Africa is a land of diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and a variety of other natural wonders. The countries that make up this continent are unique in their own ways, providing unparalleled opportunities for tourists. Tanzania is one such nation.
Located towards the East of Africa in the Great lakes region, the country is known for having vast natural habitats for plants, reptiles, trees and birds alike. The country spans an area of 947,303 km2 and has a population of 61 million.
Tanzania sits on the shores of the Indian Ocean and borders some of the most well-known countries in Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Burundi.
The nation has had a lot to offer throughout its history from the first humanoid fossils to prehistoric migrations that shaped civilizations, Tanzania’s role has been significant. The two most dominant religions in the country are Christianity and Islam.
Want to learn more? Here are 15 fascinating facts to know about Tanzania.
Interesting Facts to Know About Tanzania
1. Tanzania was a German colony in the past
In the late 19th century, Tanzania was invaded and conquered by the Germans. Zanzibar, one of Tanzania’s most famous cities, was not part of the country back then as it was ruled by an Arab dynasty.
However, after World War I, Germany was defeated at the hands of the Allies and as a result, Tanzania fell under British rule through the Paris Peace Conference. This treaty was held in 1919 and thus, German East Africa or Tanzania was given under the control of Britain.
2. 30% of Tanzania’s land area is National Parks
Tanzania has a breadth of natural diversity. So much so that 30% of the country is National Parks.
The Serengeti National Park is one of the most famous places on Earth and a World Heritage Site because of the trees, plants and animal life that thrives within it. It is also the 7th wonder of the world.
Other notable parks in Tanzania include Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, Arusha, Mikumi and Katavi National Parks all of which are home to some amazing sights for those who enjoy nature.
3. The tallest mountain of Africa is located in Tanzania
Standing at 5,895 meters, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world too and is home to a wide variety of ecological wonders.
From rainforests to cultivated land, from deserts to an arctic summit, the mountain is home to not just various ecosystems but wildlife as well.
Mount Kilimanjaro is actually an inactive volcano that offers a breathtaking hike towards the summit, passing its beautiful landscapes on the way.
4. The Great Wildebeest Migration is a sight to behold
The Serengeti National Park is the set for one of the largest animal migrations anywhere in the world.
Over 2 million animals including 1.5 million Wildebeests travel across the grasslands of Tanzania and Kenya in search of greener pastures.
The most iconic part of this migration is the Mara River crossing that most of us are familiar with from watching National Geographic so many times where crocodiles attack migrating animals for a spectacle that demonstrates the might of nature.
5. The Ngorongoro Crater serves as a great place to see some wildlife
Tanzania is home to some of the most breathtaking safari rides anywhere in the world.
The Ngorongoro Crater which is a part of the park with the same name is the ideal location to catch sight of a host of wildlife including buffalos, elephants, leopards, rhinos, lions, zebras, cheetahs, wildebeests, gazelle and hippos.
Also known as one of Africa’s seven natural wonders, this crater that was formed as a result of a volcanic explosion has been a popular tourist spot for long.
6. The second largest lake in the world is also in Tanzania
By volume and depth, Lake Tanganyika is the second largest freshwater lake in the world. Siberia’s Lake Baikal is the largest body of this sort but Tanzania’s lake holds a lot of natural beauty for itself.
Being fed by 50 streams and rivers, the lake is so large that it belongs in parts to 4 different countries, i.e., Congo, Tanzania, Zambia and Burundi.
Home to nearly 500 species of marine life which live within 20 meters of the surface mostly, Lake Tanganyika is a natural wonder on its own.
7. Tanzanian delicacies are unique and tantalizing
Many people only associate Tanzania with wildlife and large plains, but a little known fact about the country is that it is home to some amazing delicacies.
The people enjoy some unusual foods like crocodile, warthog, ostrich and antelopes cooked in a variety of ways to provide distinct flavors.
Other local favorites include tilapia fish, samosas and pilau rice. The use of a wide range of spices and seasonings like garlic, cardamom and turmeric give the food a flavor that is unique and tantalizing.
8. Baobab trees are a natural wonder to see in Tanzania
Baobab is a species of tree that is native to Tanzania. The most fascinating fact about these is that they can live for more than 1,000 years old with many still present in the vast plains of Tanzania especially.
The oldest Baobab tree is 6,000 years old and is found in South Africa. These trees are a common sight in the Tarangire National Park which is one of the largest parks in Tanzania.
9. The lions in Tarangire National Park are known for climbing trees
Speaking of Tarangire National Park, it is one of the first places where tree-climbing lions were discovered.
Not like this is another species or type of the big cat but it is unusual behavior for the ‘King of the Jungle’ to perch themselves high on tree branches. Whether these magnificent cats love the view or simply climb up to get a gasp of fresh air, we’ll never know.
What we do know however, is that this behavior is unique and only found in select places across the world.
10. Zanzibar and its stunning beaches are a must-visit in Tanzania
Tanzania has a lot to offer in terms of natural diversity. From volcanoes to plains, large lakes and even beaches, the country is a feast for sore eyes.
The beaches of Zanzibar, a beautiful island that is part of Tanzanian territory are an amazing place to round up your safari trip.
With white sand, blue waters, swerving palm trees and the soothing breeze blowing through your hair, the beaches are part of the ecology that you just don’t want to miss.
11. The country offers unparalleled scuba diving experiences
And that’s not it! After all the experience on land and shorelines are done, there are still some treasures to explore in Tanzania underwater.
Zanzibar is a famous tourist spot for scuba diving and snorkeling offering some close encounters with corals. Green Turtles, Lionfish, sea horses and frog fishes. It is a truly mesmerizing way to end a fascinating trip to the nation.
12. Did you know? Freddie Mercury was born in Tanzania
An amazing fact to know about Tanzania is that one of the biggest music icons anywhere in the world was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
The late vocalist and songwriter for the legendary rock band ‘Queen’ spent his early days in the country however since his parents were Parsi-Indian, his early schooling happened in India.
He returned to Zanzibar after secondary school but the family fled the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution and settled in Middlesex, England.
13. The Serengeti National Park is one of Tanzania’s national treasures
The Serengeti National Park has become one of the defining points for Tanzania as a country.
The significance that the park holds as a world-famous attraction remains unique and although a lot has been said about the Park during the starting of this article, it is still crucial to highlight its importance for the nation especially in terms of being a tourist destination.
14. Tanzania is also home to the world’s largest crab
With the ability to grow as big as 1 m in width and weigh up to 9 pounds, the Coconut Crab is known as the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world. Apparently, it is also one of the tastiest which ultimately provides the name for it. These crabs are vastly found on islands across the Indian Ocean but are found on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar as well. The crab is facing a rapid decrease in population due to rising human civilization and decrease of its habitat but efforts are being made to protect it globally.
15. The first known human fossils have been found in Tanzania
Tanzania has a significant role in human history as it has a lot of contributions towards archeology.
The oldest human skull is known to have been discovered in Olduvai Gorge by the famous archeologist, Dr. Leakey.
These discoveries have helped shape the way we understand our evolution and the earliest ancestors that lived hundreds of years before us.
Travel Virtually to Tanzania with Drew Binsky
Drew Binsky is one of the few people in the world who has traveled to every single country on Earth. His travel vlogs are exciting and insightful capturing the best that each country has to offer.
Here is his video of spending 8 days in the African nation of Tanzania, the best country in the continent according to him. Watch the video here and get a glimpse of what it is like to travel through the country.
Tanzania seems like a dangerous and secluded country but in reality it is one of the most fascinating places anywhere on the planet. From vast plains featuring wildlife and shrubbery, to beautiful hills and mountains the country has a lot to offer for those who have a knack to travel and explore exciting places.
Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.