Africa Tours and Safaris
TANZANIA SAFARIS

  Tanzania Safaris    Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours    Tanzania Travel

Tanzania is East Africa's largest country and lies just south of the equator. Tanzania has the world-famous attractions; the plains of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, snow­capped Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa's highest mountain) and Zanzibar, with its idyllic palm-fringed beaches and historic Stone Town. Yet there's a whole lot more to Tanzania than these obvious highlights. Almost everywhere you go you'll find interesting wildlife and inspiring landscapes (over forty percent of the country is protected in some form or other) ranging from forest-covered volcanic peaks to dusty savanna populated by elephants, antelopes, lions, leopards and cheetahs. Tanzania is one of the four most naturally diverse nations on earth: it contains Africa's second-largest number of bird species, the continent's biggest mammal population and three-quarters of East Africa's plant species (over ten thousand). Add to this the country's rich ethnic diversity, some superb hiking and other activities like snorkeling and diving, and you have the makings of a holiday of a lifetime. For all its natural diversity, Tanza­nia's best asset is its people: friend­ly, welcoming, unassumingly proud and yet reserved - you'll be treated with uncommon warmth and courtesy wherever you go, and genuine friendships are easily made. The best known tribe air the Maasai, a pastoralist cattle heading, people who inhabit the region around the safari parks in the north, yet there are at least 127 other tribes in Tanzania, perhaps not as visually colorful as the red-robed, spear-carrying Maasai war­riors, but with equally rich tradi­tions, histories, customs, beliefs and music, much of which survive despite the ravages of colonialism, modernity arid Christianity.

Geography

Covering approximately 945,000 sq km, Tanzania lies on the east coast of Africa, just south of the equator. It shares borders with Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and the Indian Ocean. Tanzania also shares three great lakes—Victoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi—with its neighbors. The country is comprised of a wide variety of agro-ecological zones: low-lying coastal plains, a dry highland plateau, northern savannas, and cool, well-watered regions in the northwest and south. The 120 ethnic groups that inhabit Tanzania have adapted to a wide range of geophysical and climatic conditions. The specific habits, customs, and life-views of each group have been influenced by tribal traditions and alliances, European invasions, population movements over the centuries, and introduced and endemic diseases. In the late 1990s, the central political administration was moved from Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast to the more centrally located city of Dodoma, which lies in the middle of the central plateau. Because of Dodoma's dry climate, relative lack of economic development, and small size, however, the port of Dar es Salaam remains the urban center of national importance.

Economy

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than 40% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods. The World Bank, the IMF, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's out-of-date economic infrastructure and to alleviate poverty. Long-term growth through 2005 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals led by gold. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Continued donor assistance and solid macroeconomic policies supported real GDP growth of nearly 7% in 2007.

Climate

Tanzania has a pleasant tropical climate. Hot and humid along the coast (expect daytime temperatures of about 30'c), it becomes more comfortable as you move inland. Some areas lying at altitudes above 1000m are quite cool and even surprisingly chilly at night, so a warm fleece or jacket may be needed. July, August and September tend to be the cooler months, with February usually being the hottest. Most of the rainfall occurs between November and May, split into two rainy seasons. The short rains start in November and last 4 to 6 weeks. Long rains usually begin around March and continue through until the end of May. However the rains have been somewhat erratic in the past couple of years and it is hard to predict exactly when they will begin.

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