Tanzania and Zanzibar: Final Facts and Trivia……..


  • Official name is the United Republic of Tanzania, located in East Africa in the African Great Lakes region
  • Tanzania_in_Africa mapTanganyika and Zanzibar merged on 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, it was renamed United Republic of Tanzania on 29 October 1964
  • Bordered by Kenya and Uganda in the north; Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west; Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south; and the Indian Ocean on the east coast
  • Tanzania covers 365,800 sq miles, it is the world’s 31st largest country and the 13th largest in Africa.  It lies just south of the equator.
  • Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, is in north-eastern Tanzania; and 3 of Africa’s Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania – Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa
  • Tanzania contains many large and ecologically significant wildlife parks and reserves – Ngorongoro Conservation Park, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Mikumi National Park and Gombe Stream National ParkTanzania_parks_map
  • The official capital of Tanzania since 1996 has been Dodorma, with the National Assembly and some government offices located here.  Pre-1996 Dar es Salaam was the political capital; it remains as Tanzania’s principal commercial city, is the main location of most government institutions and is the principal port of the country
  • The indigenous populations of East Africa are thought to be the Hazda and Sandawe hunter-gatherers of Tanzania who speak languages with clicks.  The first migrants were the Southern Cushitic speakers who moved south from Ethiopia to Tanzania about 4,000 years ago.  Southern Nilotes and the Datoog moved south from the present day Sudan-Ethiopia border region into central northern Tanzania between 2,900 and 2,400 years ago.  At the same time the iron-making Masharki Bantu settled in the Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika areas, bringing with them the west African planting tradition, the main staple of which were yams.  The Masharki Bantu subsequently migrated across the rest of Tanzania between 2,300 and 1,700 years ago.  The Eastern Nilotes, including the Maasai, are a more recent migration from present day South Sudan within the past 1,500 and 500 years ago
  • The people of Tanzania have been associated with the production of steel since more than 1,500 years ago
  • Travellers and merchants from the Persian Gulf and west India have visited since early in the first millennium AD
  • Colonistaion:
    • Late 19th century – Imperial Germany conquered Tanganyika and incorporated it into German East Africa
    • Post-WW1 accords and the League of Nations designated the area a British Mandate, except for the Kionga Triangle, a small south-east area which was incorporated into Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique)
    • British rule ended in 1961 after a relatively peaceful transition to independence
  • Economy:
    • From the late 1970s Tanzania’s economy declined
    • Mid-1980s saw the regime finance itself by borrowing from the IMF and it underwent some reforms
    • Since then Tanzania’s GDP per capita has grown and poverty has been reduced
    • The economy is heavily based on agriculture which accounts for more than 25% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the workforceTansanit_cut
    • Tanzania has vast amounts of minerals including gold, diamonds, coal, iron,uranium, nickel, tin, platinum, coltan, niobium, and natural gas; Tanzanite is a precious gemstone only found in the Merarani Hills near Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Politics:
    • One party dominant state
    • Elections for the president and all National Assembly seats are held every 5 years, the last elections were October 2010
  • Albinos: There has been an increase in attacks on people with albinism.  It is believed the white skin of Albinos make their body parts magical in potions, they are used in witchcraft
  • Child labour is common with millions working, more common with girls than boys.  Girls are commonly employed as domestic servants, sometimes by force.  There is also internal trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation
  • Education:
    • The literacy rate is estimated to be 73%
    • Education is compulsory for 7 years until children reach age 15.  However, many children do not attend school this long, and some none at all
    • All Tanzanian youth completing secondary education are required to participate in a compulsory 1 year National Service before they can enter higher learning institutions.  Participants receive standard military training as well as a programme which provides training on human rights, civics, history of the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, and aims to impart to students a sense of unity and patriotism
  • Tourism:
    • Wildlife game reserves
    • Kalambo water falls near southern tip of Lake Tanganyika
  • Climate: Tropical; hottest period is November-February, coldest May-August.  October-December rains are known as the short rains, the March-May rains are the long rains
  • Demographics:
    • 45 million (2012 census), with the under 15 population representing 44.1% of the population
    • Population distribution is very uneven, more than 80% of the population is rural
    • There are more than 120 ethnic groups; the majority of Tanzanians are Bantu
  • Culture:
    • Music – traditional African music, and its own distinct African rumba music
    • Tanzania has many writers
    • It also has 2 art styles that have become world known – Tingatinga and Makonde.  Tingatinga are the African paintings painted with enamel paints on canvas; Makonde is a modern sculptural style known for the Ujamaas (Trees of Life) made of the hard and dark ebony tree
  • Language:  Swahili is the national language, with Swahili and English the official languages.  English serves the purpose of providing Tanzanians with the ability to participate in the global economy and culture
  • Religion:
    • Islam has been practised on the Swahili Coast since the 8th and 9th century AD
    • Current statistics are unavailable because religious surveys were eliminated from government census reports after 1967
    • It is estimated that 30% are Christian (mostly RC), 35% Muslim (majority are Sunni) and the remaining 35% practice Traditional African religion, or are Buddhist, Hindu, Baha’i or have no religion
  • Health:
    • In 2013 life expectancy was estimated to be 60.76 years
    • The under-5 mortality rate in 2010 was between 76-81 per 1000, the leading cause of death is pneumonia, also malaria, diarrhoea and prematurity
    • HIV/AIDS is significant in Tanzania with the prevalence in 2009 estimated to be 5.6% of the adult population.  The 2011 UNAIDS Report stated that HIV prevalence has declined in pregnant women attending antenatal clinics, young people (15-24 years), and men in the general population
    • 2006 data shows that 55% of the population had sustainable access to improved drinking water sources and 33% had access to improved sanitation
  • National symbols:
    • National animal – the giraffeDSC03641
    • The Uhuru Torch – symbolises freedom and light, it was first lit on top of Mt Kilimanjaro in 1961.  There is an annual Uhuru Torch race starting from different regions in Tanzania to remind Tanzanians of their duty to jealously guard their cherished freedom, unity and peaceuhuru torch
    • The national flag is black (the people), green (the land), blue (the ocean) and yellow (the mineral wealth)Flag_of_Tanzania
    • The Tanzania National Coat of Arms – the central Warrior’s Shield bears a golden portion (minerals available in the country) on the upper part followed underneath by the United Republic of Tanzania flag and a red portion (the red soil of Africa) under which there are wavy bands of blue and white (the land, sea, lakes and coastal lines of Tanzania).  Superimposed are flames of a burning torch (freedom, enlightenment and knowledge), a spear (the defence of freedom), a crossed axe and hoe (the tools people use in developing the country).  The shield is set upon a representation of Mt Kilimanjaro, with an elephant tusk on each side supported by a man on the left and a woman on the right; a clove bush at the feet of the man and a cotton bush at the feet of the woman (represents co-operation)tz_court_of_arms
    • The Tanzania motto ‘Uhuru na Umoja’ means ‘Freedom and Unity’.


  • A city in northern Tanzania situated below Mt Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley.  It is close toArusha map Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire National Park, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Arusha National Park on Mt Meru
  • It is situated at an elevation of 1,400m/4,600ft so temperatures remain relatively low despite its proximity to the equator, and humidity is alleviated – average temperatures are around 25c
  • A multicultural city with a population of 1.28 million; it has a majority Tanzanian population of mixed  backgrounds – indigenous Bantu, Arab-Tanzanian, Indian-Tanzanian, plus a small white European and white American minority population
  • Major international diplomatic hub which is regarded as the de facto capital of the East African Community
  • Arusha was founded in 1900 by German colonists when the territory was part of German East Africa.  It was originally a garrison town and named after the local tribe Wa-Arusha, known as Larusa by the Maasai
  • From 1903 Arusha quickly developed into a significant administrative and trading centre
  • Tanganyika independence documents were signed by the UK at Arusha in 1961; the Arusha Declaration was signed in 1967; the Arusha Accords were signed on 4 August 1993 by representatives of the competing factions in the Rwandan civil war
  • Since 1994, Arusha has hosted the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
  • The hosting of this tribunal with its foreign employees has influenced the local economy of Arusha, increasing the cost of living for residents
  • The tribunal will close in 2014, but its legal successor, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, will continue with its branch which opened on 1 July 2012  in Arusha
  • Primary industry in the city is the service sector; Arusha also hosts numerous businesses, banking, retail and commercial enterprises
  • Tourism is a major contributor to the economy
  • Education: There are 4 international schools and public schools located in almost every ward of the city for Arushan children


  • Serengeti is derived from the Maasai language, Maa-Serengit means ‘Endless Plains’
  • The Serengeti is located in northern Tanzania and extends to south-western Kenya; it covers an area of 30,000 sq km/12,000 sq miles and contains the Serengeti National Park and several game reserves.  The Kenyan part of the Serengeti is known as the Maasai Mara
  • Hosts the largest territorial mammal migration in the world thus making it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and one of the 10 natural travel wonders of the world
  • Renowned for its large lion population and is one of the best places to see prides in their natural environmentDSC03852
  • The Maasai, known as fierce warriors, live alongside most wild animals and have an aversion to eating game and birds, they subsist exclusively on their cattle
  • It was the strength and reputation of the Maasai that kept newly arrived Europeans from exploiting the animals and resources on most of their lands
  • A rinderpest epidemic and drought in the 1890s reduced the numbers of both Maasai and animal populations
  • In the 20th century the Tanzanian government resettled the Maasai around the Ngorongoro Crater.  Poaching and the absence of fires then allowed dense woodlands and thickets to develop over the next 30-50 years.  Tsetse fly populations then prevented any significant human settlement in the area
  • The Great Migration:
    • The circular great migration of the wildebeest occurs each year at around the same time, it begins in the Ngorongoro area of the southern SerengetiDSC03650
    • A natural phenomenon determined by the availability of grazing and lasts from January-March
    • During February, the wildebeest graze on the short grass plains of the south-eastern Serengeti and give birth to approximately 500,000 calves within a 2-3 week period.  Calves born ahead of time rarely survive as they are more noticeable amongst the previous years larger calves and make easy prey
    • When the rains end in May the animals start moving north-west into the areas around the Grumeti River and stay here until June
    • In July there is the main migration of the wildebeest, zebra and eland heading north and arriving on the Kenyan border late July/August for the remainder of the dry season
    • The Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles only move east-west
    • In early November when the short rains begin the migration starts moving south again to the short grass plains, arriving in December
    • Approximately 250,000 wildebeest die during the journey from Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in Kenya, 800km/500 miles.  Death is usually from thirst, hunger, exhaustion or predation
  • Over 80% of the Serengeti has legal protection in the form of parks, conservation areas, game reserves etc


  • The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 180km/110 miles west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania.  The Ngorongoro Crater is a large volcanic caldera and is claimed to be one of the seven wonders of Africa
  • Fossil evidence at Olduvai Gorge indicates that hominid species have inhabited the area for 3 million years
  • The hunter-gatherers of the area were replaced with pastoralists a few thousand years ago, Mbulu and then the Datooga, who were then both driven from the area in 1800s by the Maasai
  • The first known European to set foot in the Ngorongoro Crater was Oscar Baumann in 1892.  Two German brothers (Adolf and Friedrich Siedentopf) leased the land from the administration of German East Africa and farmed in the crater until the outbreak of WW1.  They regularly organised shooting parties to entertain German friends and attempted to drive the wildebeest herds out of the crater
  • 1921 – first game preservation ordinance passed which restricted hunting to permit holders throughout Tanzania
  • 1928 – hunting prohibited on all land within the crater rim, except the former Siedentopf farms
  • 1948 – the National Park Ordinance created the Serengeti National Park (SNP).  This caused problems with the Maasai and other tribes and resulted in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) Ordinance in 1959 that separated the NCA from the SNP
  • 1976 – the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority established and owns the majority of the NCA land, including the crater
  • 1979 – area became an UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Land in the conservation area is unique as it is the only conservation area in Tanzania that protects wildlife whilst allowing human habitation.  Land use is controlled and cultivation is prohibited at all but subsistence levels
  • Ngorongoro Crater:
    • The world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic calderaDSC03890
    • Formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself 2-3 million years ago; 610m/2,000ft deep; its floor covers 260 sq km/100 sq miles.  The crater floor is 1,800m/5,900ft above sea level
    • The seasonal salt water lake, Lake Magadi, is in the centre of the crater.  The Ngoitokitok Spring is the other major source of water in the crater, there is a picnic site for tourists here and a huge swamp fed by the spring
    • Since the year 2000 drought, there is an annual or biannual controlled burn of up to 20% of the grasslands and Maasai are now permitted to graze their cattle within the crater but must enter and exit daily
    • Approximately 25,000 large animals live in the crater – black rhino, hippo, lion, wildebeest, zebra, eland, gazelles, waterbuck, servals and Lesser Flamingoes on Lake Magadi; cheetah, African wild dog and leopard are rarely seen.  There are no topis, oribis, crocodiles, impala or giraffe in the crater
    • Although the crater is a natural enclosure for many animals, 20% or more of the wildebeest and half the zebra populations vacate the crater in the wet season.  Buffalo and eland do the opposite with their highest numbers present during the rains
  • The Nduti Lake area in the west of the NCA borders the SNP and has strong lion and cheetah populations.


  • Zanzibar is a Persian word and means ‘Coast of Blacks’
  • A semi-autonomous part of Tanzania composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean 25-50 km/16-31 miles off the coast ofZanzibar the mainland.  It consists of numerous small islands and 2 large ones – Unguja (main island referred to as Zanzibar) and Pemba
  • Unguja is 53 miles long and 24 miles wide, it is low-lying with its highest point at 120m/390ft.  Unguja has sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs which are rich in marine biodiversity
  • Capital is Zanzibar City on Unguja and its historic centre is known as Stone Town.  Stone Town is a World Heritage Site and is claimed to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa
  • Persian traders used Zanzibar as a base for voyages between the Middle East, India and Africa.  Unguja offered a protected and defensible harbour which is why Persians settled at what became Zanzibar City
  • Independence was gained in 1963.  The Zanzibar Revolution in January 1964 overthrew the Arab dynasty and on 26 April 1964 Zanzibar and Tanganyika merged to form a United Republic.  The union of these two previously separate regions was controversial among many Zanzibaris but was accepted due to shared political values and goals between the 2 countries
  • Industry:
    • Main industries are spices, raffia and tourism
    • The islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper – hence their name of the Spice Islands
    • Farming and fishing – especially people who live in the small villages outside of the town areas
  • Economy:
    • Exports spices, seaweed and fine rafia
    • Large fishing and dugout canoe production
    • Tourism is a major foreign currency earner
    • Zanzibar imports much of its staple requirements i.e. petroleum products and manufactured articles
    • There is the possibility of oil availability on Pemba
  • Zanzibar is home to the Red Colobus Monkey, the Zanzibar Servaline Genet and the possibly extinct Zanzibar LeopardDSC04236
  • Colonisation and independence:
    • 1498 – Vasco da Gama visited and marked the beginning of European influence
    • 1503 0r 1504 – Zanzibar became part of the Portuguese Empire when Captain Ruy Lourenco Ravasco Marques landed and demanded, and received, tribute from the sultan in exchange for peace.  Zanzibar remained a Portuguese possession for almost 200 years but the Portuguese did not have any forts or garrisons on the island, the extent of their occupation was a trade depot where produce was purchased and collected for shipment to Mozambique
    • 16th century – strong power base by Arabs who ruled with the aid of the tributary Arab sultans
    • 1631 – the Sultan of Mombasa massacred the European inhabitants
    • 1698 – Zanzibar fell under the control of the Sultanate of Oman
    • 1840 – Omani Sultan, Seyyid Said, moved his capital from Muscat, Oman to Stone Town in Zanzibar City.  During this time Zanzibar became the centre for the Arab slave trade.  Malindi in Zanzibar City was East Africa’s main port for the slave marker between Africa and Asia, including the Middle East.  In the mid-19th century 50,000 slaves passed annually through this port.  One of the most famous slave traders was Tippu Tip, a notorious Arab slave trader and ivory merchant who was himself the grandson of an enslaved African.  Between 65-90% of Arab-Swahili Zanzibar was enslaved
    • 1873 – Anglo-Zanzabari treaty signed which abolished the slave trade in the sultan’s territories, the closing of all slave markets and the protection of liberated slaves
    • 1886 – GB and Germany plotted to obtain parts of the Zanzibar sultanate for their own empires
    • 1890 – Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty formalised the relationship between GB and the German Empire and Zanzibar became a (not a colony) of Britain
    • 1890-1913 – traditional viziers were appointed to govern as puppets
    • 1913-1963 – British governors system of rule
    • 1963 – Zanzibar gained independence from GB on 10 December
    • January 1964 – Zanzibar Revolution in which up to 20,000 Arabs and Indians were killed in a genocide and thousands more were expelled.  This led to the establishment of the People’s Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba
    • April 1964 – the Republic merged with Tanganyika becoming the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • Politics:
    • Zanzibar has a government of national unity
    • Ruling party is Chama Cha Mapinduzi, the opposition party is the Civic United Front, and with many other political parties.  Since the early 1990s there have been repeated clashes between the ruling and opposition parties; contested elections in 2000 led to a massacre on 27 January 2001; another contested election in 2005 again led to the death of 9 people
    • Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar is made up of the Revolutionary Council and the House of Representatives
    • Members serve 5 year terms
  • Demographics:
    • 2002 census is the most recent data  and reports a population of 984,625.  The population of Zanzibar City is 205,870
    • Two thirds of the population live on Unguja with most in the densely populated west
  • Health and standards of living:
    • There are disparities between the inhabitants of Pemba and Unguja as well as between urban and rural populations
    • The average annual income is US$250
    • Approximately half the population lives below the poverty line
    • Infant mortality is 54 per 1000 live births, 10% lower than mainland Tanzania; child mortality is 73 per 1000 live births, again lower than the rate in mainland Tanzania
    • Malnutrition affects 1 in 3 Zanzibaris
    • Life expectancy is 57 years
    • Prevalence of HIV/AIDS is 0.6% – higher in females, 0.7%, than males, 0.5%.  The rate for divorced women is high at 10%, IVDUs 16%, MSM 12.3%, female sex workers 10.8%
  • Religion: 97% Muslim, with the remaining population mainly Christian
  • Education:
    • 207 government schools, 118 privately owned schools, 2 universities and 1 college
    • Like Tanzania, 7 years of primary education is compulsory but in addition 3 years of secondary education are compulsory and free.  Students on Zanzibar score significantly less on standardised tests for reading and maths than students on the mainland
    • National service in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s after secondary education was compulsory, it is now voluntary and few students volunteer
  • National flag:


    • Adopted on 9 January 2005, it is a horizontal tricolour of blue, black and green with the national flag of Tanzania inset
    • The flag represents the culture, environment and people of Zanzibar.


  • Konyagi – ‘the spirit of the Nation, is a drink that brings many people from many places together with one rhythm and one spirit’Konyagi
  • A Tanzanian liquor, a white spirit with a strength of 35%
  • Drink it straight, on the rocks or with a mixer of your choice
  • Cheap and liked by Mr L!


  • Swahili, or Kiswahili, is a Bantu language and is the mother tongue of Swahili people, about 5 million people.  It is spoken in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The total number of Swahili speakers exceeds 140 million
  • Kiswahili is the Swahili word for the language and means ‘coastal language’
  • Swahili is the national language of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo
  • It is seen as the unifying language of Tanzania between people of different ethnic groups who each have their own language.  There are over 100 different tribal languages spoken in Tanzania.
  • Since 1984 Swahili is the language of the Tanzanian social and political sphere as well as primary and adult education, with English the language of secondary education, universities, technology and the higher courts
  • Some Swahili vocabulary is derived from Arabic and also incorporates German, Portuguese, English and French words through contact with empire builders, traders and slavers over the past 5 centuries
  • There are numerous Swahili dialects, Kiunguja is the dialect spoken in Zanzibar City

So, that brings this holiday blog to an end.

Kwaheri until next time!


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