Tanzania: Holidays, Events, Climate
|January 1||New Year|
|January 12||Zanzibar Revolution Day|
|February||Eid al-Haji (Festival of Sacrifice)|
|26th of April||Union day/national holiday|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|May||Mouloud (Prophet’s Birthday)|
|7th of July||Saba Saba (business day)|
|8th August||Nane Nane (Farmers Day)|
|November||Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)|
|9th of December||Independence day|
Source: Countryaah – Tanzania Holidays
The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the festival day Eid al-Fitr, Muslims do not eat during the day but only after sunset, which is why many restaurants are closed during the day. The festivals Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Haji last 2-10 days depending on the region.
In the Sukuma Museum near Mwanza, traditional dances of the Wasukuma tribe, including the Bugobobobo (Sukuma snake dance), are shown every week. In Makunduchi on Zanzibar, during the Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr, an event takes place in which men flagellate themselves with banana palm fronds. The women of the village community then sing traditional songs, followed by a party and dance night. Also on Zanzibar there is the Mwakakongwa Festival and the Tarnasha Festival every July.
The climate in Tanzania differs within the western central area and the coast.
Western central area
Here the average daytime temperatures are 28-29 °C all year round. In October they can rise to 32 °C. At night they drop to around 17 °C. From May to August the temperatures drop to 14-16 °C and from October to November to 19 °C. There is a rainy season from November to April with 50-150 mm of rainfall per month. The air humidity in the western central area is around 60 – 70% all year round.
The daily average temperatures on the coast fluctuate from 29 – 32 °C. At night they drop to 18-24 °C. The rainy season on the coast begins in March and lasts until May. There is about 100-300 mm of rainfall per month. The air humidity is around 70% in the dry season and over 80% in the rainy season.
Language and manners
Swahili is the main and most widely spoken language in Tanzania, even if people learn their tribal language first. Out of respect, it is advisable to master at least a few phrases and phrases in Swahili, especially since English is nowhere near as widespread as it is in Kenya. Important expressions are the greeting phrase “Hujambo?” (= How are you?) And the answer “Sijambo!” (= I’m fine!). The term “Jambo” is used as a short form of “Hujambo” among Tanzanians, but is considered a typical tourist expression for package and safari vacationers. When greeting older or higher standing people, use “Shikamoo” or “Chei Chei” (= I hold your foot!) In Zanzibar, with the answer “Marahaba” usually following. “Shikamoo Bwana” is even friendlier for men and “Shikamoo Mama” for older women. These few expressions show the country visitor’s respect and desire for real cultural learning.
If you do any work, Tanzanians like to comment on it with “Pole na kazi” (= I’m sorry that you have to work ”). A good answer to this is a simple “Asante” (= thank you). The best way to respond to intrusive (street) traders is to shake your head and say “Asante Sana” (= no, thank you). “Hapana” works too. It means “No!” But is perceived as very rude. It should therefore not be used in an inflationary way, but only as a final form of rejection. By far the most polite way of rejecting something is “Sihitaji” (= I do not need it!).
And one more thing: White visitors often hear the word “Mzungu”. It is Kiswahili for white foreigners, but it is not meant rude or insulting.
Time of day
Tanzanians have a different understanding of time, which can lead to misunderstandings. The fact that the people in the country do not have the Western sense of time does not (only) follow the African understanding, according to which appointments are flexible and people come when they like. For Tanzanians, it is simply illogical that the day begins in the middle of the night for Westerners. For them, the day begins when the sun rises; and that is at 6 a.m. – zero hour in Tanzania. So you have to know that they always subtract six hours from western time. So if you meet a Tanzanian at 11 a.m., you shouldn’t expect him before 5 p.m. – probably even later, because punctuality is not very common in the country anyway. The chaos dissolves, however, because Tanzanians use English,
In general, tourists should dress modestly and rather conservatively – especially in Zanzibar, where society consists mainly of conservative Muslims. Women shouldn’t be too revealing, but are welcome to wear “kangas”, brightly colored clothing that is wrapped around the body and is still the best answer as discreet body covering.
Photography is possible nationwide, but you should definitely not take pictures of women in the Muslim areas. The best way to behave is to always ask before taking a picture. Tourists like to take pictures of the proud Masai, which immediately catch the visitor’s eye with their colorful clothing. But one should know that they should be asked first and that in most cases they want to be paid.
As in other parts of Black Africa, dances as a means of artistic expression are an important part of daily life in Tanzania. But they are also rituals for establishing a connection with the ancestors and their souls. The dances are performed in the whole community, with the group divided into dancers and non-dancers. Both have an important role to play. You can learn and study the traditional dances of Tanzania, especially in Chuo cha Sanaa in Bagamoyo and at the Bujora Cultural Center near Mwanza. These institutions, dedicated to the mediation and training of cultural dances, should also offer protection from alienation and flattening as tourist entertainment.
Film and cinema
Tanzania can only be proud of a small, albeit interesting film industry since the 1990s. With the opening of the Zanzibar International Film Festival in 1998, the country received the importance it deserves. In addition to artistic contributions such as the films Women of Hope and Maangamizi by Martin M’hando, the soap operas, which are mainly produced in Dar es Salaam, are also attracting attention.
Situation of women
The situation of women in Tanzania is not very good. Not only that girls usually have to leave school early and therefore have little chance of finding a qualified and better-paid job. The result is often great poverty, made worse by sexual abuse, violence and mistreatment. Sexual assaults infect women and girls disproportionately with HIV. Violence against women is largely unpunished, and the UN Human Rights Committee has also expressed concern about the widespread level of domestic violence. Another problem is the lack of effective measures to combat genital mutilation.
Many children – orphaned by their parents’ HIV disease – are forced either to look after their younger siblings or to work. UNICEF estimates that around 36% of children under the age of 14 are in work, with rural children working up to 17 hours a day. The work on the plantations is also extremely hard and paid far less than that of adults. Another problem is the high level of child prostitution.
Amnesty International documented numerous cases in 2009 where people in Tanzania were murdered who suffered from a metabolic disease known as albinism, which manifests itself as a pigment disorder. While 20 people were murdered in 2009, the number has grown to over 50 in the last two years.
Homosexuals and transgender people experience humiliation and violence again and again in Tanzania. Sexual acts between people of the same sex are considered a criminal offense and can be punished with up to 14 years in prison. Interestingly, Tanzania is acting against the principles of the African Charter of Human and International Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which the country has signed.
Tanzania is best known for the carvings of the Makonde, a Bantu people who live in the south-east of the country (as well as in north-east Mozambique). The greatest concentration of Makonde carvers can be found in Dar Es Salaam, where they offer their fascinating goods mainly at the Mwenge market. There you also have the opportunity to watch them at work. These are mostly made of ebony or mpingo (= African blackwood).
Tanzania’s traditional musical instruments of the Bantu peoples are, in addition to the zither-like kalimba (marimba in Kiswahili) st), the siwa (= horns), the kayamba (= rattle with wheat grains), tari (= tambourine) and the ngoma (= drums). These instruments also find their way into modern Tanzanian music, which has been influenced by that of the Congo. The result is a mixture of jazz, rock, rumba, reggae and traditional tones, which is called lingala music. Variations of this are the bongo beat, a music created primarily in Dar es Salaam with texts in Kiswahili, and the bongo flava, the hip-hop variant of lingala music. Taarab music is only known in Zanzibar, but it does not play a major role in the rest of Tanzania.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that TZ stands for the nation of Tanzania as a two-letter acronym.
Cities in Tanzania
Located in the region of the same name, Dodoma is the capital of Tanzania, but with around 180,500 residents it is only the eighth largest city in the country. The city, which is quite poor in terms of sights, was founded in 1907 under German colonial rule and replaced Dar es Salaam as the official capital in 1974. The seat of government is still in Dar.
Dar es Salaam (also Dar es Salaam, Dar-es-Salam, DSM or Dar)
The “House of Peace”, often only briefly called Dar, is Tanzania’s largest city with around 2,700,000 residents. Dar Es Salaam acts as the seat of government, is the seat of a Lutheran and a Catholic bishop and is also a university town. The city is certainly not on the tourist list that every visitor to the country has made for himself. Nevertheless, it has charm and offers deep insights into the culture and lifestyle of the country, especially in the immediate city center. Tanzania’s financial and economic center, with its heavy traffic, the employees rushing into the offices, the busy representatives and street vendors, is a wonderfully lively place that only becomes quiet again at night when the nightlife shifts from the city center to the residential areas of the metropolis.
The district capital of the administrative region of the same name is one of the ten largest cities in Tanzania with around 210,000 residents. The university town of Morogoro extends near the Uluguru Mountains and is a supraregional center of the agricultural processing industry.
The city of Mwanza, with around 225,000 residents, is the capital of the region of the same name on Lake Victoria and, due to its central location, one of the most important industrial and economic centers in Tanzania. The city has the international airport Mwanza Lake Victoria International, which also has the longest runway in Tanzania and connects to Dar Es Salaam twice a day. The port of Mwanzas on Lake Victoria is also important. The city, its historical buildings and its beautiful surroundings are extremely interesting for tourists.
About 130,000 people have settled in Tabora, a city founded in the 19th century in the Tanzanian interior, which was once an important place for the caravan trade in East Africa. Today’s capital of the region of the same name doesn’t offer much to see, but not far from the city are the former slave trading station Kwihara (formerly Kazeh) and the local forest reserve Igombe Dam.
Tanga is located on the north coast of the country and is the main port in the country. From here the island of Pemba, the Amani nature reserve, the Amboni caves or the Mkomazi Widschutzgebier can be easily reached. The city with 225,000 residents is perhaps still remembered by the Germans from the battle of Tanga. Here, in November 1914, the “Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Ostafrika” (Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Ostafrika) triumphed over numerically superior British-Indian units under Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, who was born in Saarlouis.
Askari Monument in Dar Es Salaam
The Askari Monument in Dar Es Salaam is dedicated to the Askari soldiers who fought in the British Carrier Corps during World War II. It rises between Samora Avenue and Maktaba Street, in the center of Downtown Dar. The centerpiece of the statue, which was unveiled in 1927, is “The Askari”, the bronze statue of a soldier made by the British sculptor James Alexander.
Beit-el-Ajaib (House or Palace of Miracles) in Stone Town
The Beit-el-Ajaib (dt. Palace or House of Wonders) is a landmark and the largest and tallest building in Stone Town on Zanzibar. It hugs the Forodhani Gardens and rises between the Old Fort and the Palace Museum, formerly the Sultan’s palace. The house, built in 1883, is one of six palaces that were once devised by the Zanzibari Sultan Barghash bin Said. The House of Wonders currently houses the Museum of the History and Culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast. The building got its mysterious name because of a rather banal fact: It was the first building in Zanzibar that had electricity and at the same time the first in East Africa to have an elevator.
Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Dar Es Salaam
The multifunctional national stadium in Dar Es Salaam bears the name of the former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa. The impressive sports facility with its capacity for 60,000 spectators is currently used for football matches in particular. The stadium, which was completed in 2007, was designed by a Chinese company, with the People’s Republic participating in the building on a large scale. The Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium, which also complies with the FIFA and Olympic guidelines, replaced the William Mkapa Stadium as Tanzania’s national sports venue.
Bunge in Dodoma
On the road to Dar Es Salaam are the new, earth-safe parliament buildings, which should be a must for every visitor to Tanzania. Unfortunately, access is limited. It is also not possible to photograph the building without permission.
Fort Boma in Tabora
One of the few impressive buildings in the city of Tabora is Fort Boma, a fortress built by the Germans at the end of the 19th century. The building, designed in colonial style, is currently used by the Tanzanian military.
Hotel Kaiserhof in Tanga
To put it straight away: the famous Nobel Hotel Kaiserhof in Tanga no longer exists. But you can still see the former hotel building on Independance Avenue. At the time of its inception, it was the only hotel on the east coast of Africa. It also acted as the cultural center of Tanga. That only changed with the conquest of the city by the British in 1916.
Mafuta House in Dar Es Salaam
As one of the largest buildings in Tanzania’s seat of government Dar Es Salaam, the Mafutu House shapes the skyline of the metropolis. The multi-million dollar home is owned by the National Social Security Fund and is used for commercial and commercial purposes.
Mlimani City in Dar Es Salaam
The Mlimani City is a shopping center in Dar Es Salaam, which is also the largest in Tanzania. The 19,000 m2 structure was opened in November 2006 and has since offered its visitors countless shops, restaurants and the Century Cinemax, the largest screen in East Africa.
Saint Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral in Dar Es Salaam
The beautiful Saint Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral in Dar Es Salaam was built between 1897 and 1902. What is striking about the cathedral is its white shape, which is interrupted by red roofs.
House of Wonders Museum in Stone Town
The House of Wonders Museum in Stone Town, Zanzibar, opened in the early 2000s and has a permanent exhibition on the art and culture of Swahili and Zanzibar. There are also exhibits on the East African environment. The inner courtyard, which is taken up by a large Mtepe, a traditional Swahili boat, is remarkable in itself. Around this courtyard are further rooms on three floors that show exhibits on other topics. The museum is part of the Palace of Miracles and is bordered by two old Portuguese statues from the 16th century at the entrance.
Livingstone Museum in Kwihara
In the capital of the eponymous region of Kwihara, which is not worth seeing, is the Livingstone Museum, whose exhibition honors the city’s most famous visitor, Dr. David Livingston. The small museum shows an exhibition on the work and the person of the Scottish missionary and Africa explorer.
Makumbusho Village Museum in Dar Es Salaam
The Makumbusho Village Museum houses examples of traditional architecture and traditional handicrafts. All houses in the village were designed to be in harmony with the construction methods of the various ethnic groups in Tanzania.
National Museum in Dar Es Salaam
The National Museum in Dar Es Salaam mainly shows exhibits such as photographs on human development.
St. Augustine University Tanzania in Nyegezi-Malimbe
This Roman Catholic private university is located in Nyegezi-Malimbe near Mwanza. It was founded in 1998 by Anthony Petro Mayalla, the then Archbishop of Mwanza. It received official state recognition in 2002. The campus of the St. Augustine University of Tanzania, which is currently attended by 3,500 students, extends 10 km south of Mzamba.
St John’s University of Tanzania in Dodoma
In 1999 a synod came to the decision to establish the current University of the Anglican Church. The aim was to establish an institution for higher education in order to give people a way out of hunger, poverty and disease. St. John’s University, which was finally founded a little later, is now located in the Kikuyu district of Tanzania’s capital Dodoma. Social sciences, technology, theology and natural sciences are taught.
University of Dar Es Salaam
The oldest and largest public university in Tanzania currently trains around 16,500 students and consists of several individual universities, Ardhi University, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Open University of Tanzania, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, International Medical and Technological University, and Kampala International University.
University of Dodoma
The University of Dodoma has existed since 2007 and, after extensive renovations and expansions, is expected to teach around 40,000 students. Degrees are offered in human and social sciences as well as in computer science and education.
Arusha National Park
The Arusha National Park covers an area of 137 km².
The park is located in northeast Tanzania north of the city of Arusha on the border with Kenya between Kilimanjaro (m) and the extinct volcano “Mount Meru” (4,566 m), which became part of the 1960 Ngurdoto Crater National Park. The park also includes the Ngurdoto Crater. The park is located at altitudes between 1,500 m and the summit of Mount Merus. The landscape is very diverse and ranges from forests to lakes, swamps, grasslands and alpine mountains. The following animals can be found in the National Park: African buffalo, African elephants, Anubis baboons, diademed monkeys, hippos, giraffes, Grevy’s zebras, Kirk-Dikdiks, leopards, mongooses, coat monkeys, warthogs and waterbuck.
Gombe Stream National Park
The Gombe Stream National Park is the smallest national park in Tanzania with an area of 52 km² – a strip of land of steep slopes and river valleys that surround the sandy shores of Lake Tanganyika. It is located in western Tanzania on the east bank of Lake Tanganyika – around 15 km north of Kigoma near the border with Burundi.
The park received special attention from the researcher Jane Goodwill, who has not only observed the chimpanzees in the park since 1960 but also lived with them. In addition to the chimpanzees, Anubis baboons, red-tailed monkeys and red colobus monkeys live here. In addition, around 200 different species of birds live here, such as the osprey or the beautifully colored red drip-tiger. There is a chimpanzee observation station in the park.
Katavi National Park
The remote and still little-visited Katavi National Park covers an area of 4,471 km². The park is located in the southwest of the country, east of Lake Tanganyika, in an arm of the Rift Valley, which ends in an extension of Lake Rukwa. The park’s headquarters are in Sitalike – about 40 km south of Mpanda. The hippos and crocodiles that live here are very impressive. Groups of elen, sable and roan antelopes live in the dense Miombo dry forest that covers most of the park. But the most popular attractions for humans and animals are the alluvial plains of the Katuma River with its marshy banks, where numerous water birds live. It is estimated that 4,000 elephants live here – in addition to buffalos, giraffes, hyenas, impalas, reedbucks as well as zebras and other animals.
The Kitulo Plateau National Park is located near the city of Mbeya at an altitude of over 2,000 m in the southern highlands of the country. It covers an area of 442 km². The park is bordered by the Poroto Mountains in the north, the Kipengere Mountains in the east and the Livingstone Mountains in the west. The highest mountain is Mount Mtorwi, located in the Kipengere Mountains, 2,961 m high. The park is famous for its variety of flowers, and it is also one of the most important catchment areas of the Great Ruaha River. Flower lovers will find 42 different species of orchid, the yellow-orange torch lily and aloes, proteas, geraniums, giant lobelia, lilies and aster marguerites, of which more than 30 species only occur here
Lake Manyara National Park
The Lake Manyara National Park covers an area of around 330 km², of which around 200 km² is covered by Lake Manyara when the water level is high. In northern Tanzania, the park stretches for around 50 km at the foot of the Rift Valley rock face – which borders the park to the west. The entrance to the park is about 120 km west of Arusha. Lake Manyara was praised by Ernest Hemingway as “the most beautiful thing I have ever seen Africa”. A special attraction of the park are the approx. 400 species of birds, including flamingos, cormorants, pelicans and storks. In the park the visitor can experience buffalo, elephants, klipspringer (= antelope species), lions, hippos and zebras in their natural environment.
Mahale Mountains National Park
The Mahale Mountains National Park, founded in 1985, is located in the southwest of Tanzania, directly on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. It covers an area of around 1,613 km². The park extends from 800m to 2,462 – the summit of Mount Nkungwe. The park is mostly covered by forest, especially the Miombe woodland. The animals living here are mainly: Anubispaviae, various species of antelope, vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys or warthogs and, as a large big cat – the leopard. In addition, around 230 different bird species live here. The area in and around the park is the traditional homeland of the Watongwe and Waholoholo tribes.
Mikumi National Park
The Mikumi National Park covers an area of 3,230 km² and is located at an average altitude of around 550 m. The park is located in central Tanzania on the main road from Dar es Salaam to Zambia or Malawi and extends from the Uluguru Mountains in the north to the Lumungo Mountains in the south. The distance from Dar es Salaam, the capital of the country, to the park is approx. 290 km, from Morogoro 100 km – there is a well-paved road leading into the park. 370 species of different birds as well as various species of antelopes and gazelles, buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, Cape buffalo, leopards and lions live in the park
Ruaha National Park
With an area of 10,300 km², the Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania after the Serengeti National Park. In 1964 it was declared a national park. The park is located in central Tanzania – around 130 km west of the city of Iringa. The Rungwa and Usangu game reserves are located in the park. Ruaha River, after which the park was named, borders the park in the southeast. Msembe even has a runway for smaller planes. Around 475 different species of birds live here, such as the kingfisher, the nectar bird, the hornbill or the white stork as a migratory bird. Particularly noteworthy is the local elephant population of around 10,000 animals. Other animals in the park are: African wild dogs, antelopes, cheetahs, giraffes, hyenas, crocodiles, kudu, leopards, lions, hippos and zebras.
Rubondo Island National Park
The 240 km² Rubondo Island National Park is, as the name suggests, an island in the southwest of the 68,000 km² large Lake Victoria, and 11 other small islands belong to it. Here you can go hiking, fishing, bird watching or take boat tours. Among the around 430 different species of birds there are storks, herons, ibises, bee-eaters, cormorants, kingfishers, hornbills – and the highest density of ospreys in the world. In addition, the following animals live here: bushbucks, hippos, gorse cats, coat monkeys, vervet monkeys, mongooses, Sitatunga antelopes, otters, small groups of chimpanzees and suni antelopes.
Serengeti National Park
The approximately 14,765 km² Serengeti National Park is part of the “Serengeti” of an approximately 30,000 km² tree-poor savannah landscape, which extends from northern Tanzania – east of Lake Victoria – to southern Kenya. The name comes from the term Siringitu (= endless land) from the language of the Masai, who have lived here for thousands of years and have grazed their animals.
The Serengeti includes the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Reserve (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979), the Maswa, Loliondo, Grumeti, Ikorongo protected areas and the Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve in Kenya. Parts of the Serengeti were declared a game reserve in 1929 and a national park in 1951. The park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. This region is known as the “cradle of mankind”. In this context, the Olduvai Gorge, which is located in northern Tanzania and in the south of the Serengeti, is certainly known to many. In 1959, Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis and Homo erects (1960) were found here. You can find more information on this at Goruma under: Human Development. In the Serengeti National Park live antelopes, elephants, gazelles, cheetahs, giraffes, wildebeests, hyenas, Cape buffalo, leopards, lions,
Tarangire National Park
The Tarangire National Park, located southwest of Arusha near Lake Manyara, covers an area of 2,600 km² – mostly savannah. The year-round Tarangire River runs through the park, which means that many animals can be seen here, especially during the dry season. The following animals can be found in the park: elephants, hippos, giraffes, wildebeests, impala gazelles, Cape buffalo, leopards, mongooses,
baboons, warthogs and zebras. It should be noted that there is a risk of infection in the park with sleeping sickness, which is transmitted by the tsetse fly.
Udzungwa Mountains National Park
The 1,990 km² Udzungwa Mountains National Park is located in central Tanzania – south of the Ruaha River and west of the Kilombero River, which flows into the Ruaha River. The park is part of the unique Eastern Arc Mountains, which cover a total area of 10,000 km². Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands opened the park in October 1992. The park is one of the country’s less popular national parks and can only be explored on foot due to the lack of roads. But an excellent network of forest trails makes hiking a great pleasure and enables, for example, a half-day hike to the Sanje waterfall, which plunges over a height difference of 170 m into the wooded valley below. Another two-night hiking trail leads to Mwanihana Peak, which is 2. 150 m, the second highest mountain in the park. In the valley of Kilombero – in the eastern part of the park – you can find tropical rainforest trees up to 50 m high, while the central and southern areas of the park – at altitudes up to 1,000 m – are covered with grassland, miombo forest and some mountain forests. In the west of the park you can find steppes and steppe forests. The highest mountain in the southwest of the park is the 2,576 m high Luhombero.
More natural beauties and localities
Amboni Caves near Tanga
East Africa’s largest limestone caves are located about 8 kilometers north of Tanga and were formed about 150 million years ago, whereby the 234 km² area today was under water for about 20 million years. Contrary to popular rumors, the longest of the ten caves is around 900 meters long. It is worth mentioning the many thousands of bats that live in the caves. Unfortunately, there is only one cave available for guided tours.
The island is uninhabited and is part of a protected coral reef.
Mafia Island The Mafia
Island is located in the south of Zanzibar and covers an area of 518 km². The archipelago is protected by large reefs and is a paradise for divers, anglers and snorkelers. In 1995 the archipelago was declared Tanzania’s first water protection park. The island is separated from the mainland by the 17 km wide Mafia Canal. In the sea around the island you can find whale sharks, sea turtles and humpback whales in addition to the numerous “reef residents”. Colonies of flying foxes can be observed on the small mafia island of Chole.
The island of Pemba is located north of Zanzibar and covers an area of 984 km² – with around 350,000 residents. The island was called “Al Khuthera” by Arabic traders, which means “the green island”. The island offers peace and quiet for inner contemplation. The island is considered a center for traditional healing arts and for the voodoo cult. But divers and snorkelers also get their money’s worth here. The island with its white beaches and colorful reefs has only opened to tourism for a few years. In 2009 the island only welcomed 10,000 visitors. The island can be reached by plane from Zanzibar or by speedboat from Zanzibar City to Mkoni on Pemba. The rainy season runs from mid-March to mid-May. The hottest time is from December to February.
The island covers an area of 1,658 km² and was once owned by the Sultan of Oman and is evidence of an ancient culture. Nowadays it is an autonomous part of Tanzania. About 1 million people live here. In Europe, the island was long known as “the” island of spices, which it still is today, from here cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper are exported all over the world. On the island are the Jozani Forests, which are part of the Jozani Chwaka Nature Reserve. The red colobus monkey, for example, lives here.
Laetoli is an important site of fossils from the Pliocene of Tanzania, which is located in the East African Rift about 45 kilometers south of the Olduvai Gorge. The site received international attention in 1978 through the fossil footprints of three individuals of upright apes (hominids). The volcanic ashes of this area have been dated to an age of 3.7 to 3.5 million years using the potassium-argon method and are often given in the specialist literature as 3.6 million years.
As early as 1934, the German researcher Ludwig Kohl-Larsen, who was the first to carry out excavations in Laetoli, came across the fragment of the upper jaw bone of a fossil “prehistoric man”, which was later recognized as the first specimen of Australopithecus afarensis found. Since 1974 scientific excavations took place there again under the direction of Mary Leakey. In 1978, Andrew Hill, a professor of paleontology at Yale University, discovered the fossil footprints of three individuals of bipedal great apes. This was the oldest evidence of bipedia in early hominids to date. Hill found the tracks on his way back from an excavation site when he fell and saw the imprint of a human foot on the spot. The producers of the tracks were around 3, 6 million years ago walked side by side over fresh volcanic ash moistened by light rain from the Sadiman volcano 20 km away. The soaked ash hardened in the sun and was covered by further layers of ash. The approximately 30 meter long double track with about 70 footprints is used by many researchers as Australopithecus afarensis
The approximately three meters long, one meter high and around 12,000 kg heavy meteorite fell thousands of years ago. It was and is tainted with taboos by the locals and therefore only became known to the world public around 1930. It was recently lifted onto a kind of pillar plate and now has the status of a national artefact. The meteorite is located in the remote southern highlands of Tanzania – about an hour’s drive from the city of Mbeya, which has a population of around 300,000.
Marine and water protection areas
include: Kilwa Reserve, Tanga Coral Gardens, Rufigi Delta and Latham Island Reserve and the archipelago of Mafia Island – located south of Zanzibar.
Lake Malawi (formerly Nyassasee)
the lake borders Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. It covers an area of 29,600 km² with a maximum depth of 705 m. It is located in the East African Rift Valley. In 1980 the Lake Malawi National Park was established on the southern shore of the lake at Monkey Bay in Malawi, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Kilimanjaro National Park
With a height of 5,895 m, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. For more information see UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Serengeti National Park
The approximately 14,765 square kilometers large Serengeti National Park is part of the “Serengeti” of an approximately 30,000 square kilometers tree-poor savannah landscape that stretches from northern Tanzania – east of Lake Victoria – to southern Kenya. The name comes from the term Siringitu (= endless land) from the language of the Masai, who have lived here for thousands of years and have grazed their animals. The Serengeti includes the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Reserve (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979), the Maswa, Loliondo, Grumeti, Ikorongo protected areas and the Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve in Kenya.
Parts of the Serengeti were declared a game reserve in 1929 and a national park in 1951.
This region is known as the “cradle of mankind”. In this context, the Olduvai Gorge, which is located in northern Tanzania and in the south of the Serengeti, is certainly known to many. In 1959, Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis and Homo erectus were found here.
Antelopes, elephants, gazelles, cheetahs, giraffes, wildebeest, hyenas, Cape buffalo, leopards, lions, jackals and zebras live in the Serengeti National Park, and around 300 different species of birds live here.
The park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981
Rock paintings in Kondoa The rock paintings of Kondoa consist of a large number of rock carvings in a few hundred caves in the Kondoa district, which are located in a series of hills in the west of the African Rift Valley.
The oldest of the paintings are probably over 1,500 years old. In the paintings, people can be seen hunting or playing musical instruments, but also animals such as elephants, antelopes or giraffes. The first well-founded indications of the possible significance of the paintings go back to the paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey in the 1930s.
The Leakey family set up a visitor center in Kolo in the 1970s, which has now been taken over by the Tanzanian Antiquities Administration. The rock paintings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006.
Kilimanjaro National Park
The highest mountain in Africa at 5,895 m attracts mountaineers and other tourists from all over the world.
It is on the edge of the East African rift. Kilimanjaro is unusually high for a volcano. This is because it was formed from three craters.
The oldest is the Shira, which was formed around 700,000 years ago, the Mawenzi was formed around 500,000 years ago and in the middle is the tallest and youngest, the Kibo, which was formed around 300,000 years ago. The entire massif is an approx. 756 km² national park.
The famous first ascent of the mountain took place on October 6, 1889, by the German mountaineer and geographer Hans Heinrich Josef Meyer (1858-1929), the Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller (1849-1900) and the local mountain guide Yohani Kinyola Lauwo (1872 -1996) – who died at the age of 124. Meyer named the summit in honor of the German Emperor “Kaiser-Wilhem-Spitze”, a name he kept until 1918 – after the end of the German colonial era in the country.
After Tanzania gained independence, the peak was renamed (Uhuru Peak) Liberty Peak.
The Kilimanjaro massif was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Lovers of literature will know the novel by Ernest Hemmingway from 1936: “Snow on Kilimanjaro”.
In 1952 the novel was made into a film with Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner and Hildegard Knef in the leading roles.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
On the edge of the Serengeti lies the 8,094 km² nature reserve Ngorongoro, which has been part of the Serengeti National Park since 1951. The crater was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2010. The 265 km² Ngorongoro Crater – the largest crater in the world – is particularly well known. Buffalo, elan antelopes, elephants, hippos, cheetahs, giraffes, wildebeests, Grant and Thomson gazelles, lions, black rhinos, zebras and many water birds including the pink flamingos live here.
The great animal migrations of the Serengeti also lead through the crater. Here you can find grassland, water holes and acacia forests, while bushes and tall grass grow on the crater rim, which is up to 600 m high. In the region around the Ngorongoro Crater, the remains of prehistoric humans and their footprints have been found, including the skull of Paranthropus boisei, which is between 2.3 and 1.4 million years old. Michael Grzimek (1934-1959) and later his father Bernhard Grzimek (1909-1987) were buried on the edge of the crater. Michael Grzimek had a fatal accident on January 10, 1959 after colliding with a vulture with his Do 27. The nature reserve has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and was expanded in 2010.
Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins and Songo Mnara
These ruins have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. These World Heritage Sites are located on the east coast of Tanzania as well as on the smaller island of Kisiwani, which are only a few kilometers from the coast. In the period between the 13th Until the 16th century, Kilwa was an important center for trade with India. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Kilwa was the most important city on the east coast of all of Africa.
Remaining significant ruins of Kilwa are:
– The Husuni Kubwa Palace, which was probably built by Sultan Al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman Abu’l-Mawahib (around 1310-1333). The palace was the largest stone building south of the Sahara at the time. The remains of the palace are about 1.5 kilometers outside of Kilwa, right by the sea.
– Fort Gereza was built by the Arabs around 1800 on the ruins of the Portuguese fort built around 1506. This new fort is protected by massive coral stone walls.
– The Great Mosque is probably the most important building in the ruins of Kilwa and bears witness to the Arab, Indian and European history that has changed over seven centuries. The mosque was the largest sacred building of its time on the coast of Africa to the Indian Ocean. The construction was started around 1050 by Ali bin Al Hasan – the first sultan of Kilwa.
Around 1320 the mosque was considerably enlarged and also embellished by Sultan Al Hasan bin Suleiman. In the 15th and 18th centuries, there were still minor changes, extensions and reconstructions. The building rests on 30 columns.
– The 16th century Makutani Palace is west of the mosque.
Stone Town on Zanzibar (Stone Town)
The so-called “Stone Town” was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. Their houses with the numerous balconies were built from coral blocks. In addition, the former home of the British Africa researcher Dr. Visit Livingstone.
The Stone City of Zanzibar is an excellent example of the old Swahili trading coastal towns in East Africa. It practically retained its urban structure and cityscape with a series of remarkable buildings that brought together different cultures from Africa, Arabia, India and Europe over more than 1,000 years. You can find palaces, fortresses, aqueducts or bathhouses there.
Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania is home to one of the largest herds of elephants on earth. There are also a lot of crocodiles, lions and hippos living here. In the reserve, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, guided walking safaris and river trips can be undertaken.