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Tanzania: imposing volcanoes and vast savannas

Tanzania is an independent state of East Africa, located along the shores of the Indian ocean. This African state was formed in 1964 by the union of the old British colonies of Zanzibar and Tanganyika. The country is historically oriented towards the coast of the Indian ocean, it is here that the majority of the population lives and it is here that the main commercial activities are concentrated.

Off the coast are the three islands of Pemba (980 km²), Zanzibar (1,666 km²) and Mafia (394 km²) from north to south. These islands are famous for the production of spices. Along the coast of the Indian Ocean is also the old capital, the city of Dar es Salaam, which is Tanzania’s most important urban area. To rebalance Tanzania economically and commercially, the new capital, the town of Dodoma, was built between 1986 and 1996 in the center of the country.

Tanganyika, that is the continental part of present-day Tanzania, was a German colony from the end of the 19th century to the end of the First World War, and after the end of the war it became a British colony. The islands of Zanzibar and Pemba were a British protectorate from the second half of the nineteenth century.

THE GEOGRAPHY OF TANZANIA

The continental part of Tanzania consists of a narrow coastal plain and a vast hinterland formed largely by plateaus and some mountain ranges. The north-eastern area of the country is characterized by the presence of Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters), a dormant volcano which is the highest mountain in Africa. In the same area there is also the imposing active volcano of Mount Meru (4,565 meters). There are numerous volcanic craters in this region, the most famous being the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater.

The central part of Tanzania is made up of a region of highlands that rise between 1,000 and 1,400 meters. But where there are also mountain ranges that exceed 2,500 meters in height such as the Udzungwa Mountains and the Uluguru Mountains.

THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY

In the north-western part of the county, on the border with Kenya and Uganda, there is the huge Lake Victoria (68,800 km²), the largest African lake. To the west, the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and part of that with Zambia is marked by the long Tanganyika Lake (32,900 km²), which is the deepest African lake (1,470 meters deep).

To the southwest, on the border with Malawi is Lake Niassa or Malawi (29,600 km²). Around the lake rise, in the Tanzanian territory, the Livingstone Mountains or Kipengere Range, which touch the 3,000 meters of height. This area of the country is marked by the presence of the tectonic depression of the Great Rift Valley, which has often been filled with water to form these huge lakes. Other countries with which Tanzania borders are Rwanda and Burundi to the north-west, while Mozambique is to the south.

The climate of Tanzania.

The Government of Tanzania.

  • Surface: 945,203 sq km (Arative 3.2%, Meadows and Pastures 37%, Forests and Woods 35.6%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 24.2%)
  • Population: 56,300,000 (2018) Shona (80%), Ndebele (15%).
  • Capital: Dodoma (legislative capital).
  • Languages: Official languages are Swahili and English.
  • Religion: Christian 60% (Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran), Muslim 35%, Animist 3%.
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
  • Time zone: UTC +3.
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