Top 50 Interesting Facts About Tanzania and Tanzanians

Tanzania, nestled in East Africa, blends regional similarities with its own unique customs, history, and culture. In this article, we’ve curated 50 captivating facts about this diverse country and its vibrant inhabitants, offering valuable insights to shape your initial impressions and inspire an engaging vacation plan in Tanzania.

50 Amazing Facts About Tanzanians and Tanzania

As we embark on this fascinating journey, we invite you to delve into the diverse tapestry of Tanzania – a country teeming with captivating history, cherished traditions, and breathtaking sights.

Historical Facts

1. The history of mankind in the region now known as Tanzania dates back 2 million years, when bipedal creatures, capable of creating cave drawings, inhabited the area.

2. Approximately 60 thousand years ago, modern humans emerged, followed by the arrival of Bushmen and Gottentots 5 thousand years ago, engaging in hunting and gathering activities.

3. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D., Persian and Arab merchants arrived, leading to the establishment of the Sultanate of Kilwa, eventually giving the land the name Zanzibar.

4. In the 16th century, the Portuguese became the first Europeans to set foot in the country, engaging in prolonged and unsuccessful conflicts with the Arabs. This period marked the onset of the slave trade in the region.

5. By the late 19th century, enterprising Germans secured protectorate treaties with numerous Tanzanian chiefs, effectively placing the country under German control.

6. World War I witnessed conflicts between Germans and the British in Tanzania. Eventually, the country fell under British control and was renamed Tanganyika.

7. In 1961, Tanganyika achieved independence, and in 1963, Zanzibar followed suit. These two nations united in 1964 to form the state of Tanzania.

8. In 1978-79, independent Tanzania played a significant role in the war against neighboring Uganda, supporting local opposition forces in overthrowing the Amin regime.

Modern Tanzania

9. Present-day Tanzania is officially known as the United Republic and is administratively divided into 31 regions.

10. The country’s name is a fusion of the initial syllables of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

11. Dodoma serves as the official capital, strategically located in the central part of the republic, founded by German colonists. With a population of 400 thousand, Dodoma houses the residences of the president and the government.

12. While Dodoma is the official capital, Dar es Salaam remains the unofficial capital, boasting a population of 5 million. This bustling city accommodates foreign embassies and numerous government organizations.


13. Founded in 1862 by the Sultan of Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam’s name translates to «Land of peaceful people.»

14. Tanzania spans 947 thousand square kilometers, ranking 31st globally in terms of land area, with a population of 66 million.

15. The Tanzanian shilling is the official currency, divided into 100 cents.

16. Despite having rich mineral reserves, including tin, uranium, iron ores, and natural gas, Tanzania maintains its identity as an agrarian nation. Key exports include coffee, tea, cashew nuts, and gold.

17. Tanzania faces economic challenges, with a majority of its population content with a monthly salary of $150.

18. The country recognizes two official languages, English and Swahili. While Swahili serves as the language of interethnic communication, English is used in the education system and courts.

19. Tanzania is ethnically diverse, home to representatives of 120 ethnic groups and tribes, with the Bantu people being the most prominent.

20. Christianity prevails as the primary religion, embraced by over 50% of the population, while almost 30% adhere to Islam.

21. Tanzania operates in the +3 UTC time zone, positioning it three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Tanzania’s Attractions

22. The primary allure of Tanzania lies in its unparalleled exotic nature, magnetizing millions of tourists to its embrace. The country boasts 17 national parks, each offering a unique natural experience.

23. An iconic symbol of Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro, stands as the highest peak in Africa, soaring to an impressive height of 5895 meters. Its summit is adorned with eternal glaciers, creating a breathtaking panorama.

24. Serengeti, the largest National Park in Tanzania, stretches along the border with Kenya, covering a vast area of 14,700 square kilometers. Renowned for its safaris and ethno-tourism, Serengeti provides a captivating glimpse into the country’s diverse wildlife.

25. The Selous Game Reserve, Africa’s largest protected area, is a major draw for tourists. Encompassing a sprawling 56 thousand square kilometers, Selous is home to an impressive elephant population exceeding 100 thousand.

26. Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, serves as a cultural and tourist hub. With its enchanting colonial-era palaces and buildings, a botanical garden, and the bustling spice market, Dar es Salaam offers a vibrant blend of history and modernity.

27. The Zanzibar archipelago stands out as the crown jewel of Tanzanian tourism, renowned for its pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, ancient forts, and parks. Notably, it is also the birthplace of the legendary singer Freddie Mercury.

Занзибар Стоун таун

28. Lake Natron, located in the north of the country, captivates tourists with its extraordinary landscapes. This saline alkaline lake often features a striking crust of red and pink salt, creating a visually stunning and surreal environment.

Character, Traditions, and Customs of the Tanzanian People

29. The predominant character trait among ordinary Tanzanians is a sense of unhurriedness and thoroughness. Their lives are guided by the famous principle of «hakuna matata,» which translates to «no problem.»

30. Tanzanian traditions are exceptionally diverse, reflecting the presence of over 100 tribes, each with its unique languages and customs.

Танзанийская деревня

31. Hospitality is a revered value across the country. Guests are cherished and accorded places of honor, with hosts sometimes deviating from usual etiquette for their guests’ comfort.

32. Guests, in turn, are expected to uphold their role with politeness and respect. It is customary to offer small gifts to hosts and express admiration for their wealth and children.

33. In Muslim regions, it’s important to note that touching another person’s head is not customary. Even when praising children, physical contact with their heads should be avoided.

34. Various tribes in Tanzania have fascinating eating customs. In Muslim communities, women often dine separately from men. Some places dictate that parents can’t eat with their children, while in others, women avoid consuming chicken and eggs.

35. The institution of family holds significant importance in Tanzania. Relationships between parents and children are grounded in love and respect, and it’s common for families to have four or more children.

36. Table manners are carefully observed, with meals commonly enjoyed on the floor using mats in rural areas. European dining traditions are gaining popularity in urban centers.

37. Many dishes, like rice or meat, are traditionally eaten with hands. However, the left hand is considered unclean, and it’s forbidden to use it for eating or serving others.

38. Tanzania embraces a distinctive ancestral cult. When forming a family, a young man selects an ancestor to emulate and consult during significant life events.

39. Inhabitants of Zanzibar exhibit distinct behaviors and traditions influenced heavily by Arab civilization. Emotionality and a readiness for spirited discussions are characteristic of the archipelago’s residents.

Занзибарские масаи

40. Zanzibar introduces a unique tradition of mass brawling using banana stalks. This practice is believed to help individuals forget past grievances and start the new year with a cleansed spirit.

41. Contrasting with mainland tribes, where theft is considered humiliating and severely punished, Zanzibar has a different perspective where taking what is readily available may be seen as acceptable behavior.

Nature of Tanzania

42. Positioned in East Africa and the Southern Hemisphere, Tanzania experiences a subequatorial climate, ensuring year-round warmth with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius.

43. Tanzania follows a conventional division of two seasons – dry and rainy. The dry and cooler period spans from May to September, while the hot and humid season occurs from November to March, often accompanied by frequent floods.

44. Home to more than 20 volcanoes, predominantly extinct, the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater stands out. Formed 2.5 million years ago, it now functions as an isolated ecosystem, teeming with thousands of animal species.

Кратер Нгоронгоро

45. Tanzania boasts Lake Victoria, the largest lake in the country, with ownership of its southern part and the largest island, Ukerewe.

46. Lake Tanganyika, Africa’s deepest lake, resides in Tanzania with a depth of 1470 meters, ranking second globally in freshwater volume after Lake Baikal.

47. Although lacking in very large rivers, Tanzania is home to numerous rivers, with the Ruvuma River on the Mozambique border being the longest at 760 kilometers.

48. The largest island, Unguja, is part of the Zanzibar archipelago, covering an area of 1660 square kilometers.

49. Tanzania’s wildlife is deemed unparalleled in Africa, hosting 360 mammal species, including iconic elephants, black rhinoceros, hippos, lions, leopards, and a diverse array of antelopes.

Жираф масаи

50. The Masai giraffe, exclusive to Tanzania, stands as the animal symbol of the country. This unique subspecies, growing up to 5.5 meters, holds the title of the tallest animal on Earth.

Request for Additional Insights

If you possess more intriguing facts about Tanzanians and Tanzania, please share them in the comments. This country is a treasure trove of incredible stories, culture, and traditions, and many would appreciate the opportunity to learn something new. Your contributions are greatly appreciated!

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