At 364,875 mi² (945,087 km²), Tanzania is the world’s 31st-largest country (after Egypt). It is comparable in size to Nigeria, and is slightly bigger than double the size of the U.S. state of California.
Tanzania is mountainous in the north-east, where Mount Kilimanjaro Climb, Africa’s highest peak, is situated. To the north and west are the Great Lakes of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) and Lake Tanganyika (Africa’s deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish). Central Tanzania comprises a large plateau, with plains and arable land. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the Island of Zanzibar lying just offshore.
Tanzania contains many large and ecologically significant wildlife parks, including the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park in the north, and Safari to Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi National Park in the south. Gombe Stream National Park in the west is known as the site of Dr. Jane Goodall’s studies of chimpanzee behavior.
Taarab music is a fusion of pre-Islamic Swahili tunes sung in rhythmic poetic style spiced with general Islamic melodies. It is an extremely lively art form springing from a classical culture, still immensely popular with women, drawing all the time from old and new sources. Taarab forms a major part of the social life of the Swahili people along the coastal areas; especially Zanzibar, Tanga and even further in Mombasa and Malindi along the Kenya coast. Wherever the Swahili speaking people travelled, Tarabu culture moved with them. It has penetrated to as far as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi in the interior of East Africa where taarab groups compete in popularity with other western-music inspired groups.
The Tanzanian artistes have devised a new style going by the name of “Bongo Flava”, which is a blend of all sorts of melodies, beats, rhythms and sounds. The trend among the Tanzanian music consumers has started changing towards favouring products from their local artists who sing in Swahili, the national language.
The mushrooming of FM music stations and reasonable production studios has been a major boost to the music industry in the country. Contemporary artists like Juma Nature, Lady Jaydee, Mr. Nice, Mr. II, Sammy & The Passions, Cool James, Dully Sykes, Professor Jay, Diamond, Ben Pol and many others command a huge audience of followers in the country and neighbouring countries.
The current estimated population of Tanzania stands at over 43 million people. The distribution of people across the vast landscape is quite uneven with more than 80% located in rural areas, particularly those that receive reliable rainfall. Rural to urban migration continues at a fast pace with large numbers of people seeking employment in the main cities of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza and Dodoma.
The African population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups, of which the Sukuma, Haya, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, and Chagga have more than 1 million members. Other groups include the Pare, Sambaa or Shambala and Ngoni. Unlike in other African countries, most people identify themselves as Tanzanian first and foremost. This reflects the ideals which were introduced by the leader of the nation for over twenty years, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere
With such diverse people contained within the boundaries of this great republic, nothing could bring about such a strong sense of nationality and identity as the growth of Swahili as a national language. The language originates from the coastal regions and Zanzibar, where it developed in response to trade with sailors from the Arabian Gulf, and its name evolved from the Arabic ‘sahil’, meaning coast. It has since evolved to include many distinct examples of vocabulary taken from the most influential foreign visitors and settlers, especially Arabic, Portuguese, German and English, with recognizable words from each of these often reflecting the traces of those cultures left on this African land.
Tropical weather prevails. In the coastal area, hot and humid. In the northern circuit, cool weather between May and September. Temperatures vary between 60-70F during the day and a bit cooler at night.
There are two rainy seasons
(i) Long rains from April to May
(ii) Short rains from October to November
Required for all visitors who are not on the list of exempted countries. All national can get their visas on arrival any point of entry into Tanzania. However, kindly reconfirm your visa eligibility in the country of residence. Visas are obtainable from any Tanzania Embassy or High Commission. For more recent/up to date visa requirements, contact your nearest Tanzanian Embassy /High Commission.