The East African country of Tanzania is a remarkable place and home to some incredible natural landscapes, for instance, Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, and wonderful wildlife, including the Big Five. More than 120 languages are spoken across the country and more than 120 ethnic groups make up the population of this diverse African nation, for instance, the Massai people. So, whether you are planning a visit or just want to know more, here are some incredibly interesting facts about Tanzania.
7 Interesting Facts About Tanzania
1. Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa
Tanzania is situated in East Africa. The country includes the islands Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba. The capital city of Tanzania is Dodoma, located right in the centre of the country. Kenya and Uganda border Tanzania to the north and Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi border Tanzania to the south. Tanzania also shares borders with Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. As of January 2022, the population of Tanzania is just under 62.5 million people. The average life expectancy is 66.39 years old and the median age in Tanzania is 18.0 years.
2. Tanzania is home to Africa’s tallest mountain
Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. At 5,895 meters (19,340 feet), Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and as a result, is one of the seven summits – the highest peaks of the seven continents. It is also the fourth most “topographically prominent” peak on Earth, after Everest, Aconcagua and Denali. As it is not part of a mountain range, Mount Kilimanjaro is also the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
3. Tanzania is linguistically diverse
Tanzania is the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa with over 120 different languages spoken throughout the country. The national language is Swahili, but the country doesn’t have a de jure official language. English is also widely spoken and taught in schools alongside Swahili. Other languages that you’ll hear in Tanzania include Niger-Congo, Bantu, Nilo-Saharan and Nilotic as well as languages with click consonants.
4. Tanzania is home to the Maasai people
Over 120 different ethnic groups call Tanzania home. Perhaps the most well-known is the semi-nomadic Maasai people who live in northern Tanzania and northern, central and southern Kenya close to the Ngorongoro area and the Serengeti National Park. The Maasai speak maa and are known for their colourful clothes, traditional way of life and deep relationship with their cattle. If you are in this part of the country, you’ll often see the Maasai people herding their cattle along the roads.
5. The Serengeti National Park is in Tanzania
The Serengeti National Park located in northern Tanzania is the oldest park in Africa and one of the most famous protected areas in the world. Stretching over 14,763 km2 (5,700 sq mi), this massive park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and harbours “the largest remaining unaltered animal migration in the world”. Each year, in July and August, over one million wildebeest plus hundreds of thousands of other ungulates (hoofed mammals), for instance, zebras and antelopes, engage in a 1,000km long circular trek spanning Kenya and Tanzania. The animals cross the plains of Serengeti in search of fresh grass to eat and water.
6. Tanzania is home to the Big Five
You’ll find all of Africa’s Big Five animals in Tanzania. The Big Five animals are lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceros and Cape buffalos. The Ngorongoro area encompassing the Serengeti National Park is a protected area for these animals. The park is also home to hippos and crocodiles as well as giraffes, elands and zebras. You’ll also find other animals roaming the wilderness, for instance, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelles. The wonderful wildlife living in Tanzania is why safaris are so popular here.
7. The flag of Tanzania is a combination of two flags
The flag of Tanzania is a combination of the flag of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanganyika was a former British territory that became a sovereign state in 1961. It comprised the mainland part of present-day Tanzania. When the nation gained independence from Britain in 1961, it adopted a flag that was green and black with yellow-bordered stripes. The flag of Zanzibar was a horizontal tricolour of blue, black and green. When Zanzibar gained independence it merged with Tanganyika to create Tanzania. Officials designed a new flag to incorporate the flags of both nations and as you can see, it now features the colours green, yellow, black and blue.