The United Republic of Tanzania was formed out of the union of two sovereign states namely Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanganyika became a sovereign state on 9th December, 1961 and became a Republic the following year. Zanzibar became independent on 10th December, 1963 and the People’s Republic of Zanzibar was established after the revolution of 12th January, 1964. The two sovereign republics formed the United Republic of Tanzania on 26th April, 1964. However, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic consisting of the Union Government and the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government.
Tanzania is the biggest (land area) among the East African countries (i.e. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). Tanzania has a spectacular landscape of mainly three physiographic regions namely the Islands and the coastal plains to the east; the inland saucer-shaped plateau; and the highlands. The Great Rift Valley that runs from north east of Africa through central Tanzania is another landmark that adds to the scenic view of the country.
The country has the largest concentration of wild animals. It also has pristine sandy beaches and Africa’s highest and snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tanzania is home to the world famous National Parks and Game Reserves of: Ngorongoro Crater, Selous Game Reserve, Gombe Stream, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Mikumi, Arusha, Ruaha, Saadani, Udzungwa Mountains, and Mkomazi Game Reserve. Other Game Reserves include: Amani, Kigosi, Lukwika-Lumesule, Maswa, Monduli Mountains, Msangesi and Ugala.
Dar es Salaam is the commercial capital and major sea port for Tanzania Mainland and it serves neighboring land-locked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda, as well as Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Other sea ports include Zanzibar, Tanga, Lindi and Mtwara. Other water bodies include the three large Lakes that surround the country Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria and Lake Nyasa.
The climate is tropical and there are two rain seasons the longer being March through May and the short between October and November. The dry season starts from July through October with clear sky and sunshine the whole day. The weather is suitable for beach vacation. The coastal area is normally hot and humid.
The unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh) and there are no smaller denominations. It’s best to carry as little cash as possible when travelling to avoid further inconvenience if anything should be lost or stolen.
That said, major currencies (like the US Dollar, the English Pound, and the Euro) are easily changed in large towns, although US Dollars are sometimes preferred as well as Traveler’s Cheques in sterling pounds and US dollars are acceptable.
Forex bureaux offer faster service than banks and although the exchange rates are only nominally different, the bureaux usually offer a better rate on travellers’ cheques. Banks around the country have ATM machines that allow you to withdraw cash from your VISA card and other Bank ATMs allow you to withdraw on both VISA and MasterCard accounts. Credit cards are accepted only at major lodges, hotels, and travel agents.
Get your visa: This will save you time at the airport upon arrival.
Get vaccinated: To learn about all recommended vaccines, visit your local travel clinic.
Valuables: Do not leave money, cameras, computers, iPods, etc. in your hotel room. Always carry your passport and money on you in a waist or back pack. Many hotels and lodges have in-room or hotel safes you can use for more bulky items.
Time: Tanzania is eight hours ahead of EST time. (GMT +3)
Language: The official languages in Tanzania are English and Swahili.
Voltage: Use an Indian or UK plug (230V/50Hz)
Cell phones and texting: There is great cell service in Tanzania. Contact your cell phone provider to see how to get service in Tanzania and to understand the related charges.