- TANZANIA is a country of stunning beauty, a
kaleidoscope of landscape, wildlife and people. It is half the size of
Western Europe and is East Africa’s largest nation. Situated just below
the equator, it is bordered by shimmering lakes and the Indian Ocean. Its
landscape varies from the green tropical coastline, the beige semi-desert of
the central plateau, to the eternal snow of the northern mountains. It
possesses the largest and best game reserves in the world.
This country, where modern man may have originated, is the home of a
mosaic of peoples. In its long history, it has become a fruit fruitful
meeting point of African, Arab, Asian and European cultures.
What first strikes the visitor to Tanzania, is its sheer physical
size and infinite variety. The country embraces the green islands of Pemba,
Zanzibar and Mafia. It has 800 km/500 miles of palm-fringed coastline, with
silver sand, coral reefs and mangrove swamps dipping into the tepid waters
of the Indian Ocean.
Tanzania has 53,000 km/20,465 m of inland water – more than any
other African country. Lake Tanganyika, which runs along the western border,
is Africa’s deepest and longest freshwater lake, and the second deepest in
the world. In the north-west, the freshwater Lake Victoria, the second
largest on earth, lies in a huge shallow depression. The major river system
in the country is the sprawling Rufiji which flows into the Indian Ocean
south of Dar es Salaam.
Yet even this survey does not exhaust Tanzania’s physical wonders.
In the north, there are the remarkable Serengeti plains, which support over
three million animals. Further east of Ngorongoro Crater, an unequalled
caldera which reveals on its floor a magic world teeming with animals.
Nearby Lake Manyara, at the foot of the Rift valley, is a bird watcher’s
But above all, there is mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, which rises
massively out of the dusty bush of the northern Masai Steppe. Its densely
forested sides give way to the blue glaciers and unbelievably white snow of
its rounded peak. At 5,895 m/19,340 ft, it is the highest mountain in
It is through this varied setting that the last of the great herds of
wild animals roam. Over a quarter of Tanzania is made up of National Parks,
game reserves, and controlled areas. It is therefore a country where for the
most part nature still reigns and man gives way. Few places on earth can
offer a wilderness so complete or tranquility so profound.
In 1961 Tanganyika become the first East African country to achieve full
independence, with Dr Julius K Nyerere as Prime Minister. The following year
the country was proclaimed a republic within the Commonwealth. In 1965
Zanzibar signed an Act of Union with Tanganyika, creating the United
Republic of Tanzania. Tanzania has a common border with Kenya. Including the
Indian Ocean islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia, the total area of the
country is 936,137 km/362,844 m, of which 53,000 km/20,465 is inland water.
The mainland coastline stretches for 800 kms/500 miles along the Indian
Ocean. Dar es Salaam is the largest city and the capital, with Arusha the
small capital of the north. The population of the country was 28 million at
the 1988 census.
- Once a small trading post, its only significance due to its
geographical position in the center of Africa, midway between the Cape and
Cairo, Arusha is today an agricultural town and the comfortable base for all
safaris in the northern part of Tanzania.
285 km/177 miles
NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES
- Set like a jewel in tranquil coral water only 20
minutes flight from Dar es Salaam is one of the world’s most beautiful
islands. Zanzibar, its name evokes a romantic past. To the shores of this
island came Samarians, Assyrians, Hindus, Egyptians, Phoenicians, souther
Arabians, Chinese and Malays. From these shores the great European Explorers
– Burton, Speke, Livingstone, Krapf, Rebman and Grant set out on their
“Voyages of Discovery” into the hinterland. The different races that
have settled in Zanzibar over the centuries have left impact on the people
and the architecture; the “House of Wonders” (once the palace of the
former Sultan) and the narrow streets of the old town are just some of the
vivid reminders of the Island’s long and colored history. Zanzibar is
located on Unguja (Main) Island and Mnemba Island.
- Kenya is an enchanting country and
few places in the world can better its varied touristic attractions. The
overwhelming appeal of the wildlife sanctuaries, glorious beaches,
breathtaking scenery in a vast and unspoilt land, an almost perfect climate,
sophisticated accommodation and a hospitable happy people.
Kenya contains almost every known land form from true glacial ice to
arid desert and dense forest. The Great Rift valley, its floor littered with
lovely lakes and extinct volcanoes, cuts through the land from north to
south. Mt Kenya (5,199 m/17,058 ft) with its breathless snow-capped peaks
stands sentinel above rolling grassland plains and the fascinating semi-arid
area much further to the north. Lake Victoria the largest lake in Africa and
the first to be discovered and Lake Turkana now know as the “Cradle of
Mankind” the last to be discovered. The Indian Ocean coast a place of
white sand beaches, turquoise seas and archaeological antiquities.
Above all are the wildlife sanctuaries. The National Parks devoted to
the absolute protection of the indigenous flora and fauna and the National
Reserves, where wildlife co-exists in perfect harmony with the pastoral
nomadic tribes and has from time immemorial. These wild and lovely occupy an
area much the size of Switzerland a stunning 7% of Kenya’s total landmass.
They vary in the abundance and variety of their animals, in scenery, in
climate and in altitude – from the famous Masai Mara, to the
ornithological paradise of Lake Nakuru and Samburu’s small new sister,
Shaba, in the hot and arid north.
Variations in altitude and terrain create contrasts in the climate.
From the hot and humid coast to the fresh, sometimes frosty, mornings of the
central highland country and they dry burning heat of the northern desert.
However overall it is seldom harsh, neither too hot nor too cold with long
sun filled days – an almost perfect climate.
In almost every part of Kenya there are hotels which hold their own
with any in the world. Many like the famous Treetops, the Norfolk in Nairobi
and Mt Kenya Safari Club are internationally known. Some are architectural
masterpieces and some are tented camps, true luxury in the bush. All have
one common aim, to offer the best in comfort, quality and service in true
Kenya gained full independence on 12th December 1963 and
was admitted to the United Nations four days later. In 1964 the country
became a sovereign republic with the Commonwealth, with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta
as its first president. He remained in office until his death in 1978 when
President Daniel Arap Moi was elected leader of the nation. Kenya is
situated on the eastern coast of Africa and has a total area of 580,530
km/960,230 m which includes 13,395 km/5,170 m of inland water. It Indian
Ocean coastline stretches for 480 km/300 miles. The capital is Nairobi, a
colorful striking city 500 km/315 miles inland from Mombasa the major port
on the Indian Ocean. The national language is Swahili, but English is the
official language and many people are multi-lingual in the tourist areas.
The population of the country is estimated to be around 30 million.
- Born in the spirit of adventure in
the days of the early pioneers less than 100 years ago, Nairobi was then an
insignificant jumble of tents and ox wagons beside the Uganda Railhead,
which halted here 500 km/315 miles inland from the coast to gather steam for
the way ahead. It quickly grew and is today one of the most important and
vibrant cities in Africa, with a population of 2.5 million colorful people
from many nations. A city of great contrast, strikingly modern with tall imposing buildings, yet reminders of the early days
are there. Look for the Law Courts and Parliament Buildings, the Jamia
Mosque, the City Market with its arrays of tropical fruit and flowers and
the famous Norfolk Hotel, linked with Kenya’s history since 1904. Above it
all towers the Kenyatta International Conference center built in 1973.
This is a garden city with wide boulevards shaded by flowering trees
and shrubs, tranquil parks ablaze with brilliant flowers and bougainvillea
cascading in great riots of color everywhere. Just south of the equator at
an altitude of 1,675 m/5,500 ft Nairobi enjoys an almost perfect, healthy
climate. Warm sunny cloudless days with the temperature seldom rising above
25C/77F and cooler nights.
Visitors to Nairobi will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of
the hotels in and around the city. They are well appointed with spacious
rooms, most have swimming pools and the service is friendly and attentive.
Most of the leading hotels offer gourmet, a la carte dining in
sophisticated grillrooms. For visitors who wish to dine out the choice is
appealing – the Tamarind with superb seafood from the Indian Ocean, a
taste of local food at the African Heritage, a wealth of excellent,
sophisticated ethnic restaurants serving traditional dishes from exotic
lands. For a special occasion an exceptional meals at the Ibis Grill in the
Norfolk Hotel, or just outside the city the Carnivore, a typical
Churrascaria in South American style.
There are over ten challenging golf courses in and around the city,
tennis, squash and riding are readily available and Nairobi Racecourse is a
colorful, cosmopolitan and friendly scene, where first class horse racing
takes place some forty Sunday afternoons throughout the year.
- The National Museum, founded in
1910, with its unique collections so relevant to Kenya’s early history and
the prehistory of mankind, an absorbing introduction to the flora and fauna
and culture of the country. The Karen Blixen Museum outside the city is a
memorial to a woman admired both for her writing and her spirit and offers a
tantalizing glimpse of life in Africa in the years after the Great War. Step
back in time at the Railway Museum, with its steam locomotives, so evocative
of a more romantic age. Or visit Bomas of Kenya the nation’s cultural
center and watch a vivid display of tribal dancing in a lovely rural
- In Nairobi and
throughout the country shopping is an absorbing pastime and should not be
rushed. Look around at first, there is so much on offer, wood carvings,
markets with alluring merchandise and colorful characters, sophisticated
shops and wonderfully interesting galleries. This is a young nation, where
traditional handcrafted items fashioned from local materials demonstrate the
extraordinary talent of the people. Visitors will find inexpensive wood
carvings everywhere, sensuous soapstone from Kisii, colorful sisal mats and
the now famous Kenya bags; “kiondo” is the local name, each one
painstakingly woven by women. Kangas and Kitenges traditionally worn by
women make colorful tablecloths or beach wraps. Turn to the well known shops
for more intricately carved items, some are very striking and others carved
from semi-precious stone are beautiful works of art. Visit African Heritage
or Gallery Watatu to buy or browse. Look for silk batik paints by Heidi
Lange or Robin Anderson, or wildlife artists Thuo Kiragu, Robert O.Meara or
William Baker, Jak’s soft pastel works, or the bright native paintings
first developed in Tanzania by Mpata. Two gem stones originate in this part
of Africa, Tanzanite is blue and Tsavorite is a vivid green garnet which is
more durable than emerald.