Facts about Tanzania

Facts about Tanzania : Tanzania is an East African country bordered by Uganda and Kenya to the north, Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo to the west, the Indian Ocean to the east, Mozambique to the south. The capital of this country is known as Dodoma which is found in its central region.


Dodoma which is Tanzania’s capital connects with the rest of the country by air, road and rail means. This city is characterized by many government buildings as well as a rich agricultural area with beautiful scenery. 

Other cities in Tanzania include Dar es salaam which is one of the large cities in Tanzania, Arusha, Moshi, Tanga, Mbeya, Morogoro, Mwanza and Zanzibar.

Languages spoken in Tanzania include Swahili and English. Swahili is widely spoken by the people of Tanzania and is also taught in schools in the country at some levels of education.

The national currency for Tanzania is the Tanzania shillings(TZS). Tanzania is in the time zone Gmt +3 and the international dialing code for this country is +255.

 Transport/ getting around

Forms of transport used in Tanzania include road, air, rail and maritime. The boat and ferry provide scenic views as you travel from one destination to another although they are sometimes overcrowded. Another option of traveling by water transport includes use of modern ferries between Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

Road transport is the commonly used form of transport in Tanzania consisting of urban and feeder roads. The road network in Tanzania is managed by the Tanzania Road Network Agency. 

Buses are also available for travel through Tanzania with comfort and minimum risk and tickets can be booked in advance from the offices ahead of the trip day for people traveling along major routes. It is also safer to travel during day to avoid inconveniences. 

Car rentals are also available for travel and can be booked with reliable companies. Trains are also used in Tanzania and they provide scenic views during trips. The trains consist of different classes such as 1st class sleeping, 2nd class sleeping, 2nd class sitting and economy class also known as 3rd class. Some trains only have 1st class, 2nd class and economy class. 

Rail transport is the second most used form of transport in Tanzania after road transport and it comprises of the central corridor between Dar es Salaam in the east linking the central and western areas of the country ad ending at Kigoma in the west.

Train lines include Tazara which links Dar es Salaam with Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia via Mbeya and Tunduma. Another train line is the Tanzania central line which passes via Tabora linking Dar es Salaam with Kigoma and Mwanza.

The central line also has stops such as from Dar es Salaam to Selous game reserve and between Tabora and Kigoma. Tickets are booked in advance for 1st and 2nd class to be able to get a seat during travel.

For people who travel by air means, Tanzania has a number of airports owned privately and also by mining companies and tour operators some of which include Julius Nyerere international airport located in Dar es Salaam and is the largest and busiest airport in Tanzania.

Water transport takes place on Tanzania’s coastline on the Indian ocean. Other lakes include Lake Victoria, Lake Nyasa and Lake Tanganyika. These sea and inland waterways are managed and operated by Tanzania ports Authority.

The Indian ocean ports include Dar es Salaam, Mtwara and Tanga. Other seaports include Lindi, Kilwa Masoko, Mafia Island, Bagamoyo, Pangani and Kwale. Countries served by these ports include Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. 

Ports on Lake Victoria include Bukoba, Kemondo bay, Musoma and Nansio. Ports on Tanganyika include Kigoma and Kasanga. Lake Nyasa ports include Itungi, Mbamba Bay, Liuli and Manda. 

Kilimanjaro mountain

Mountain Kilimanjaro is also found in Tanzania and it is Africa’s tallest mountain and is one of the seven summits of the world. This mountain provides a great opportunity for hiking to the summit which is known as the Uhuru Peak. Many tourists visit this mountain to challenge themselves with conquering the strenuous hike up to the summit.

Hiking routes on mountain Kilimanjaro include Machame route, Marangu route, Lemosho route, Rongai route, Shira route, Umbwe route. Different camps are available for the hikers as they rest before completing their climbing expeditions along these hiking routes.

National parks in Tanzania 

National parks in Tanzania include Serengeti national park, Tarangire national park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro conservation area in the northern part of the country. Other national parks in this country include Ruaha national park, Selous national park, Arusha national park, Mikumi national park, Katavi national park, Mahale national park, Gombe stream national park, Udzungwa mountains national park, Saadani national park, Mkomazi national park, Mount Kilimanjaro national park, Kitulo national park, Rubondo island national park.

Serengeti national park is among the parks in the northern circuit of Tanzania. This national park is known for great wildlife viewing opportunity and for the wildebeest migration which takes place between Serengeti and Maasai Mara national park in Kenya.

The wildebeest migration is among the seven wonders of the world which involves large numbers between Serengeti national park and Maasai mara national reserve in Kenya. This is among the spectacular sightings which can be seen during visits to Serengeti park in Tanzania.

The wildebeest move across the different sections of Serengeti national park before crossing to Maasai Mara national reserve. The sections of Serengeti national park include the western corridor, the northern section, the central area or the Seronera area.

Other wildlife species can also be seen in this national park and they include zebras, kobs, lions, leopards, giraffes, buffalo, cheetahs, and many others. Wildlife viewing takes place at different times of the day such as morning game drives, evening game drives, and night game drives.

Attractions in Serengeti national park include the Maasai people, Olduvai gorge, Moru kopjes, the retina hippo pool, the Grumeti river, and the Seronera river valley. The best time to view these attractions and to visit this national park is during the dry seasons when the wildlife viewing activity is at its best.

Ngorongoro conservation area is characterized by vast expanses of savanna plains, woodlands, and forests where the different wildlife species can be seen such as wildebeest, zebra, lions, cheetahs, elephants, buffalos, rhinos and many others.

The Ngorongoro crater area is visited for an amazing wildlife viewing experience and is home to a variety of wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, leopards, buffalos, zebras, warthogs, wildebeest, gazelles, lions and many other species due to its open grasslands.

Other national parks in the northern part of Tanzania include Tarangire and Lake Manyara national park. These national parks are also known for great wildlife viewing opportunity. Tarangire is famous for its large population of elephants which can be seen roaming the plains of the national park. 

Lake Manyara national park, on the other hand, is known for its tree-climbing lions as well as the soda ash lake which makes up part of the national park. Many baboons can also be seen during a visit to this national park. 

The coastal region of Tanzania (food and spices in Zanzibar, stone walking,)

Tanzania being bordered by the Indian Ocean has a number of coastal towns, islands, and other coastal features. Some of the known locations along the coastal area include Zanzibar.

Zanzibar is the best destination to unwind and is famous for its exotic beaches and white sand, spice plantations, historical attractions, diverse culture, blue waters, coconut and wild date palms on the Indian ocean where Africa meets Arabia.

Many tourists visit Zanzibar due to its mix of sun, sea, sand and spice with a strong history, culture and a variety of excursions for people of different ages and interests. There are also forests and isolated trees which create the perfect view on the island. Swahili is among the languages commonly spoken on Zanzibar island.

Stone walking in Zanzibar engages tourists in exploring the cultural and historical aspects of Zanzibar as they view the heritage sites, beautiful architecture, visit the churches and the old slave markets, tour the sultans home and also go shopping.

Some of the amazing tourist sites include Darajani bazaar, the house of wonders, the old fort, the Anglican cathedral where the old slave market was located, the sultan’s palace and many others. 

Best activities in Tanzania 

Tanzania is a destination which engages tourists in a variety of activities some of which include the following;

  • Game viewing takes place in different national parks around Tanzania where tourists can see a variety of wildlife species which include the big five which includes elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalos and many other species such as giraffes, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, cheetahs, rhinos, hyenas, gazelles, chimpanzees and many others. Different bird species can also be seen at birding spots around the country and bird species include black crakes, ashy starling, banded green sunbird, Fischer’s love bird, Iringa Akalat, Kilombero weaver and many others. Game viewing takes place at different times of the day such as morning game drives, night game drives, full-day game drives and evening game drives. Morning game drives provide higher chances for spotting the wildlife species as they are more active during this time of day. Full day game drives make it easier to see the wildlife species at different times of day which widens the chances of seeing the wildlife. Night game drives make it easy for tourists to see the nocturnal wildlife species which mostly includes predators.  
  • Snorkeling and other water activities take place commonly in the coastal regions of Tanzania. Snorkeling engages the tourists in floating close to the colorful coral reef while watching as the fish and other water creatures dart behind and under different hiding places. This is the closest experience to diving and it is a way of introducing tourists to the unique experience underwater. The guide is always present during the snorkeling and diving experience to ensure that the tourists are comfortable and safe. Briefing is done before participating in snorkeling where the different hand signals for safety are explained to the tourists. The equipment used during the snorkeling experience can be provided from the beach by one of the dhow tours and alternatively a tourist can bring his/her own equipment that fits well. Fins are discouraged during snorkeling because they damage the corals. Other water activities include surfing, paddling, Canoeing, boat rides, and many others.
  • Hiking is commonly done in the mountains in Tanzania such as mountain Kilimanjaro which is famous among hikers visiting this country. Tourists follow different routes during hikes on the Kilimanjaro mountain which include Machame route, Rongai route, Shira route, Lemosho route, Maragou route, and Umbwe route.
  • Cultural tourism in Tanzania are common in the northern parts of Tanzania around Arusha and they spread to other parts of the country as tourists learn more about cultures, traditions, norms, local art and crafts, traditional ceremonies, traditional dances and so much more. The benefits from the cultural tours are shared by the local community and this improves tourism activity within these local communities which include Mto wa Mbu, Maasai Boma and villages, areas of lake Eyasi which is home to the Hadzabe and Datoga, Ngireshi village and many others.  
  • Walking/nature walks are another way for tourists to see the wildlife species in the different national parks around Tanzania.

Accommodation in Tanzania: ranges from luxury accommodation, midrange accommodation to budget accommodation. Some of the hotels include four seasons safari lodge, villa poa, Rafiki backpackers, Arusha backpackers, Singita Sabora tented camp, Jabali Ridge, the oyster bay and many others.

Food in Tanzania: Food in Tanzania includes nyama choma, ugali, mshikaki, pilau, ndizi kanga. The food also consists of corn, rice, cassava, sorghum, plantain, fish, goat meat, chicken, mutton stew, vegetables, chapatti, samosa, masala, mandazi, coffee and tea, buttermilk, sweet potatoes, charcoal roasted corn, peanuts and popcorn, fruit, dates, candy, gum, mishikaki, shish kebabs of beef, homemade brews, lime juice as well as tropical fruits. 

During ceremonies in Tanzania, large amounts of food is prepared and it is considered shameful to leave guests hungry at a party and alcohol is considered symbolic especially during celebrations with exceptions of some religions which forbid it.

Marriage among the people of Tanzania varies depending on the ethnic groups and the dowry can consist of livestock, money, clothing, local brew and many other items brought by the groom’s family. Polygamy is also practiced in Tanzania. Families are extended in nature but most of the urban families consist of nuclear families.

Art and crafts in Tanzania: Local arts and crafts in Tanzania include woven baskets, soap stone, ceramics, malachite carvings, jewelry among others. Traditionally, houses are built in round shapes, bee hive shapes, rectangular houses, thatched houses and modern houses are built in the European style with brick, wood, earth and thatch.

Different cultural art centers are found around Tanzania and in Zanzibar and many products are made which include beaded necklaces, sculptures, jewelry, handwoven fabrics, paintings, figurines, baskets, balnkets and other fabrics. Some of the art centers include cultural arts center in Zanzibar, Shanga, wonder workshop, Boma museum, Schwari, tinga tinga center, Jenga and many others. 

Shopping in Tanzania: Many souvenir shops and shopping centers can be found around Tanzania and they include Nyerere cultural center, Mwenge cultural center, and cultural village. There is a large Maasai market in Arusha for tourists who are exploring the northern part of the country. 

For those who wish to engage in the nightlife in Tanzania, there are many night clubs in Dar es Salaam and a variety of tourist hotels and restaurants for local and international cuisines. The part of Zanzibar also has bars that feature different forms of entertainment such as bands, cultural dance performances. 

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Tanzania depends on the activity a tourist wishes to engage in. During the months of June, July, August, September to October Tanzania experiences the dry season. The wet season in this country is in the months of November, December, March, April and May.    

Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania
Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania

Exit and entry formalities: Some of the entry requirements into Tanzania include passports and visas which are expected to be valid by the time a person travels and wishes to enter the country. Yellow fever cards are also required before being allowed to enter into Tanzania.

From trips to the wild and open savanna plains for amazing safaris in the different national parks to hiking the Kilimanjaro and relaxing along the coastal region, Tanzania has got you covered for a great and memorable trip.

book a safari