Tanzania is one of Africa's most unassuming, low-key and friendly destinations. Tanzania remains reasonably well integrated with high levels of of religious and ethnic tolerance. It has earned a name for itself as a region of moderation and balance. The population is over 40 million people, with an average age of 18 years old, and it is home to over 100 different ethnic groups. Tanzania is slightly larger than twice the size of California at 945,087 sq km.
Shortly after achieving independence from Britain in the early 1960s, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Tanzania has been spared the internal strife that has blighted many African states. It is now a generally stable political environment.
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than 40% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is highest point in Africa, bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest.
Zanzibar is an chain of islands off the eastern coast of Tanzania made up of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast, and 6° south of the equator. Zanzibar is reputed to have some of the most beautiful beaches and some of the best diving in the world, and the coral reef structures that surround Unguja and Pemba ensure a thriving marine life.
Arusha is a city of northern Tanzania surrounded by some of Africa's most famous landscapes and national parks. Beautifully situated in lush countryside near the foot of Mt. Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley, it has a pleasant climate and is close to Serengeti National Wildlife Park, Lake Manyara, and Mt. Kilimanjaro, as well as having its own Arusha National Park on Mount Meru. Arusha is the capital of the Region and has a population of 270,485 people. Surrounding it are coffee, wheat and maize estates. Maasai warriors in full regalia walk around, mingling with tourists.
It is also a United Nations Center and in 1994, the UN security council decided that Arusha should host the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. At the nearby International Conference Centre, some of the most important peace treaties and international agreements in modern African history have been signed.
Arusha is reputed as being one of the most pleasant cities in the world, due its exquisite, weather, location, beautiful countryside and lively music scene, notably Tanzanian hip-hop. Mostly performed in Swahili, with various genres influenced by African American music, locally known as Bongo Flava. One of Arusha's popular and colorful outside markets is pictured here.
Arusha's clock tower is supposedly situated at the midpoint between Cairo and Cape Town, therefore representing the halfway point between the two termini of the old British Empire in Africa. The clock tower is currently adorned by the logo of the Coca-Cola Company. Arusha was the setting for the 1962 film Hatari! directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne.
You can always keep up with what is going on with me and Arusha at the Arusha Times Weekly Newspaper
Tanzania is where some of the world's oldest hominid fossils have been found and is the site of Africa's most important ruins. The majority of Tanzanians trace their ancestry to a series of more recent migration beginning around 1000 BC.
What is now Tanzania was a colony and part of Germany from the 1880s to 1919. Under the League of Nations, the area became a British Mandate from 1919 to 1961. It served as a military outpost during World War II and provided financial help as well as munitions. Julius Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as Prime Minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. Tanganyika and neighbouring Zanzibar, which had become independent in 1963, merged to form the nation of Tanzania on April 26, 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s.
Having been essentially a socialist state soon after independence, Tanzanian economic aid went hand in hand with structural adjustment conditionalities that deteriorated the nation's economy. This deterioration was due to a sudden shift to capitalism when the societal and economic framework of the nation was a socialist one. During the 1980s Tanzanian GDP growth increased (due to SAPs) yet Human Development Indexes lowered. Tanzania still struggles with economic development yet its outlook is positive due to increasing natural resource exports.
Birth Rate: 35.12 births/1,000 population
Death Rate: 12.92 deaths/1,000 population
Infant Mortality Rate:70.46 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy Rate: male: 50.06 years, female: 52.88 years
HIV/AIDS Prevalence Rate: 8.8%
# of People Living with AIDS: 1.6 Million
Religions: mainland - Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 35%; Zanzibar - more than 99% Muslim
Languages: English and Swahili are the main two. Kiswahili and Arabic.
Population Below the Poverty Line i.e. living on less than $1 a day: 36%