The country is situated just south of the Equator bordering the Indian Ocean and is 930,704 sq. km. in area. Of this, inland waters cover 53,000-sq. km. and 247,537-sq. km. is devoted to the protection of wildlife. Most of the land area of the country falls within the central plateau region, although the most distinctive feature is the Great Rift Valley with its associated series of lakes from Nyasa in the south, to Tanganyika in the west and Victoria in the north. Volcanic activity is common throughout the Rift Valley area. The coastline comprises long tropical beaches and the major offshore islands of Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba. The population presently occupying Tanzania is about 30,3 million. Approximately 3,2 people per square kilometre.
On a more optimistic note, this was also the starting point for many of history’s most famous explorers. David Livingstone is especially well remembered here in the museum collection at the Catholic Mission, but Burton and Speke also passed through this city and Stanley’s own house still stands here as a monument to those great adventurers.
The climate is warm and humid in coastal regions with temperatures ranging between 24-28 degrees centigrade. October to mid-March is the hottest period and June to September, the coolest. The rainy season is from mid-March to the end of June.
Tanzania boasts in having Mount Kilimanjaro which is Africa’s highest peak. The coastline is 800km where islands are lush with palm fringed white beaches washed by the turquoise water on the Indian Ocean. Tanzania contains three of Africa’s best-known lakes—Victoria in the north, Tanganyika in the west, and Nyasa in the south. The island of Zanzibar is separated from the mainland by a 22-mile channel. The Great Rift Valley also passes through Tanzania. The country has reknowed national parks in the world especially the Serengeti National Park which was named together with the Maasai Mara game reserve as the new 7th wonder of the world with its wildebeest migrations. The annual migration into Kenya (in a continuous search of water and pasture) of more than 1.5 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and gazelle is triggered by the rains and usually starts in May, at the end of the wet season. Called the Great Migration, this constitutes the most breathtaking event in the animal kingdom ever known to humans. As the dry season intensifies, the herds drift out towards the west, one group to the north (to Lake Victoria, where there is permanent water), the other northeast heading for the permanent waters of the northern rivers and the Mara. The immigration instinct is so strong that animals die in the rivers as they dive from the banks into the raging waters to be dispatched by crocodiles. The survivors concentrate in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve until the grazing there is exhausted, when they turn south along the eastern and final stage of the migration route. The migration coincides with the breeding season, which causes fights among the males. The best months to visit to witness this great migration are December to February and May to July.