Tanzania At a Glance;
CAPITAL: Dodoma (official) and Dar es Salaam (administrative)
AREA : 945,090 sq km (364,899 sq miles)
POPULATION : 40,000,000
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Swahili and English
NATIONAL CURRENCY: Tanzanian Shilling (Tshs or TZS), divided into 100 cents.
BEST TRAVEL CURRENCIES: USD, Euro, GBP
Tanzania is considered as the cradle of mankind because here, in the Olduvai Gorge, Dr Louis Leakey discovered the fossilized remains of Homo habilis, calculated to be 1.75 million years old and the forerunner of modern man. Tanzania was occupied by various African tribes most recently the Maasai from Kenya, who have retained their proud traditions. Arab merchants visited the coast some 2,000 years ago and settled in Zanzibar around the eighth century and later establish trade routes into the interior. The intermarriage of Arabs and local people created a new people with their own language- Kiswahili (Swahili) whose word for Journey "Safari" has become the international description of a trip into the Wild. The Portuguese established temporary settlements in the 16th century, supplanted by the Omanies in the late 17th century who developed the infamous slave trade. The scramble of Africa by the European powers at the end of the 19th century led to occupation of the mainland by Germany although Zanzibar become a British protectorate. After World War 1, Germany was forced to surrender its territory to the British. Tanganyika, as the mainland was then known, achieved independence in 1961. Zanzibar become independent two years later and shortly afterwards joined with the mainland to become the United Republic of Tanzania.
Tanzania covers 937,062 sq km making it the largest Country in Eastern Africa. Just south of the equator, it borders Kenya and Uganda in the north, United Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi in the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique in the south. It is therefore a splendid center from which explore eastern, central and southern Africa. Through the interior runs the Great Rift Valley, that vast fault line down the spine of Africa that, in Tanzania, has created many fascinating topographical features such as the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti and Lake Tanganyika. The central plateau (1,200m above sea level) is a huge expanse of savannah and sparse woodland. To the north, Mount Kilimanjaro 5,890 m (19,340 ft) is the highest mountain in Africa. While the interior is largely arid, the 800 Km coastline is lush and palm-fringed as are the Islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia.
Tanzania’s climate is predominately tropical. Coastal areas are usually hot and humid, but on the beaches a sea breeze cools the air considerably. The average day temperature is 30°C. Tanzania has two rainy seasons – the long rains from late March to June and the short rains from November to January. The long rains fall in heavy downpours, often accompanied by violent storms, but the short rains tend to be much les severe. The hottest time of the year is from December to March, before the long rains begin. The coolest months are June, July and August, when the weather is often overcast. In high-altitude areas such as Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Highlands, temperatures can fall below freezing.
The best time for travelling to the safari regions is dry winter months of July and September. December and January are also good for the wilderbeest migration around Ndutu Ngorongoro area and Serengeti south and eastern. Animal Migration in East Africa refers to the movement of animals between Serengeti (Tanzania) and Maasai Mara (Kenya). In late May - early June wildebeests and zebras begin their annual migration from western Serengeti through the northern of Serengeti to the Mara crossing the Mara river. They reach Maasai Mara Park early August depending on rain season. After the short rains in the month of November, the herds move back into Serengeti National Park and make their way to the southern pastures where they rest and feed. Then they go back north in their annual migration once again. Wildebeest give birth in late January - mid March, with thousands of births. This happens frequently in southern of Serengeti and Ndutu Ngorongoro area.
Valid passport. Most visitors to Tanzania must require a visa to enter the country. Three month single-entry tourist visas are available at Tanzanian embassies in your country, price subject to nationality.
Embassys of the United Republic of Tanzania around the world:
Belgium : 363 Ave Louise, 1050 Brussels Tel 02 640 6500 Fax 02 646 8026
Canada : 50 Range Road, Ottawa, Ontario KIN 8J4 Tel 0613 232 1500 Fax 0613 232 5184
China : No. 8, Liang Ma He Nan Lu, San Li Tun Beijing
France : 13 Ave Raymond Poincare 75116 Paris Tel 01 53 70 63 70 Fax 01 53 70 63 66
Germany : Teaterplatz 26, 53177 Bonn, Tel 0228 358051 Fax 0228 358226 Eschenallee 11 14050 Berlin (Charlottenburg, Westend)
Italy : Villa Tanzania, Viale Cortina D'ampezzo 185 00135 ROME Tel 06 321 0923
Japan : 21-9, Kamiyoga4, Chome, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo Tel 03 425 4531 Fax 03 425 7844
South Africa : PO Box 56572 Arcadia 0007, Pretoria Tel 012 342 4371 Fax 012 430 4383
Sweden: Näsby Allé 6 183 55 Täby
Switzerland : 47 Ave Blanc, CH-1201, Geneva Tel 022 731 8920 Fax 022 732 8255
United Kingdom : 3 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AS Tel 0207 569 1470 Fax 0207 491 3710
U.S.A: Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania 2139 R Street, NW, Washington DC, 20008.
U.S.A: Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations 201 East 42ND Street, Suite 1700 New York, NY, 10017
Departure tax from mainland Tanzania is included in the price of your ticket, however in Zanzibar there is a departure tax payable at the airport (around US$ 30). There is a tax levied on passengers within Tanzania (around TSH 5,000 / approx US $5).
Banks and bureau de change are available at airports and in all major towns. Banking hours are from Monday – Friday 8.30am – 3.00pm, Saturday 8.30am – 1.30pm. A few branches in the major towns are open until 4.00pm. Please note that banks are closed on Sunday.
Tanzania is located in a tropical climate with different bacteria, flora, and fauna. So it is advisable to take a few health precautions when traveling to make sure that your trip goes as comfortably and smoothly as possible. Malaria is usually top on the list of visitors’ worries, and prevention goes a long way towards keeping you protected. Make sure to visit your doctor to get a prescription for anti-malarial drugs, the best suit your health and condition – there are some very good ones available on the market. The yellow-fever vaccination is no longer officially required when entering Tanzania, (however this is still a requirement if you wish to visit Zanzibar). Other vaccinations should be considered, for more information contact your doctor well in advance of your visit.
Tanzania is a safe country to travel in. Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people and are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Tanzania is a politically stable, multi-democratic country. As in all countries, a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe and not walking alone at night.
Kenya At a Glance:
Kenya is one of Africa's most popular safari destination and it's capital Nairobi is East Africa's economic hub. Kenya has a decent tourist infrastructure and lots of resorts along its coastline. It's a testament to the country's many natural attractions that tourists continue to visit despite being under the official Travel Warning list in several countries including the US.
Location: Kenya is located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania, see map.
Area: 582,650 sq km, (slightly more than twice the size of Nevada or similar in size to France).
Capital City: Nairobi
Population: Around 32 million people live in Kenya Language: English (official), Kiswahili (official), as well as numerous indigenous languages.
Religion: Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, indigenous beliefs 10%, Muslim 10%, other 2%. A large majority of Kenyans are Christian, but estimates for the percentage of the population that adheres to Islam or indigenous beliefs vary widely.
Climate: It's generally sunny, dry and not too hot for most of the year in Kenya despite being situated on the equator. The main rainy seasons are from March to May and November to December but the amount of rainfall varies year to year.
When to Go: January - March and July - October for safaris and beaches, February and August to climb Mount Kenya.
Kenya's Main Attractions:
Masai Mara Game Reserve: The Masai Mara Reserve is the most popular wildlife park in Kenya. From July - October you can witness the incredible migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra. The Maasai tribesman also offer cultural tours which really add to the experience. More about Kenya's other excellent wildlife parks and reserves ...
Mount Kenya: Mount Kenya is Africa's second highest peak and like Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, you don't need special training to reach Point Lenana, one of its highest peaks. The area is home to rare species of animals as well as spectacular lakes, mineral springs and forests.
Lamu: Lamu is one of Kenya's oldest towns, settled by the Swahili about 700 years ago. More recently discovered by backpackers, Lamu is a great place to unwind and wash off the dirt and grime accumulated from some hard traveling. No matatus or mini-buses here, just donkeys and the sound of the ocean waves.
Travel to Kenya:
Kenya's International Airport: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Airport code NBO) lies 10 miles (16 km) south east of the capital city, Nairobi. Mombasa's Moi International airport accommodates flights from Europe as well as charters.
Getting to Kenya: Many international airlines fly into both Nairobi and Mombasa direct from Europe and the Middle East. Long-distance buses ply routes between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, more about Getting to Kenya.
Kenya Embassies/Visas: Most nationalities entering Kenya need a tourist visa but they can usually be obtained at the airports, check with the Kenyan Embassy before you go.