Top events in Tanzania

October
26

This is the Hindu, Sikh and Jain Festival of Light, which symbolises the triumph of good over evil in every human being. The large Indian...

December
01

The East African Art Biennale Exhibition showcases contemporary Tanzanian, Ugandan and Kenyan artists, painters, sculptors and photographers as...

January
01

The island of Pemba is famed for its traditional sport of bull fighting. Unlike its Spanish counterpart, this sport does not involve killing the...

Kilamanjaro, Tanzania
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Kilamanjaro, Tanzania

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Tanzania Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

945,087 sq km (364,900 sq miles).

Population

48.3 million (2013).

Population density

51.1 per sq km.

Capital

Dodoma.

Government

Federal Republic since 1964. Tanganyika gained independence from the UK in 1961. In 1964, Tanganyika joined with Zanzibar, which had been a British protectorate until 1963, and became Tanzania.

Head of state

President Jakaya Kikwete since 2005. Zanzibar is semi-autonomous and has its own parliament and president (President Ali Mohamed Shein since 2010).

Head of government

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda since 2008.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are mostly UK-style square three-pin, but round three-pin plugs are also in use. Power cuts are common in the rainy season, though most large hotels and businesses have back-up generators.

Close your eyes and conjure up the quintessential image of Africa: the drama of the wildebeest migration along an infinite savannah; the incongruous snow of Mt Kilimanjaro; proud Masai warriors stalking the plains; exotic palm-fringed beaches on the spice islands of Zanzibar. Now look no further - it's all here in Tanzania.

Throngs of wildlife roam free in sprawling national parks, fishermen still plough the turquoise waters off Tanzania's coast in dhows (traditional wooden sailboats), and pristine beaches lie in wait for the sun-worshipping crowd. Best of all, Tanzania has seen little of the strife that has afflicted other African nations, meaning that all its treasures are tantalisingly accessible.

Tanzania boasts some of the most impressive National Parks and game reserves in all of Africa. The plains and savannahs of the Serengeti National Park are considered the premier spot on the continent to see wildlife roam unheeded across vast plains. Nearby, within the steep walls of the Ngorongoro Crater lies one of the most densely concentrated populations of African animals on earth. These include wildebeest, gazelle, zebra, lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant and even the elusive white rhino. Not to be forgotten, the Selous Game Reserve is larger than Switzerland, and is wild, remote and virtually untouched by any human presence save for a handful of safari camps in the north. Other parks like Ruaha will appeal to those who want to experience magnificent game watching well off the popular tourist trail of the northern circuit parks and reserves, while, for those with a penchant to get off the beaten track, the parks in the extreme west of the country, Gombe Stream and Mahale, offer the unique opportunity to track chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

With its pearly-white beaches, Tanzania has 804km (503 miles) of sublime coastline and some magnificent islands offshore. Known as the Swahili Coast, it was a favoured stop on ancient trading routes between the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. Spices, jewels and slaves once passed through, bringing with them a melange of cultural riches that remain today. The colourful language of Swahili (referred to as Kiswahili) was born here, and features words not only of African origin, but ones from as far away as Indonesia and China. The ruins of once sophisticated cities with their old mosques, Arabian-style houses and coral palaces still remain, while places like Stone Town on Zanzibar and Bagamoyo on the mainland are still today living testaments to the Swahili coastal tradition that has gone on for thousands of years.

A mountain that needs no introduction is Mt Kilimanjaro, snow-capped and standing as Africa's tallest mountain at 5,895m (19,341ft). Open for climbing to those with energy and time on their hands, the week-long ascent and watching the sunrise over Uhuru Peak is one of Africa's most challenging achievements. Tanzania is home to over 120 different ethnic groups and takes pride in its multicultural heritage. The tall, red-robed Masai are the best known of Tanzania's people and are easily visited as part of a safari itinerary.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 20 October 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Opposition party Chadema have announced they intend to hold a demonstration in Arusha on Saturday 20 September. Demonstrations were held in Dar es Salaam on 18 September in which some protestors and journalists were injured. Chadema leaders have called for countrywide demonstrations so others could occur elsewhere around the country. You should avoid areas where large crowds gather.

There has been an increase in cases of dengue fever, particularly in Dar es Salaam.

Although most visits to Tanzania are trouble-free, violent and armed crime is increasing. Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

There is an underlying threat from terrorism.

Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, especially for shipping that does not take appropriate precautions. There have been an increasing number of piracy attacks in the waters immediately off Tanzania. See River and sea travel.

In the last few years there have been 2 major ferry disasters in which hundreds of people have died. A number of people were also killed in a ferry incident on 5 January 2014. If you believe a ferry is overloaded or unseaworthy, don’t get on.

Long distance buses are often involved in accidents which can be fatal.

Around 75,000 British nationals visit Tanzania every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

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