About Tanzania

Tanzania, officially the United Republic of Tanzania, is a place where nature is at its wildest. It is surrounded by three great lakes of Africa – Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi. Vast swathes of Savanah grasslands decorate Tanzania’s hinterlands and the real beauty of the country shines through its amazing biodiversity and wildlife.
Beyond the eastern shores lies the splendid island-city of Zanzibar, which has anchored itself in the passage of history as a city of many ideas and cultures. Absorbing the vibes from faraway lands, it is rightly called the gateway to Africa.
With these 50 interesting facts about Tanzania, let’s explore the known and unknown sides of this East African country and its uniqueness.

Facts about Tanzanian culture and people

  1. 1. Tanzania is made up of at least 120 tribes, each significant in their own way. Each of them is culturally distinguished by their unique masks, hand-woven baskets, batiks, poetry, items carved out of ebony or rosewood, etc.
  2. 2. Over 120 languages are spoken in Tanzania, most of them from the Bantu family. The kiswahili language (Swahili) is the official language of Tanzania and kenya.
  3. 3. Tanzanians prefer drinking tea in the morning as a breakfast beverage and coffee in the evening.
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  5. 4. The use of left hand to greet someone is considered impolite and rude in Tanzania.
  6. 5. Zanzibar, a port city of Tanzania, is a cosmopolitan hotspot which dominates East African culture. Its long history with Arab rulers, Indian workers, Portuguese traders and European colonizers have created a unique blend of traditions, cuisine, music, dance forms, and arts.
  7. 6. Dar es Salaam, a city in eastern Tanzania, is the largest city in the country. It’s also the largest Swahili-speaking city in the world and has given birth to many great men in Africa’s history.
  8. 7. Being a former European colony, Tanzanians have adopted football and rugby as their favorite sports.
  9. 8. The de-facto national dish of Tanzania is the humble Ugali. It’s a simple porridge made with millet or sorghum flour.
  10. 9. In Tanzania, even the lakes are sculptors. Lake Natron, a highly alkaline water body, is known to turn birds and other animals into ghastly stone statues.
  11. 10. Mpingo tree, found in Tanzania produces the costliest timber in the world. It has exceptional mechanical properties that make it perfect for carving and it has a beautiful finish.
  12. 11. In fact, the Mpingo trees is also known as the music tree of Africa, as its wood has been used to make traditional musical instruments since ancient times.
  13. 12. Tanzania has a weird solution for raiding elephants that stray into farmlands – “Throw condoms filled with chili powder at them”, and it totally works. Looking at the brighter side, earlier they used to throw spears.
  14. 13. Freddie Mercury, the frontman vocalist, and songwriter of rock band Queen was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
  15. 14. Tanzanians love hip hop music and has created Bongo Flava, which is an amalgamation of international styles like reggae, afrobeat, blues, rasta and dancehall with local musical traditions like taarab and dansi.
  16. 15. Kinjikitile Ngwale was an interesting man living in Tanzania during the 1900’s, who led a revolution against the German colonizers. The uprising was known as Maji Maji revolution and is an important moment in the country’s history.
  17. 16. The problem was Kinjikitile Ngwale believed himself to be possessed by the spirit of a snake and claimed that a “magical” portion called “maji” would turn German bullets into powder. He was hanged a month later for treason.
  18. 17. Tanzania is a friendly country in diplomatic circles, but the country did declare war on neighboring Uganda on October 30, 1978. Tanzania totally owned the Ugandans and won a victory after 5 months.
  19. 18. The 1978 war was actually caused by a shady bar-fight. It all started when a single Ugandan soldier crossed over to Tanzania for a drink, but ended up firing at locals.
  20. 19. The flag of Tanzania consists of a black and yellow band, diagonally cutting out two triangles. The upper portion is green in color while the lower is blue.
  21. 20. The flag carries in it the 4 elements of Tanzania’s daily life. The green represents nature’s beauty, the yellow represents the mineral deposits of the country, the black represents the people, while the blue represents the great lakes.
  22. 21. Zanzibar, being so cool, gets to have its own flag. The colors of the flag remain the same as that of Tanzania, but the style is different.
  23. 22. Before Tanzania merged with Zanzibar in 1964, it was known as Tanganyika and had its own flag – a green background cut into half by a black and yellow band.
  24. 23. The world’s longest river, the Nile is most synonymous with the world’s first civilization – The Egyptian Civilization. This river originates from Lake Victoria, Tanzania.
  25. 24. Lake Victoria also happens to be the largest tropical lake and the second largest freshwater lake in the world.
  26. 25. Tanzania has an island called the Mafia. The other two major islands are Zanzibar and Pemba.
  27. 26. The three islands of Tanzania are a favorite holiday destination for lovers of all things tropical. Scuba diving, local seafood, and all night long beach festivals attract tourists in a large number.
  28. 27. The country has designated 25% of its land to wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. It’s among the highest in the world, and the total area is greater than the size of Germany.
  29. 28. The most famous national park of Tanzania is the Serengeti National Park when a million wildebeests cross over to the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. This migration is so epic, that it is named as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
  30. 29. As a tourism booster, the government has set up hot-air balloons in the Serengeti National Park.
  31. 30. Tanzania is home to the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera, or volcanic depression. The crater has an area of 264 kilometers. It is estimated to have formed about 2.5 million years ago.

Things to do

No. To do Discription
1 Go on a safari Tanzania is home to two of the most iconic safari destinations in Africa – the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. The vast plains of the Serengeti are home to the Great Migration, an annual event that sees massive herds of ungulate follow the rains to greener and tastier pastures. The Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive and unfilled volcanic caldera, is home to a huge variety of wildlife. Whatever kind of safari you’re after, you’ll find it here.
2 Visit Dar es Salaam
Dar Es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest and most influential city. However, Mount Kilimanjaro, the northern circuit of African wildlife and the island of Zanzibar, are the reasons why many tourists that visit Tanzania, miss the largest city altogether.
With 6 – 7 million inhabitants, Dar Es Salaam is a vibrant East African city that includes lots of excitement and plenty of character. Culture, beaches, shopping and food – Dar Es Salaam has a little slice of adventure for you to enjoy.
3 Discover magical Zanzibar
Languishing just off mainland Tanzania in the turquoise-blue Indian Ocean, the island of Zanzibar conjures images of perfect, palm-swayed beaches, white sand, billowing sailing boats and smiling locals.
Even the narrow streets of Stone Town, twisting and turning through ancient Arabic buildings, look like an exotic film set. Whether you want to laze on a sugar white beach or becoming actively involved in island life, Zanzibar has something for everyone. Divers will love Zanzibar too. The Swahili Coast has some exceptional dive sites, and both scuba novices and hard-core enthusiasts will find plenty of entertainment. Visibility is usually good (ten to 30-plus metres) year round, and water temperatures of 25-30ºC ensure longer dives are perfectly comfortable.
4 Find your perfect kanga
Kangas are a rectangular piece of cloth that are the must-have item in every Tanzanian wardrobe. Depending on the way you wear them or the patterns they display, they can reveal your status in life, your plans for the day or even your mood. With their bright colours and striking geometric patterns, they also make the perfect souvenir of your East African adventure. You’ll find Kangas for sale in markets all over the country. They are often used to spread messages about social and political issues so don’t be surprised if yours features a picture of a local politician or even a famous foreign one like Obama. It may even bear a message in Swahili extolling the virtues of washing one’s hands.
5 Get a real taste of Tanzania
While Tanzania is famous for its wildlife, art and music, its cuisine has gone largely unnoticed. It’s true that in most places you’ll be offered grilled meat, maybe with a curry sauce. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find fabulous dishes that reveal a considerable Indian influence but zinging with the freshness of local mangoes and coconuts. Drinking in Tanzania is quite the adventure too. Hang out in a village in Africa for long enough and you are bound to be offered some of the local hooch. There’s honey beer, banana beer and fermented sugar can juice called pombe. Gongo is another favourite, known locally – and euphemistically – as gin. When in doubt, simply order a Safari – preferably served ice cold, straight from the chest freezer in the Africa House Hotel in Zanzibar

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