Tanzania Travel Information

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Tanzania National Parks TANAPA

Facts About Tanzania

Background: Shortly after independence, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers' claims of voting irregularities.
Government type: republic
Capital: Dar es Salaam
note: some government offices have been transferred to Dodoma, which is planned as the new national capital; the National Assembly now meets there on regular basis
Currency: 1 Tanzanian shilling (TZS) = 100 cents

Geography of Tanzania

Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique
Geographic coordinates: 6 00 S, 35 00 E
Area:
total: 945,087 sq km
land: 886,037 sq km
water: 59,050 sq km
note: includes the islands of Mafia, Pemba, and Zanzibar
Land boundaries:
total: 3,402 km
border countries: Burundi 451 km, Kenya 769 km, Malawi 475 km, Mozambique 756 km, Rwanda 217 km, Uganda 396 km, Zambia 338 km
Coastline: 1,424 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: varies from tropical along coast to temperate in highlands
Terrain: plains along coast; central plateau; highlands in north, south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Kilimanjaro 5,895 m
Natural resources: hydropower, tin, phosphates, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel
Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 40%
forests and woodland: 38%
other: 18% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,500 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: the tsetse fly; flooding on the central plateau during the rainy season; drought
Environment - current issues: soil degradation; deforestation; desertification; destruction of coral reefs threatens marine habitats; recent droughts affected marginal agriculture
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: Kilimanjaro is highest point in Africa; bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest.

People of Tanzania

Population distribution in Tanzania is extremely uneven. Density varies from 1 person per square kilometer (3 per sq. mi.) in arid regions to 51 per square kilometer (133 per sq. mi.) in the mainland's well-watered highlands and 134 per square kilometer (347 per sq. mi.) on Zanzibar. More than 80% of the population is rural. Dar es Salaam is the capital and largest city; Dodoma, located in the center of Tanzania, has been designated the new capital, although action to move the capital has stalled.

The African population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups, of which the Sukuma, Haya, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, and Chaga have more than 1 million members The majority of Tanzanians, including such large tribes as the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi are of Bantu stock. Groups of Nilotic or related origin include the nomadic Masai and the Luo, both of which are found in greater numbers in neighboring Kenya. Two small groups speak languages of the Khoisan family peculiar to the Bushman and Hottentot peoples. Cushitic-speaking peoples, originally from the Ethiopian highlands, reside in a few areas of Tanzania.

Although much of Zanzibar's African population came from the mainland, one group known as Shirazis traces its origins to the island's early Persian settlers. Non-Africans residing on the mainland and Zanzibar account for 1% of the total population. The Asian community, including Hindus, Sikhs, Shi'a and Sunni Muslims, and Goans, has declined by 50% in the past decade to 50,000 on the mainland and 4,000 on Zanzibar. An estimated 70,000 Arabs and 10,000 Europeans reside in Tanzania.

Each ethnic group has its own language, but the national language is Kiswahili, a Bantu-based tongue with strong Arabic borrowings.

Population: 36,766,356 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% 
15-64 years: 52% 
65 years and over: 3% 
Population growth rate: 2.57% 
Birth rate: 40.17 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 12.88 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -1.59 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 80.97 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 52.26 years
male: 51.32 years
female: 53.23 years 
Total fertility rate: 5.51 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Tanzanian(s)
adjective: Tanzanian
Ethnic groups: mainland - native African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab); Zanzibar - Arab, native African, mixed Arab and native African
Religions: mainland - Christian 45%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 20%; Zanzibar - more than 99% Muslim
Languages: Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguju (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources, including Arabic and English, and it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write Kiswahili (Swahili), English, or Arabic
total population: 67.8%
male: 79.4%
female: 56.8% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Tanzania > Map Economy History