United Republic of Tanzania
886,040 sq km
Dar es Salaam (Commercial)
99% native African (over 100 tribes), 1% Asian, European and Arabic
Swahili, English, indigenous.
Republic (multi-party state)
Benjamin William Mkapa
The largest country in East Africa, Tanzania boasts the highest mountain
on the continent, the exotic spice islands of historical Zanzibar, and the
famous Serengeti National Park whose seemingly endless plains stage one of
the greatest spectacles of animal behavior, the annual migration of millions
of wildebeest and zebra followed by their predators.
The Great Rift Valley gives rise to the unique geological formations found in the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater and Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is also home to the world's largest game reserve, the Selous, covering an area larger than Switzerland.
The bulk of the country is a highland plateau, some of it semi-desert and the rest savannah and scattered bush. The highest mountains - Meru (4556 m/14943 ft) and Kilimanjaro (Africa's highest at 5896 m/19335 ft) - are in the northeast along the border with Kenya.
Nowhere else on earth will you see wildebeest, gazelle, zebra and antelope in such enormous numbers - and Tanzania's characteristic plains make spotting wildlife easy. Blessed with some of the world's largest game reserves, the country also has one of the highest concentrations of elephant, buffalo, crocodile, hippo, wild dog and chimpanzee.
Dar-es-Salaam is the largest city, a hustling, bustling and surprisingly scenic tropical seaport that is a common starting point for trips into the country. A dusty safari into the vast wilderness is superbly complemented by time spent on the refreshing Zanzibar islands, with white palm-fringed beaches, beautiful coral gardens, and historic Stone Town - an exotic reminder of its days as a major spice and slave trade center.
Tanzania is home to hundreds of different ethnic groups and cultures, from the red-clad herders of the Masai tribes on the Serengeti plains to the modestly veiled women of Zanzibar's Islamic Stone Town. The warmth and smiling faces of its friendly people will touch the heart of every traveler.