Geography & Culture
The United Republic of Tanzania is located in Eastern Africa between longitude 290 and 410 East and Latitude 10 and 120 South. It shares its borders with Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its natural eastern border is the Indian Ocean with a coastline length of 1,424 km. Tanzania is the largest nation in the East Africa, both in land area and population.
The United Republic of Tanzania has a population of about 36.2 Million (2004 est.) covering a total area of 945,087 sq.km including 61,000 of water. Tanzania’s population has been growing at a rate of 2.9% annually.
The country comprises several distinct zones: a fertile coastal belt, the Masai Steppe and mountain ranges to the north, with Mt. Kilimanjaro rising to 5,895m and Mount Meru 4,566m, and a high plateau in the central and southern regions. There are also over 61,000sq. km (23,500sq.miles) of inland water. The Zanzibar Islands, 36km from Mainland, are fertile, hilly, and densely populated on their western sides, low and thinly populated on their eastern sides.
Tanzania is essentially divided into four main climatic zones namely: hot humid coastal plain; hot, semi-arid zone of the central plateau; high-moist lake regions; and temperate highland areas. Generally, the country has a tropical type of climate.
Culturally, Tanzania has been described as one of the most diverse countries in Africa and this is reflected in the fact that there are more than 120 local languages spoken in the country. Swahili is the national language that is widely spoken while English is the official language of education; administration and business.
Local people are native African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 120 tribes) and the remaining 1% consisting of Asians, Europeans, and Arabs. The present population of Tanzania was well over 36.2 million, growing at an annual rate of 2.9%. (2005) Most of the population belong to Christianity and Moslem religions though there is a small number of Hindus and atheists.
Generally, Tanzania culture is a product of African, Arab, European and Indian influences. Traditional African values are being consciously adapted to modern life, although at a much slower pace among the Maasai.