Tanzania is east Africa’s largest country, covering an area of nearly 950,000 sq km, almost 4 times the size of the UK. It is bordered by 8 other countries including Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia and its eastern border is the Indian Ocean.
Despite being a poor country and with a subsequent low standard of living, currently 154th of 164 countries monitored on the Human Development Index (HDI); Tanzania is world famous due to its natural environment, including the snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro and the island paradise of Zanzibar. Tanzania is regarded as one of the best wildlife destinations in the world, and there are few places where nature so fully abounds. As the first president Julius Nyerere said, “These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are… a source of wonder and inspiration”.
The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, contain over a million hoofed animals participating in a timeless cycle following the grazing throughout the savanna plains. The combination of these magnificent natural phenomena with sites such as the Olduvai Gorge; have helped to attract over 500,000 tourists annually to Tanzania, making tourism Tanzania’s premier income generator.
The coastal regions including the important settlement of Kilwa had long witnessed maritime squabbles between Portuguese and Arabic traders, it wasn’t until the middle of the 18th century that Arab traders and slavers dared venture into Massai territory in the country’s wild interior.
Tanganyika was granted independence in 1961, followed by the island nation of Zanzibar two years later. In 1964 the two countries merged as the United Republic of Tanzania. Tanzania’s independence was due to the work of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) and its leader Julius Nyerere, who became the first president.
Tanzania is now escaping the shadow of its northern neighbour, Kenya, and emerging as a prime tourist destination. With friendly people and amazing natural beauty, Tanzania is at the crossroads of a new beginning where the historical past blends with the new, and where eco-tourism is being given the full support of the government.