Tanzania Tourist Board
Head Office
P. O. Box 2485, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Phone : (+51) 341244/5
Fax : (+51)46780

Physical geography

Tanzania is located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean between Kenya to the north and Mozambique to the south. It also borders Malawi, to the south, Zambia to the southwest, Rwanda and Burundi to the west, and Uganda to the northwest. Most of Tanzania consists of the territory of Tanganyika on the African mainland, but the islands of Pemba, Zanzibar and Mafia, all of which lie in the Indian Ocean just off the mainland, are also part of the country.

The coastal plains lead inward to the central plateau area of the country, and there are highlands to the north and the south. There are a number of particularly lofty peaks in the northen highlands, among them Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.


The climate varies from tropical heat along the coast and on the islands, to more temperate weather in the highland regions. There are two seasons of rain in Tanzania, the long rains from late March until June and the short rains from November until January. The long rains fall in heavy downpours, often accompanied by violent storms. The short rains tend to be much less severe.

Economic geography

Tanzania's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which employs 90 per cent of the work force. The most important crops on the mainland are coffee, cotton and sisal, while in Zanzibar and Pemba, agriculture centres around cloves and coconut products. Recent economic reforms have led to both an increase in agricultural production and of production in other sectors, including the industrial sector and mining, particularly gold.


The population of Tanzania was estimated at 30 million in 1996, of whom around 800,000 live on the islands. The population is largely Bantu, but there are also significant Asian, European and Arab minorities.

A brief history

Tanganyika was occupied by Germany in 1884, but control passed to the British after the First World War, and the territory continued to be administered by the British until 1961, when it became an independent state within the Commonwealth under the presidency of Julius Nyerere. Zanzibar and Pemba held British protectorate status from 1890, and were granted independence in 1963, also within the Commonwealth. Within a year of independence, the two countries combined to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was later renamed Tanzania. In 1965, Nyerere's presidency of the unified state was comprehensively ratified by popular vote in both part of the country.


On the mainland, 45 per cent of the population is Christian, 35 per cent Muslim, and 20 per cent adhere to various indigenous beliefs. More than 99 per cent of the population of Zanzibar is Muslim.

Languages spoken by nationals

English and Swahili are the official languages. Arabic is widely spoken in Zanzibar. There are also many local languages.


Tanzania is three hours ahead of GMT.


The Tanzanian Shilling (TSh) divides into 100 cents.

Official holidays (all offices and shops closed)

Union Day, 26th April

What one should not fail to see

The Serengeti National Park supports one of the richest wildlife populations on earth, and is renowned for the annual migration of wildebeest and zebra.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. For theadventurous, a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro is a must; climb through the mists of equatorialjungle to reach the snows and breath-takingviews of the summit.

In Western Tanzania, on the banks of Lake Tanganyika, lie the Mahale Mountains National Park and the Gombe Stream National Park. Both these parks are famous for their wild chimpanzees and the research that goes on into animal behaviour.

Tanzania's best kept secret is the Ruaha National Park. Due to its relative inaccessibility, Ruaha is Africa as it once was centuries ago, yet with all the comforts that today's traveller expects. Its name derives from the great Ruaha River which flows along its entire border creating spectacular gorges. The Ruaha protects a wide variety of habitats including evergreen forest and swamp and contains the largest elephant population of Tanzania.

Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring

Northern Tanzania - July through October, December through March.

Southern Tanzania - June through October.

Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia - The climate is tropical and the times to go are July through October, and December through March.

Western Tanzania - May through October.

How to dress

Despite the tropical heat it is important to keep oneself covered as much as possible, especially during the evening, as a number of diseases spread by mosquito bites, including malaria, are prevalent in Tanzania.

Passports and visas

Passports are required for all travellers to Tanzania.

Health and Safety

All visitors to Tanzania should consult a doctor beforehand to ensure that all the relevant inoculations and vaccinations are up-to-date. They should also take a course of anti-malaria tablets.

US visitors should read the consular information sheet provided by the US State Department.

It is recommended that British visitors to Tanzania read the travel advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London.