and there are many schools in which English is the medium of instruction. Universities all use English as the medium of instruction, which often causes problems for students who have previously only taken English as a subject in school. Other spoken languages are Indian languages, especially Gujarati, and Portuguese (both spoken by Mozambican blacks and Goans). Historically German was widely spoken during that colonial period, but few remain alive who remember that period.

[top]

Culture

The music of Tanzania stretches from traditional African music to the string-based taarab to a distinctive hip hop known as bongo flava. Famous taarab singers names are Abbasi Mzee, Culture Musical Club, Shakila of Black Star Musical Group. Internationally known traditional artist are Bi Kidude, Hukwe Zawose and Tatu Nane.

Tanzania has its own distinct African rumba music where names of artists/groups like Tabora Jazz, Western Jazz Band, Morogoro Jazz, Volcano Jazz, Simba Wanyika,Remmy Ongala, Ndala Kasheba, NUTA JAZZ, ATOMIC JAZZ, DDC Mlimani Park, Afro 70 & Patrick Balisidya, Sunburst, Tatu Nane and Orchestra Makassy must be mentioned in the history of Tanzanian music.

Tanzania has many writers. The list of writers' names includes well known writers such as Godfrey Mwakikagile, Mohamed Said, Prof. Joseph Mbele, Juma Volter Mwapachu, Prof. Issa Shivji, Jenerali Twaha Ulimwengu, Prof.Penina Mlama, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Adam Shafi, Dr. Malima M.P Bundala and Shaaban Robert.

[top]


Member of:
   

   
 
 
© 2006-2010. Safina Tours and Safaris Ltd. Powered by SAFINA TOURS.