Tanzania Geography

Tanzania Geography

Tanzania is a state in East Africa with (2019) 58 million residents; The capital is Dodoma. It consists of a mainland part and several islands in the Indian Ocean, including Zanzibar (Unguja Island).

Country Overview

Tanzania is a presidential republic in East Africa, which consists of the mainland part Tanganyika and the islands of Zanzibar (Unguja Island), Pemba and Mafia. The capital of the country is Dodoma, the seat of government is Dar es Salaam, the largest city. In the northeast of the tropical highlands of 1000–2000 m lies Kilimanjaro, at 5895 m the highest mountain in Africa. A hot coastal plain connects to the southeast. The population lives mainly in the coastal strip on the Indian Ocean. It is made up of around 120 ethnic groups, the majority of which belong to the Bantu group. The predominant languages ​​are Swahili and English. About 60% are Christian and 35% Sunni Muslim. The mainland was initially part of the German East Africa colony, then came under British administration and was given independence by J. Nyerere in 1961. From the 18th century, the ruling power on Zanzibar was the Sultanate of Oman, which temporarily established its capital on the island. Zanzibar became independent in 1963. Tanzania is governed by the central government, only the administrative unit Zanzibar has a semi-autonomous special status. Since the union between the mainland and Arab-influenced islands came into force in 1964, the former state party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has been in charge of political affairs. The wildlife of the national parks and reserves, including Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro and Selous, attracts many visitors. As an economic consequence of this, tourism has developed into an important source of income alongside agriculture (coffee, tea, cloves) and the export of gold. In a global comparison, Tanzania is one of the poorest and least developed countries.


Tanzania is located near the equator in the highlands of East Africa. Its closest neighbors are Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most of the country is at an altitude of over 1000 m above sea level. Towards the Indian Ocean, the plateau merges into a broad, flat coastal strip. The East African Rift Valley, a deep crack in the earth’s crust, runs through the country.

Mount Kilimanjaro, which has a volcanic origin, rises to the north. At 5895 m, it is the highest mountain in Tanzania and the highest peak in Africa. It is covered by glaciers.

In the west and southwest are large lakes such as Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Rukwa and Lake Malawi.

The coastal plain is very hot. In contrast, the plateaus have a tropical climate with temperatures between 14 ° C and 26.5 ° C, regionally also 35 ° C. Frost can also occur at night at altitudes above 1,800 m. The north and northeast of Tanzania have two rainy seasons, namely from March to May and from October to November. There is only one rainy season in the south and southwest. It starts in November / December and ends in April. The typical form of the landscape is the savannah. There are vast grass savannahs and tree savannahs where baobabs and acacias grow. Palm trees thrive on the coast. In the course of global climate change, the environment is threatened by extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods.

Tanzania is one of the most game-rich countries in the world. For example, elephants, endangered black rhinos, Cape buffalo and leopards live in forest areas, while wildebeests, antelopes, lions, cheetahs and ostriches live in the open savannah. Numerous national parks and game reserves have been created to protect wildlife, including the Serengeti and Kilimanjaro National Parks, the Ngorongoro Nature Reserve and the Selous Game Reserve.

Population and Religion

Tanzania has 58 million residents. This makes it the most populous country in East Africa and ranks 24th in a global comparison, but since it is also very large in terms of area, the population can be widely distributed. With 65 residents per km², Tanzania is rather sparsely populated. In comparison, 237 people live in Germany on one km². The population is extremely unevenly distributed: Most of the residents live in the coastal strip on the Indian Ocean, in the outskirts of Lake Victoria and in the highlands. The coastal hinterland and the large, fairly dry inland plains, on the other hand, are sparsely populated. The majority of people live in rural areas, only around a third live in cities. The largest cities are Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Zanzibar City on Unguja Island. The population is young and growing rapidly. It has more than doubled since 1990. Around two thirds are under 25 years old.

According to remzfamily, over 120 different ethnic groups live in Tanzania, making up a colorful mix of peoples. The majority of the people belong to the Bantu language group. This language family brings together ethnic groups such as the Sukuma, Nyamwezi and Makonde. The Bantu-speaking people on the coast are also known as Swahili. For centuries they were under Arab influence, because Arab and Persian traders settled in the coastal area early on. The Swahili language has prevailed throughout history throughout the country. The tall and slender Masai are striking in appearance with their brightly colored robes. As a rule, they still live today as shepherds from cattle breeding. Arabs, Indians, Pakistani and Europeans have also settled on the coast and on the islands.

Poverty is widespread, around half of the people live on less than $ 1.90 a day. Despite great efforts, medical care is inadequate, especially in rural areas. There is a lack of staff and medicines. The biggest problems are malaria and AIDS. Around 4.5% of the population between the ages of 15 and 49 are infected with the HI virus. Over 1 million children are orphans because their parents died of AIDS.

The majority of the population are Christians, but there are also large numbers of Muslims, especially on the islands. Many people practice traditional African religions.

Tanzania Geography