Tanzania is one of the most famous and popular countries in Africa. It is located in the eastern part of the continent. Tanzania is known for its exciting safari experience and beautiful lakes. However, it has more to offer than that; several interesting facts about Tanzania make it an attractive travel destination.
Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.
Common Facts About Tanzania
Officially the “United Republic of Tanzania.” This beautiful east African country is a popular safari destination. Tanzania has a population of approximately 62 million people.
The country is bordered to the north by Uganda, Zambia to the southwest, the Indian Ocean to the east, Burundi, Rwanda, and Congo DR to the west. It is famous for its exotic wildlife, National parks, and intriguing culture.
Here are some fun facts about Tanzania that will give you a glimpse into this African gem, and maybe even lure you to its beauty.
Historical Facts About Tanzania
Maji Maji Revolution
This is a very important moment in Tanzania’s history. The Maji Maji rebellion in German East Africa, present-day Tanzania, was directed against German Colonials. The German colonials’ policies at the time exploited the people, forcing them to grow cotton for export.
Kinjikitile Ngwale led this movement. The rebellion lasted 2 years, from 1905 to 1907, with more than 100,000 people losing their lives due to famine.
Ultimately, the rebellion was unsuccessful, as the Germans exert more control over the African territories and other German colonies. But it inspired other uprisings which were more effective subsequently.
Independence In Tanzania
The story of how the country was formed is always an interesting one. Tanzania was a merger of two sovereign states Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Julius Nyerere, who was a schoolteacher and one of two Tanganyikas with a university education, formed a political party, TANU (Tanganyika African National Union).
Tanganyika gained independence through this party on the 9th of December, 1961. However, a British monarch remained as Queen of Tanganyika. A year later though, Nyerere became the first president of Tanganyika after a republican constitution was implemented.
On the 10th of December 1963, Zanzibar gained independence from the UK. However, it remained a constitutional monarchy under the Sultan.
That did not last long as a month later, the African majority revolted against the Sultan and took over Zanzibar. They then merged with Tanganyika, and a new country, “Tanzania,” was born.
Integrating Names And Identities From Tanganyika And Zanzibar
That said, Tanzania was just Tanganyika before 1964. Back then, it had a different flag with three colors, green, yellow, and black.
After the Zanzibar revolution and subsequent merger, the country took the “Tan” from Tanganyika, and “Zan” from Zanzibar to make up Tanzania. The country also had a new flag by integrating the blue color of Zanzibar Island.
Useful Facts About Tanzania For Tourists
Serengeti National Park
One proud fact about Tanzania is that it has some of the best national parks in the world. Serengeti is the most famous of the parks in Tanzania, and rightly so. It plays host to the “Great Migration.”
The Great Migration is one of the most spectacular and natural wildlife shows on Earth. It is a great experience for anyone and that is also why the park earns a spot as one of the 7 natural wonders of Africa.
Aside from being able to witness the Great Migration, there are also lions, elephants, and many other animals in Serengeti. An exciting fact about animals in Tanzania is that the country has one of the world’s largest populations of wild mammals.
The Great Migration
This is one of the most beautiful sights to behold in Tanzania. During the great migration, over 2 million wildebeest, gazelles, and zebras find their way across the plains through the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystem, searching for greener grasslands.
The Serengeti also houses many buffalo herds, elephants, giraffes, and leopards. The great migration is said to be the largest overland migration in the world. You can experience this migration all year round as it occurs in a circular pattern within the Serengeti National Park.
It comes as no surprise that a safari is one of the best things to do in Tanzania.
This is another popular tourist attraction in Tanzania. Sitting in the northern part of the country, Ngorongoro is said to be a result of a volcanic explosion.
This valley is by far one of the best wildlife safari locations in the World. Due to its enclosed nature, it has been able to groom a sophisticated ecosystem of its own. It is one of the top locations to spot game.
Here’s one Tanzania fact that you probably don’t know – the country is home to over 14,000 wild lions, making it the country with the highest lion population.
Ngorongoro Crater also houses the densest population of elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalos. Also, you can spot ostriches, zebras, gazelle, hippos, and wildebeest here.
Beaches Of Zanzibar
Beaches are not exactly something you associate with an African safari, but there are still some underrated beaches in Tanzania. The region of Zanzibar is, after all, an island.
Making a relaxing stop at the beaches in Zanzibar is the best way to round off your safari trip. The beaches here are popular for their crystal-like white sand and breathtaking Bluewater. They are actually some of the best in the world.
Cultural Facts About Tanzania
Nothing makes Tanzania culture beautiful like their dresses. Kitenge is an African garment much like a sarong. It is worn around the chest or the waist. However, some use them as a headscarf.
The kitenge is made in different colors and beautiful patterns. It is normal to see love or friendship messages printed on the edges of the kitenge. Make sure you get some on your travels; they are light and make for good gifts.
One of the stunning cultural facts about Tanzania is that there are at least 120 distinct tribes in the country.
Each of these tribes has one or two things that significantly distinguish them from other tribes.
You can know a tribe from the kind of mask they use, their poetry, carved items, and woven baskets, to name a few. There’s no place better place to experience cultural diversity.
Ugali The National Dish
You will find many delicious cuisines and food in Tanzania. Like many African countries, carbohydrates dominate most meals, with rice and corn being the poster child.
Unlike Nigeria, which chooses jollof rice as its national dish, the national dish in Tanzania is Ugali.
Ugali is a corn-based swallow popular in many African countries. However, other grains like millet and sorghum can be used as well. It is made by boiling water or milk and mixing the corn powder until it thickens and can be molded.
It is eaten with different types of stew and soup, accompanied by fish or meat.
Here’s an interesting fact about the Tanzania Gem – Tanzanite. This beautiful gem is specifically unique to Tanzania and is therefore named after the country. It is a semiprecious stone mainly of blue color and its different shades.
The most common are ultramarine blue, violet-blue, and blue, incorporating a purplish color shimmering around it. This gem can only be found in the Merelani hills in Tanzania, making them highly prized and coveted.
In many African countries, greeting someone with your left hand is considered rude and impolite. The same tradition is upheld in Tanzania. Similar to countries like India, the left hand is primarily used for hygiene, bathroom, and cleaning activities, therefore it is perceived as “dirty.”
Simple Tanzania Facts For Kids
Tea And Coffee
Tanzanians love to drink tea in the morning as breakfast, while they love to gulp coffee in the evening or at night. Both are warm, comforting beverages to wash down a heart meal or sweet dessert in Tanzania.
The country’s flag features four colors, green, yellow, black, and blue. The yellow represents mineral deposits in the country, the green represents nature and its beauty, the blue represents the beautiful lakes in the country, and the black represents the people.
Dodoma The Capital
Dodoma is the capital of Tanzania. It has a land area of 418 square km. It was made the capital of the country in 1974.
Languages In Tanzania
Although English is widely spoken in Tanzania, the official language is Swahili.
How about this for an interesting fact about Tanzania’s culture? Similar to its wide cultural diversity, there are also over 120 spoken languages in Tanzania.
30% Of Tanzania Is National Park
A whopping 30% of the land area in Tanzania is made up of the country’s national park. This is one of the highest percentages of a country’s land dedicated to national parks.
Most of the parks house some and, in some cases, all of the Big Five, including lions, leopards, African bush elephants, rhinos, and African buffalos.
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Other Interesting Facts About Tanzania
Tanzania is home to the second-largest freshwater Lake in the world by surface area. The Lake has a surface area of 59,947 square km. It is second to Lake Superior in Canada, with an estimated surface area of 82,103 square km.
Here is another fact about Tanzania that is worthy of note, it is home to the highest point in Africa. The title belongs to none other than the famous Mount Kilimanjaro. This snowcapped cone-shaped mountain is truly a beauty to behold.
Mountain Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. It stands at about 5,895 meters above sea level. It houses almost every ecological system, from rainforest to cultivated land, alpine desert, and an arctic summit.
Tree Climbing Lions
Here’s another beautiful fact about Tanzania. Lake Manyara Park houses an amazing species of lions.
Imagine lions climbing a tree, like actual lions, not as you have in cartoons and animated series. While lions can climb trees, it is uncommon and they are rather clumsy on them. In addition, they don’t particularly have a need to do so due to their strong ability in protecting themselves even on land.
However, this specie of tree-climbing lion in Lake Manyara National Park is said to be more unique to Tanzania. Why they really like climbing the trees is still a mystery with many plausible reasons, but you sure won’t let up a chance to see a lion chilling on a tree.
Ever heard of a tree that could live for a thousand years? Well, that’s Baobab. And you can spot many of these trees in Tanzania.
Tarangire National Park in Tanzania has many species of the Baobab tree, most of which are at least 1,000 years old. Although the oldest living baobab is speculated to be around 6,000 years, it can be found in South Africa.
This Lake is the second oldest freshwater lake in the world. It also boasts a spot as the second deepest Lake in the world after lake Baikal in the mountainous Russian region of Serbia.
The Lake has a depth of 642 meters below sea level. Here’s an interesting fact about Lake Tanganyika, it flows in 4 African countries. Tanzania, Zambia, Congo DR, and Burundi.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Tanzania
While Africa might not be the most popular continent for travel, Tanzania is a fascinating country with plenty to offer. With its diverse cultures, languages, and famous national parks, there are many interesting Tanzania facts to learn about.
You can see there are many intriguing aspects to the country, from millennium-old trees to tree-climbing lions. This is one place you have to experience yourself to truly get its wonders. Don’t miss out on exploring all that this African gem has, you will discover more amazing facts about Tanzania.