Tanzania – A brief guide – Population, Culture & Animals

Tanzania is one of the most renowned destinations for tourists in East Africa, known for its rich culture and exotic wildlife. From tropical beaches to wildlife reserves, majestic open plains to world-acclaimed archeological attractions, Tanzania is an amalgamation of the best nature has to offer.

Apart from being one of the most popular wildlife destinations, it is a haven for tourists who want a relaxing getaway amidst Tanzania’s lush grasslands lakes, and mountains.

In this article, we’ll briefly cover all the necessary information you should know before planning a trip to Tanzania. Let’s get started!

Geography

The United Republic of Tanzania is the largest country in East African bordered by the Indian Ocean and includes Pemba, Zanzibar, and Mafia Islands. It shares borders with 8 countries: Kenya and Uganda to the north, Burundi, Rwanda, and Congo to the west, and Mozambique, Zambia, and Malawi to the South. Tanzania comprises many natural resources, lakes, national parks, and Africa’s highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro. The Northeast part of Tanzania is mountainous while the central area exhibits plateaus covered in grasslands. Tanzania has a total of 30 regions with 25 located on the mainland, 3 on Zanzibar Island, and 2 on Pemba Island. 

Population

The current population of Tanzania is 59.73 million and is estimated to reach 282.67 million by the end of the century. 99 % population has native African descent with a small percentage of Arabs, Persian, Indian, and Chinese communities. There are 125 ethnic groups in Tanzania including Sakuma, Chagga, Haya, Nyamwezi, and Bantu, each with a population of over 1 million. 

Languages

Tanzania is a multilingual nation with a total of 130 languages spoken in the country. However, there is no one particular language that is spoken natively by the majority of the population. Swahili and English are the national languages of the country. Despite being the official language, Swahili is only spoken by only 10% of people, and a vast majority of 90% speak it as a second language. English is widely spoken and used in high schools and universities. 

Currency

The official currency of the country is shilling (TSh). One shilling is made up of 100 senti (cents in English). The coins and banknotes in circulation today are 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 shillings. The value of the Tanzanian shilling is determined by the forex markets as it’s a free-floating currency. 

Culture

The culture in Tanzania is an Arab-African Mix, but there are also many Asian communities living in towns and cities. Locals are very polite and friendly towards tourists and shaking hands and small talk is a way to greet people. The country is quite conservative and modest dressing is encouraged such as covered shoulders and knees. Touching people of the opposite sex in public is considered offensive. 

Wildlife

Tanzania has one of the highest levels of biodiversity and wildlife richness in the region. Almost every type of ecological system is found here and wildlife plays various crucial and economic roles in the country as a source of sustenance for rural villagers, underpinning a tourism industry that earns over $700 million annually and accounts for about 5-10% of the Country’s GDP. 

World’s largest mammal migration takes place in Tanzania. The two most highly visited tourist destinations are the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, which is the oldest national park in Tanzania and home to the famous wildebeest migration. All of the big five can be found here including lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard. 

Ngorongoro crater has over 25,000 animal species living in the park and has been named as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to zebras, elephants, zebras, lions, cheetahs, gazelles, and many more. 

Food Scene

If you want to taste unique food, Tanzania is the place to go. Tanzanian cuisine is highly versatile with strong Arabic and Indian influence mix with traditional African food. Ugali is the national dish of Tanzania, which is a maize flour porridge served with fish, vegetables, or bean sauce. Tanzanian cuisine highly varies by geographical regions, like spicy foods are common in the coastal regions along with excessive use of coconut milk whereas in the mainland popular foods are Wali (rice), Mshikaki (marinated beef), Nyama Choma (grilled meat), Pilau, and Biryani (rice mixed with meat and variety of spices). If you want to have first-hand seafood experience, restaurants in Zanzibar offers a huge variety of seafood menu, especially for tourists. 

Politics

The political system in Tanzania follows the unitary presidential democratic republic framework with a multi-party system. President holds responsibility as both head of state and head of the government. The government holds the executive power whereas legislative power is consigned in both government and parliament. The judiciary in Tanzania works independently of the executive and legislature.

Tourism

 Tanzania has a lot to offer to tourists as it is home to the most popular national parks, conservation areas, and stunning natural attractions. Tourism in Tanzania is an important economic growth factor for the country and lies in a wide variety of points of interest including wildlife, safari adventures, and beautiful beaches. The most popular destinations to visit in Tanzania include Mikumi National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park, Stone Town, Ruaha National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Natron, Zanzibar beaches, and many more. Tanzania is definitely worth a visit for anyone who is even vaguely interested in nature’s beauty, wild and marine life, and mountaineering. 

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