Tanzania is one of the East African countries bordering Kenya and Uganda. It is known for its breathtaking sceneries, beautiful beaches, and plentiful National parks. Coupled with a friendly political atmosphere and developing infrastructure, tourists consider it a perfect holiday destination.
Here, we discuss some Tanzania facts to help you understand the Swahili-speaking nation better.
1. Great Tourist Destination
Africa is famous for its wild animals; Tanzania is not short of those. From the Serengeti to the Gombe and Katavi National Parks, there is no limit to where you can see the big 5. Estimates show that about 30% of the country’s land is covered by national parks and animal conservation areas.
The great wildebeest migration (one of the world’s wonders) is also a worldwide attraction. Wildebeests cross from Tanzania to Kenya for food and water every late summer, resisting adversities like predation. The migration is usually a sight, especially for animal lovers and adrenaline junkies.
Apart from the wild animals, the beaches of Zanzibar are perfect for holidays, honeymoons, and weddings. Generally safe and clean, visiting the shorelines of Tanzania allows you to experience the tropical sun and sample the region’s ocean life.
2. It Has Africa’s Highest and Lowest Points
The Indian Ocean is Tanzania’s and one of Africa’s lowest points. On the other hand, the country is home to Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest in Africa and only behind Mt. Everest, Mt. Aconcagua, and Mt. Denali in world rankings.
Mt. Kilimanjaro, which shares its views with the southern parts of Kenya, is famous for hiking. It is considered one of the easiest and safest trails; it doesn’t need special techniques or equipment. Records show that Hans Meyer (a German geologist), Yohan Kinyala Lauwo (a local guide), and Ludwig Purtscheller were among the first to climb the mountain in 1889.
Geologists rank Mt. Kilimanjaro as the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
3. The Shortest War in History Happened in Tanzania
Historians consider the Anglo-Zanzibar battle of 1896 the shortest war, lasting less than an hour. However, while the action took place later in the 1890s, the feud started in 1890 when the Heligoland-Zanzibar treaty was signed, giving the British complete control over the Zanzibar archipelago.
The Brit’s first order of business was to install a puppet Sultan to govern the island, which did not go well with the natives. After ruling for some time, many believe the Sultan’s cousin, Khalid bin Barghash, poisoned him (unconfirmed).
However, the fact that Barghash took over immediately after the Sultan’s death raised eyebrows. It also did not go well with the Brits, and he was ordered to stand down. On the contrary, Barghash prepared for war and mentioned he did not believe what the nearby British soldiers were threatening.
In late August 1896, at around 9 a.m., the British soldiers attacked Barghash from his whereabouts. His men crumbled while he escaped from a back route. By around 9:40 in the morning, the war was complete. Surprisingly, the battle resulted in more than 500 casualties, most of which were Barghash’s men.
4. English and Swahili Are Tanzania’s National Languages
Even though Swahili is the most prominent language in Tanzania, English is considered a national language, too. Because the country was once a British colony, English is appreciated both officially and in informal settings.
However, Kiswahili is the most spoken, used in government parastatals, and is the medium of communication in schools. Other than the official languages, there are about 120 distinct tribes in Tanzania. The most prominent ones include Maasai, Hadzabe, Chagga, and Sukuma.
5. Tanzania Has a Female President
At the time of writing, Tanzania’s president is Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan. She has been the country’s head of state since March 19, 2021, when she took over from John Magufuli, who tragically passed away. Suluhu is Tanzania’s (and East Africa’s) first female president.
She joins the list of the few African female presidents, including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who led Liberia from 2006 to 2018, and Sahle-Work Zwede, the current president of Ethiopia. Joyce Banda and Ameenah Gurib-Fakim also make the lineup.
6. It Was Colonized By the Germans and British
Referred to as Tanganyika at the time, both Germans and British ruled the region in the 19th and 20th centuries. First, it was colonized by the Germans between 1880s and 1919. Then, the British took over from 1919 to 1961 when Tanzania regained its political independence.
As a result of the British rule, Tanzania adopted much from the European country, including the national language and driving on the left-hand side of the road.
7. Olduvai Gorge Bears the Oldest Evidence of Human Existence
Regarding the history of human existence and revolution, Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge has much to say; it is one of the world’s most vital paleoanthropological sites. Located on the eastern Serengeti Plains and within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Olduvai Gorge possesses evidence of man’s earliest existence.
From human skeletons to stone tools and other deposits that proved early human habitation, Olduvai Gorge was critical to the success made by archeologists such as the Leakey family.