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Tanzania

Tanzania

General Information

Tanzania is located in East Africa between longitudes 29 degrees and 41 degrees east and latitudes 1 degree and 12 degrees south. Tanzania borders Kenya to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south, and it is the largest country in East Africa (943,000 sq km), comprising of both the mainland and the Zanzibar Archipelago.

A large central plateau makes up most of the mainland (at between 900m and 1800m) and the mountain ranges of the Eastern Arc and the Southern and Northern Highlands cut across the country to form part of the Great Rift Valley.  A land of geographical extremes, Tanzania has the highest peak – Mount Kilimanjaro, the lowest point – the lake bed of Lake Tanganyika, and the largest lake – Lake Victoria, on the continent.

Climate

With such a perfect location, perched on the edge of the African continent, and facing the Indian Ocean, Tanzania’s weather and climate leaves everything to be desired. Warm and sunny days are followed by cool and balmy nights, and whether you’re on a safari on the Serengeti plains or enjoying the tropical beaches of Zanzibar, the temperatures are always welcoming and gentle. Consult Weather and Climate to find out about the best times to visit, and to learn more about the monsoon winds and seasonal rains.

But sun-filled and beautiful days are not all that Tanzania has to offer. On the contrary, the country’s borders hold a vast number of people and tribes whose varied cultures and traditions make up the rich tapestry that is the Tanzanian culture. 

Although Tanzania is a country rich in culture and traditions, its history is also one of the treasured heritage and pride. From the early days of mankind’s history, man has called the land of Tanzania home – its verdant mountains as well as its scrubland plains. Find out more about our country’s rich history, from the arrival of merchants and traders on the Swahili Coast to the peaceful political climate that exists today.

Tanzanians enjoy a climate of freedom and peace during daily lives, and value community and togetherness very highly. Religion is an expression of community and culture, and one that binds all of us as citizens, not only to our country but also to the people around us. Tanzanians practise Christianity, Islamic, and traditional African religions in tolerance and understanding.

Tanzania lies below the equator, the coolest months occur during the northern hemisphere’s summer, and all-year round the weather remains pleasant and comfortable. Between June and October, temperatures range from around 10°C in the northern highlands to about 23°C on the coast. On the plains and the lower-altitude game reserves, the temperatures from June to October are warm and mild. On the coast, these months are some of the most pleasant to visit, with balmy, sunny weather most of the day and cooling ocean breezes at night.

From December to March, the days are hot and sunny without often a cloud in the sky. Temperatures range from the mid-twenties to the low thirties throughout the country while visitors flock to the parks and beaches to escape the dreariness of late winter in colder climes. Clear sunny days are the norm in the northern highlands and the heat of mid-day is tempered by the golden light in the late afternoon and the especially striking sunsets. In the game parks and central plains, the beautiful weather provides perfect opportunities for unhampered game viewing, and clear night skies offer perfect opportunities for star-gazing and romantic evenings in the bush. On the shores of the Swahili Coast, the Indian Ocean reaches its highest temperatures and its ideal for swimming at any time of day or night.

Tanzania’s equatorial climate brings two seasons of rain each year: the masika or long rains that fall from mid-March to the end of May, and the mvuli or short rains, that come intermittently throughout November and parts of December, and sometimes stretch into early January. During the long rains, heavy showers fall in the early mornings but usually clear up by mid-day, with the weather often remaining clear and sunny until late afternoon. By evening, impressive cloud formations build, breaking sometime after dark and the rain often continues throughout the night. During the short rains, light showers in the mornings and late afternoons are punctuated by stretches of clear weather and beautiful rays of sunlight. The beginning of both rainy seasons is marked by a change in the winds which historically, marked the time for trading boats to set off on expeditions across the Indian Ocean or return to their native lands.

Places To go

Tanzania is a land of contrasts and majesty, Africa at its most wild and unexplored. There is the snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and the sun-kissed beaches of Zanzibar, the vast herds of game grazing on the Serengeti plains and the slow volcanic eruption of Ol Donyo Lengai. With so much natural wealth, it’s no wonder that Tanzania has something for everyone.  While Tanzania’s most famous and world-renowned destinations are the highlights that bring visitors to our country from around the globe, there’s much more to see and do than most people think. Explore all the main destinations and venture far off the beaten track to give you an informed overview of all the places of interest in our country, from little-known but spectacular Swahili ruins on the southern coast to the hunter gatherer tribes of the northern highlands.  Islands, mountains, volcanoes or lakes - whatever your desire – Tanzania has it all.

Information courtesy of Tanzania Tourism.

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