Brief About Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is located in Eastern Africa between longitude 29o and 41o East, Latitude 1o and 12o South.
The United Republic of Tanzania was formed out of the union of two sovereign states namely Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanganyika became a sovereign state on 9th December, 1961 and became a Republic the following year. Zanzibar became independent on 10th December, 1963 and the Peoples Republic of Zanzibar was established after the revolution of 12th January, 1964. The two sovereign republics formed the United Republic of Tanzania on 26th April, 1964. However, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic consisting of the Union Government and the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government.
Tanzania is the biggest (land area) among the East African countries (i.e. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). Tanzania has a spectacular landscape of mainly three physiographic regions namely the Islands and the coastal plains to the east; the inland saucer-shaped plateau; and the highlands. The Great Rift Valley that runs from north east of Africa through central Tanzania is another landmark that adds to the scenic view of the country.
The country has the largest concentration of wild animals. It also has pristine sandy beaches and Africa’s highest and snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tanzania is home to the world famous National Parks and Game Reserves of: Ngorongoro Crater, Selous Game Reserve, Gombe Stream, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Mikumi, Arusha, Ruaha, Saadani, Udzungwa Mountains, and Mkomazi Game Reserve. Other Game Reserves include: Amani, Kigosi, Lukwika-Lumesule, Maswa, Monduli Mountains, Msangesi and Ugala.
Dar es Salaam is the commercial capital and major sea port for Tanzania Mainland and it serves neighboring land-locked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda, as well as Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Other sea ports include Zanzibar, Tanga, Lindi and Mtwara. Other water bodies include the three large Lakes that surround the country Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria and Lake Nyasa.
Security: Tanzania is a safe country to travel in. Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people and are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Tanzania is a true example of tolerance and cooperation in our modern world, with an evidenced multicultural diversity that has co-existed for centuries and has a lot to offer the world by its example.
As in all countries, a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe, which frees your mind to absorb the natural beauty and incredible sights that will stay with you forever.
Climate: The climate is tropical and there are two rain seasons the longer being March through May and the short between October and November. The dry season starts from July through October with clear sky and sunshine the whole day. The weather is suitable for beach vacation. The coastal area is normally hot and humid.
Tanzania is located in a tropical climate with different bacteria, flora, and fauna than most visitors are accustomed to, so it is advisable to take a few health precautions when travelling to make sure that your trip goes as comfortably and smoothly as possible.
Malaria: This is usually top on the list of visitors’ worries, and prevention goes a long way towards keeping you protected. Although it is believed that the anopholes mosquito (the species that carries malaria) hunts only at night, make sure that all exposed areas are well slathered in insect repellent at all times. Sleep under a net there are some very good travelling mosquito nets available now, but budget travellers are well-advised to bring their own since the nets at most low-end guesthouses have holes or are invariably too small. If you’re sleeping in a tent that doesn’t have a net, spray insect repellent inside, close the flap, and leave for a few minutes.
Make sure to visit your doctor to get a prescription for the antimalarial drugs that best suit your health and condition there are some very good ones available on the market now, but tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast feeding. If you feel achy, have chills and hot flushes, headaches, or a fever either during your trip or up to two weeks afterwards, visit a doctor immediately to be tested for malaria. If your symptoms persist, don’t hesitate in seeking a second opinion. A malaria test only takes about fifteen minutes and involves a simple finger prick, and it’s available around the country. Treatment is widely available and recovery times are fast, provided that you get diagnosed as soon as you notice any possible symptoms. After all this advice, it’s worth noting that not every mosquito has malaria and that if you’re conscientious and take precautions, it’s unlikely that you will be exposed.
Vaccinations: The yellow-fever vaccination is no longer officially required when entering Tanzania, yet because the disease is endemic many doctors will recommend it as a precaution. Other vaccinations that might be considered before you travel include typhoid, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, and tetanus. For more information, contact your doctor.
Food and water: It’s best to drink bottled water when travelling through Tanzania numerous brands are widely available and served in all restaurants and lodges. Steer clear of ice, raw vegetables, and salads when eating at street restaurants. High-end lodges and restaurants will clean their produce in antiseptic solution, but should you feel wary about anything on your plate, leave it. Try to avoid eating in empty restaurants the food may have been sitting out for some time and order your meat well done. On the coast, seafood and fish are usually fresh, but again, make sure everything is well-cooked. While on holiday, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Visa: Coming to Tanzania has been made easy for visitors. It is easy to obtain a Tanzanian visa and there are two ways to obtain: You can get a visa from a Tanzanian Embassy or High Commission from your country or during your arrival at the port of entry that is, airport or at the border port. The above procedure is applicable for North America and European citizens. For more details about Visas please contact the nearest Tanzanian Embassy or High Commission in your area or visit Tanzania Ministry of Home Affairs website http://www.moha.go.tz
Tanzania International Airports: Tanzania has two international airports, one outside the commercial capital Dar es Salaam (airport code: DAR) and the other near Arusha (and Mount Kilimanjaro) called Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code: JRO). Charter flights and some international operators fly directly to Zanzibar Island (airport code: ZNZ)
Getting to Tanzania: If you are planning to visit Northern Tanzania, the best airport to arrive at is Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). KLM has daily flights from Amsterdam. Ethiopian and Kenya Airways / Precision Air also fly into KIA.
If you are planning to visit Zanzibar, southern and western Tanzania, it is ideal to fly to the capital city of Dar es Salaam. European carriers that fly into Dar es Salaam include British Airways, KLM and Swissair (which code shares with Delta). There are long-distance bus services between Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Attractions: The country has a lot to offer educationally, historically, leisure and adventures. These adventures are safaris (game drive in the National Parks), historical sites such as museums, landscapes, mountains, beaches, lakes, rivers and culture.
Social life: The country has more than 120 tribes. Each tribe has its own vernacular. Although there are many languages Kiswahili was adopted to be the National Language since 1961 right after independence. The language has spread and is being used in the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Kenya and Central Africa. English is the second official language of the nation. You will find that Tanzanians are very welcoming and friendly.
Political system: Tanzania is perhaps the leading country in the continent of Africa for its political stability, peace and tranquility. The political system is multi-party and the government is democratic. Freedom of speech is encouraged and accommodated. Political and religious conflicts are resolved through dialogue. In short, religious and tribal conflicts are very rare in the country because every citizen is free to worship as he/she please provided that one does not violate the law of the land.
Currency: The unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh) and there are no smaller denominations. It’s best to carry as little cash as possible when travelling to avoid further inconvenience if anything should be lost or stolen.
That said, major currencies (like the US Dollar, the English Pound, and the Euro) are easily changed in large towns, although US Dollars are sometimes preferred as well as Traveler’s Cheques in sterling pounds and US dollars are acceptable.
Forex bureaux offer faster service than banks and although the exchange rates are only nominally different, the bureaux usually offer a better rate on travellers’ cheques. Banks around the country have ATM machines that allow you to withdraw cash from your VISA card and other Bank ATMs allow you to withdraw on both VISA and MasterCard accounts. Credit cards are accepted only at major lodges, hotels, and travel agents.
Religions: Because of its historical diversity Tanzania is a land of various religions. Nevertheless, major religions are Christianity, Islam, Hindu and African Traditional Religions. In the east coast Dar es salaam, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar and Tanga the dominant religion is Islam and Hindu. This is due to the advent of Arabs and Eastern Indians which led to the spread of the two religions. The mainland is dominantly Christian and this is due to the fact that European colonists like Arabs spread Christian religion to indigenous.
Infrastructure & Accessibility: Major roads are paved and accessible throughout the year. Side roads and those around and within National Parks are muddy and rough. For this reason, a 4WD car is required for safaris. Four Wheel cars include: Toyota Land Cruisers, Land Rovers and Toyota Hiace 4WD. This is the type of cars commonly used. The Railway is also used mostly in the eastern, southern, central and western parts of the country.
Time: The time zone is GMT + 3 and the electricity is 220 - 240 V AC, 50 Hz.