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Travel Notes: Africa: Tanzania Travel Notes

Tanzania Travel Notes

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Tanzania was formed by the federation of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, in 1964. The histories of the two areas are quite different.

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Tanzania Travel and Tourist Information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to Tanzania.

Around Tanzania, Arusha, Dar es-Salaam, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, Map of Tanzania, Serengeti National Park, Tanga, Tanganyika and Zanzibar, Tanzania Accommodation, Tanzanian Language and Culture, Tanzania Safaris, The Formation of Tanzania, Zanzibar.

Tanganyika and Zanzibar

Countries neighbouring Tanzania are: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mali and Mozambique.

Map of Tanzania

The United Republic of Tanzania also includes the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, and other offshore islands in the Indian Ocean.

When dividing the area up among themselves, in the late 1800s, the Germans and the British ignored the claims to parts of Tanganyika by the sultan of Zanzibar.

The start of World War I disrupted the great plans Germany had for its part of East Africa, and the British eventually took control of the area.

Tanganyika gained independence in 1961, and after an abortive coup in January 1964, the Tanganyikan president, Julius Nyerere, held discussions with Prime Minister Karume of Zanzibar; in an attempt to strengthen his government against revolutionary violence.

The Formation of Tanzania

The talks led to the formation of Tanzania, in April 1964. Despite the change in name, the two areas remained fundamentally different.

Tanzania experimented with socialism, supported other African liberation movements. Although it maintained good relations with the West, Tanzania moved closer in philosophy and practice to the Communist-bloc countries; China helping out with aid.

Economic reform programmes and a move towards a multiparty system began in the early nineties.

Tanzania Attractions

Top tourist destinations in Tanzania are Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, Zanzibar and Pemba islands, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Mafia Island, and Mount Meru.

Weather in Africa:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Africa.

Tanzania Accommodation

Tanzania accommodation options vary from budget to luxury hotels, exclusive safari lodges, villas and cottages.

Hotels in Tanzania:
Find hotels in Tanzania with special online rates.

The coastal city of Dar es-Salaam, has some of the best hotels in Tanzania.

Dar es-Salaam

Dar es-Salaam is the country's largest city, and principal seaport. The name in Arabic means haven of peace; founded as a summer residence of the sultan of Zanzibar, in the 1860s.

German colonialists developed Dar es-Salaam in the late 19th century and made it their capital of German East Africa.

The British took over control in 1916, and it became the capital of a newly independent Tanganyika in 1961, and continued as the seat of administration when Tanganyika and Zanzibar were merged to form Tanzania in 1964.

The Railway extends inland from Dar es-Salaam to Arusha in the north, to Lake Tanganyika, to Mwanza on Lake Victoria, and to Zambia. A railway also runs to the Indian Ocean ports of Tanga in Tanzania, and Mombassa in Kenya.

Tanzanian Language and Culture

The official languages of Tanzania are Swahili and English, although many Tanzanians continue to speak the language of their ethnic group.

There is a strong tradition of education through storytelling in Tanzania, and many people listen to regular soap operas on the radio.

An especially gripping story is the one about Mashaka, a lorry driver who has a girlfriend in every town. Some 6 million people a week tune in to listen to Mashaka's plight. His health is failing; a message about promiscuity and the risk of contracting the Aids virus.


Africa's highest mountain (5,895 m or 19,340 ft) is in north-eastern Tanzania, near the border with Kenya.

Kilimanjaro Trekking Guide:
With no mountaineering skills necessary to reach the summit, even non-climbers can experience the thrill of climbing one of the world’s greatest peaks.

Tanzania National Parks:

Serengeti National Park

Tanzania's popular national park, in the north of the country, is one of the last places in Africa where large animal migrations still occur.

During the wet season, the herds populate the south-eastern plains of the park; migrating westwards in the dry season into the woodland savannah of the Serengeti, and northwards to the grassland areas of neighbouring Kenya.

Safari in Northern Tanzania:
The magnificent collection of game sanctuaries to the north of the country, near the border with Kenya, is referred to as The Northern Circuit. This is the most popular and accessible wildlife safari route in Tanzania and one of the finest game viewing areas anywhere in the world.

The Serengeti region encompasses the Serengeti National Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Over 90,000 tourists visit the Park each year.


Tanga is an important port on the Indian Ocean, near the border with Kenya.

You can relax on beaches around the bay, or visit Persian ruins from the 14th century, on an island in the harbour.

Nearby are the Amboni Caves (off the road to Lunga Lunga) and Sulphur Springs.

Tanganyika was where some of the earth's ancestors of human beings once lived. Their remains have been found in the Olduvai Gorge area, near Arusha.

Some 20km south of Tanga (on the road to Pangani) are the Tongoni Ruins; about 40 tombs believed to date from the 10th century.

Getting to Tanga

Buses run south from Mombasa via Lunga Lunga. There are also shared taxis and matatus from Lunga Lunga (about an hour), if you miss the direct connection and need to travel in stages. From Mombasa there are frequent buses to the border as well as matatus and shared taxis. There's quite a walk between the two border posts but you should be able to hitch a ride if there aren't any pick-ups around.

Tanga is also the ideal place to get a dhow to Pemba Island, north of Zanzibar.


Arusha, in north-east Tanzania, is a tourist gateway to Olduvai Gorge and the scenic national parks of northern Tanzania.

National Parks and Reserves in Tanzania

Tanzania has more land devoted to National Parks and game reserves than any other wildlife destination in the world. Everything from pristine coral reefs to the Crater Highlands, remote game reserves and the famous national parks are protected by government law and placed in trust for future generations to marvel at in wonder and awe.


This once small community in central Tanzania was enlarged in the 1980s to eventually replace Dar es-Salaam as the official capital.

Dodoma is connected with the main east-west railway, and a north-south trunk road.

Around Tanzania

Airlines and Airports:
The national airline is Air Tanzania. Airports serving Dar es-Salaam, Zanzibar city, and elsewhere provide domestic services and international connections.

Great Lakes

Three of Africa's great lakes are situated on the borders of Tanzania and partially within it: Lake Tanganyika in the western border, Lake Victoria in the north-west, and Lake Nyasa (Malawi) on the south-west.

Kilwa Kiswani

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kilwa Kiswani & Songo Mnara are found on two adjoining, small islands situated just off the coast of the town of Kilwa Masoko in south-eastern Tanzania.

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Tanzania Maps and Travel Guides

Lonely Planet Tanzania (Travel Guide) Tanzania Safari Guide: with Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the coast (Bradt Travel Guides)

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