Facts & figures
Full name: United Republic of Tanzania
Population: 47.6 million (UN, 2012)
Capital: Dodoma (official), Dar es Salaam (commercial)
Largest city: Dar es Salaam
Area: 945,087 sq km (364,900 sq miles)
Major languages: English, Swahili
Major religions: Christianity, Islam
Life expectancy: 58 years (men), 60 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Tanzanian shilling = 100 cents
Main exports: Gold, sisal, cloves, coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, minerals, tobacco
GNI per capita: US $540 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .tz
International dialling code: +255
Jakaya Kikwete has been president since 2005 and is now serving his second term, having won re-election in October 2010.
Visa & travel advice
All nationals of the countries or territorial entities mentioned below.
Stateless and those holding non-national travel/refugee documents or passports issued by an authority not recognized by the United Republic of Tanzania, must obtain a valid visa on each occasion they need to enter Tanzania.
- Best period:
We recommend visiting Tanzania between January and March: the clear days are perfect for game viewing, and the warm nights are ideal for a dip in the Indian Ocean. Tanzania has two rainy seasons: the period from mid-March to the end of May is known as the masika rain season. The second season is known as the vuli season; it occurs intermittently throughout November and parts of December and January. During the vuli season, showers arrive in the morning and are sometimes interrupted with clear weather.
Be sensible when you travel. Be alert and aware of your surroundings. As stated earlier, Tanzania (especially Zanzibar) has a sizable Muslim population. We encourage travelers to respect local customs and fashion and to dress modestly.
Arab traders first began to colonize the area in 700. Portuguese explorers reached the coastal regions in 1500 and held some control until the 17th century, when the sultan of Oman took power. With what are now Burundi and Rwanda, Tanganyika became the colony of German East Africa in 1885. After World War I, it was administered by Britain under a League of Nations mandate and later as a UN trust territory.
Although not mentioned in old histories until the 12th century, Zanzibar was always believed to have had connections with southern Arabia. The Portuguese made it one of their tributaries in 1503 and later established a trading post, but they were driven from Oman by Arabs in 1698. Zanzibar was declared independent of Oman in 1861 and, in 1890, it became a British protectorate.
The music industry in Tanzania has seen many changes in the past ten years. With a mix of influences from other countries along with the original feel of local musical traditions, Tanzanian musicians have become some of the best artists in East Africa. From artists such as Dionys Mbilinyi, Sabinus Komba and many others, to new artists in R&B, pop, Zouk, Taarab and dance music.
The Tanzanian national anthem is Mungu Ibariki Africa (God Bless Africa), composed by South African composer Enoch Sontonga in 1897. The tune was ANC's official song and later became the National Anthem of South Africa.The song is also the national anthem Zambia. Swahili lyrics were set to this tune
'Tanzanian literature is primarily oral. Major oral literary forms include folktales, poems, riddles, proverbs, and songs. The majority of the oral literature in Tanzania that has been recorded is in Swahili, though each of the country's languages has its own oral tradition. The country's oral literature is currently declining because of changes in family structure that make transmission of oral literature more difficult and because of the devaluation of oral literature that has accompanied Tanzania's development. Tanzania's written literary tradition is still relatively undeveloped; Tanzania does not have a strong reading culture, and books are often expensive and hard to come by. Most Tanzanian literature is in Swahili or English. Major figures in Tanzanian written literature include Shaaban Robert, Muhammed Said Abdulla, Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Penina Mlama.
- Film industry:
Tanzania formerly known as Tanganyika hardly any cinematic history of its own. In 1929 the first cinema was openened. Censorship law constituted that films could be either passed for all audiences or "non-natuve" audiences. At stake in this struggle were the criteria for determining what was suitable for the eyes of Africans in town, whose potential access to Hollywood fare was the cause of considerable anxiety in Government, both in the colonies and the metropole. The question was how to structure the social and cultural boundaries between "natives" and "non-natives". In 1935 two British citizens Major L. A. Notcutt and Geoffrey Latham, established the Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment (BEKE) in Tanzania. It represented culmination of a decade of discussion and experimentation production of motion pictures in the UK about the use of cinema in the colonies. The Colonial Film Unit started to produce educational, entertainment and prpogandadistic films. That same period Mobile cinemas were introduced, which toured the country, showing newsreels and films supplied by the central office of information in London (COI). Local production of films by the film unit started in 1948. The Film Unit was a Government unit responsible for documenting important Government events. The Tanzania Film Company was established in 1968. The Audiovisual Institute formed in 1974 replaced the Film Unit but continued to play the role of a Government documentation unit. However, AVI ventured also in making educational documentaries which were used in schools and other training institutions.
Nowadays the local industry is poor, mainly due to lack of funds. For the same reason, the black and white film laboratory installed at the Audio Visual Institute was closed. However, the Tanzania Film Corporation, which cut its teeth as a maker of documentaries, has produced at least three full-length feature films and distributed these through national cinema halls, "Fimbo ya Mnyonge" (1974), "Harusi ya Mariam" by Ron Mulvihill and Nangayoma Ng'oge (1983) and "Yomba Yomba" (1985) by Martin Mhando, probably Tanzania's most well known director. There are several video studios, which have produced various programmes for TV stations, including Masai Studios and Video Tumaini. "Mama Tumaini" (1986), a 60 -minute long docudrama from Tanzania was a USA co-production with the Tanzania Film Company. It was on cinema release in Tanzania, and prize-winner at the Fespaco Festival in Ouagadougou in 1987.
- Famous places:
Zanzibar is one of Tanzania's top destinations because of its fascinating past and its incredible beaches.
Africa is known as one of the best destinations for adventure travel, and what can be more adventurous than hiking up the world's tallest free-standing mountain? Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, stands at 19,340 feet (5896m) and will take you 6 days to conquer.
- Architecture history:
The architecture of urban coastal centers reflects the long, rich history of Tanzania. Ruins of Arab mosques, cemeteries, and house structures can be found at sites such as Kaole, just south of Bagamoyo. Tombs embedded with Chinese ceramics dating to the twelfth century reflect the trade between distant civilizations. Nineteenth-century stone houses on narrow streets characterize Bagamoyo, which was one of the main endpoints of the East African slave trade.