Interesting Facts About Tanzania
Located on the eastern coast of Africa, Tanzania is a hotspot tourist destination in Africa. From Serengeti National Park to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania doesn't dissapoint in what it has offer to tourists.
It is enriched with a diversity of plant and animal species, some endemic to the country. The climate in the country is not very agressive - not too cold or too hot.
A good number of documentaries exercised in the country especially wildlife has, indirectly, put Tanzania in the limelight as one of the best touristic destination's in Africa.
The most visited destinations in Tanzania are beaches, wildlife and scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Covering a landmass of 947,300 square kilometres; it is the largest country in East Africa, 13th largest in Africa and 31st largest in the world.
is bordered to the north by Uganda; Kenya to the northeast; Malawi and Mozambique to the south; Comoro islands and the Indian Ocean to the east; Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.
It is among the top 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that receives a high number of tourists. South Africa leads as the most favoured tourist destination followed by Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania at number 7.
In 2013, Tanzania was recognized as the best safari destination in Africa followed by Botswana, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The influx of tourists from 622,000 in 2006 to 1.5 million in 2018 is a testament of it being regarded as one of the most preferred tourist destination in Africa.
According to Tanzania Invest, there are 16 national parks, 28 game reserves, 44 controlled areas, 1 conserved area and 2 marine parks. Also, the organization states that Tanzania is the only country in the world which has reserved more than 25% of its total area to wildlife,n parks and protected areas.
Ninety-nine percent of Tanzania comprises of native Africans with one percent consisting of Asians, Europeans and Arabs. The Bantus are the largest ethnic group (95%) followed by the Nilotes. The other remaining ethnic groups are Cushites and Khoisans. With an estimated 120 indigenous tribes living in the country, Tanzania is a culturally-rich nation especially the renowned Maasai tribe.
Maasai people aren't the largest tribe in the nation. Their fame lies in their tradition and their location. The majority of the tribe is found in Northern Tanzania especially near national parks e.g. Serengeti National Park. The estimated population of Maasai in Tanzania is 800,000.
The largest tribe in Tanzania are Sukumu people who are Bantus. They make up about 16% of the total population. They are majorly situated in the northwest part of Tanzania. Sukuma means 'People of the north.'
Christianity and Islam are the largest religious groups in the nation.
Agricultural activities and livestock rearing are the major economic activities in the country.
The major foreign exchange for the nation is tourism.
Kiswahili and English are official languages in the country. Kiswahili is used as a medium of instruction in primary schools whilst English is used as language of instruction in secondary and institutions of higher learning.
Kiswahili is the national language and is increasingly becoming a worldwide language. It is among the top 10 widely spoken languages in the world. The language is mostly spoken in East and Central Africa.
Serengeti National Park, established in 1952, lying in Serengeti plain is one of the most famed park in Tanzania. It's at this pivotal area one can behold the exodus of the greatest migration of animals, known as The Great Migration.
The Great Migration involves more than 2 million wildebeests, hundreds of thousands of zebras, gazelles and other antelopes trekking hundreds of kilometres from Serengeti plain to Maasai Mara, Kenya in search of pasture and abundance of water.
The Serengeti plain is also home to carnivores who prey on herbivores and especially the young ones during the breeding season. They include lions, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs.
The herbivores have to brave themselves to cross the dangerous river, Mara situated in Kenya. Not only is the river deep but it's also infested with Nile crocodiles.
Serengeti National park, a UNESCO's World Heritage Site has also earned the merit as the 7th Wonder of the World.
Serengeti plain is home to a diverse species of animals. According to UNESCO, Serengeti plain is home to 2 million wildebeests, 900,000 Thompson's gazelles, 300,000 zebras, 7,000 elands, 27,000 topis, 18,000 harte beests, 70,000 bufallos, 4,000 giraffes, 15,000 warthogs, 3,000 waterbucks, 2,700 elephants, 500 hippopotamuses, 200 black rhinoceros, 10 species of antelope and 10 species of primate.
The major predators in the found therein include 4,000 lions, 1,000 leopards, 225 cheetahs, 3,500 spotted hyenas and 300 wild dogs.
Additionally, there are over 500 species of birds, either seasonal or perennial that can be sighted in the park. Only five species of the birds present in the park are endemic in the park.
It is also probable Tanzania has the largest population of ostriches in Africa.
Serengeti National Park receives about 350,000 visitors, annually. The best seasons to visit the park are in June-July and January-February.
Other national parks worth visiting are: Tarangire National Park, Ruaha National Park, Gumbe Stream National Park and Katavi National Park.
The Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) oversees all the 16 national parks that cover an area of more than 42,000 square kilometres.
The tallest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the seventh largest summit in the world. In the order from the tallest to the sixth largest, they are: Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Carstensz Pyramid.
The snow-capped mountain lies about 329 kilometres from the equator.
Kilimanjaro is the tallest free standing mountain in the world at a height of 5,895 metres above sea level. Among the tallest mountains in the world, it is the easiest mountain to climb. One doesn't have to be an experienced climber to scale the mountain or have climbing gear e.g. rope, harness and ice axe.
As to the meaning of Kilimanjaro, no one knows for sure its original meaning.
Tanzanite, one of the most sought gemstones in the world was discovered in 1967 near Merelani Hills at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The precious stone is only found in Tanzania making it a highly priced gem in the world.
The mesmerizing gemstone is the fourth most popular stone with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds leading in value.
In its natural form, untreated, one can view three distinct colours - blue, purple, brown - from different angles. As such it is known as trichroic gem.
"Tanzanite shows very strong pleochroism, which is an optical property and a term used by gemologists to describe different colours seen in the same material when viewed from different angles. The pleochroism in tanzanite is so strong it is visible by just turning the stone and viewing it through different directions without the aid of a dichroscope," states The Gemological Association of Great Britain.
The intensity of the blue colour determines the value of the gemstone. This is derived by heating it to produce the intended colour. "All Tanzanite demonstrates a striking response to lighting. Daylight brings out its true-blue hues, while incandescent light emphasizes its indigo tones. Generally, speaking, the deeper the blue a Tanzanite gemstone is, the more value it carries," states American Gem Trade Association.
© 2020 Alianess Benny Njuguna