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22 Interesting Facts You Should Know About Tanzania

Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, includes the spice islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia and contains Africa’s highest point—Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet). Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano, is snowcapped even though it is near the Equator. The African population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups.

  1. Tanzania is just a little bit more than twice the size of California.
  2. Over 120 languages are spoken in Tanzania. Most of these are Bantu languages, a category of over 535 languages and dialects that are spoken throughout Africa.
  3. Mpingo trees (a.k.a. Africa blackwood trees, commonly seen in Tanzania) are the most expensive hardwood tree in the world.
  4. The world’s earliest human skull was found in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.
  5. Tanzania has the largest concentration of wildlife animals per square kilometer, with more than 4 million wild animals and representatives of 430 species and subspecies.
  6. Once upon a time, the ancestors of the wild elephants that live in Tanzania today didn’t roam on the land, they swam in the water! Dugongs were sea cows that lived in Tanzania in sheltered waters 55 million years ago. They grew about 3.5 meters in length and lived to be about 70 years old.
  7. Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania. At 19,341 feet above sea level, it is the largest mountain in Africa.
  8. Tanzania shares it national anthem with South Africa and Zimbabwe. It’s titled “Mungu Ibariki Afrika” (God Bless Africa) and was composed by Enock Sontonga.
  9. Tanzania is divided into 26 regions (mikoa), 21 on the mainland, 3 on Zanzibar Island and 2 on Pemba Island. These are further divided into 99 districts (wilaya)! That’s a lot of parts and pieces to divide a socialist country into. The stacks of paper must be huge.
  10. Tanzania is the home of the coconut crab. This crab, the largest crab in the world (and reportedly one of the most delicious), can be found on Chumbe Island of Zanzibar.
  11. Tanzania has the most expensive hardwood tree in the world; the Mpingo trees, also known as the African Blackwood trees.
  12.  The earliest human skull in the world was discovered in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania
  13. With more than 4 million wild animals in its periphery, Tanzania has the largest concentration of animals per square kilometer, in the world.
  14. And talking about wild, 30% of country’s area is occupied with National Parks, with 12 parks, 13 nature reserves, and 38 protected areas.
  15. The highest free standing mountain in the world, Mt. Kilimanjaro, is located in Tanzania. It is also the highest mountain in Africa.
  16. Countries share food, flora and fauna, and several other things. But have you heard of any country that shares its national anthem? Tanzania does. With South Africa and Zimbabwe.
  17. In the Zanzibar archipelago of Tanzania, one can find the largest crab in the world; the coconut crab. Said to be the most delicious as well. Attention all sea food fanatic!
  18. The Ruaha National Park is the home to largest population of wild elephants in all of Eastern Africa.
  19. Tanzania also houses the world’s largest volcanic crater, Ngorongoro, with a diameter of 19kms and is 600m deep.
  20. Remember Freddie Mercury? Who doesn’t?! The lead vocalist of the English band ‘Queen’ is a Tanzanian by birth and was born in the archipelago of Zanzibar, in Stone Town. And, by the way, his real name is Farrokh Bulsara! That’s something you probably must have known.
  21. Tanzania has two capital cities. Dar es Salaam (the administrative capital) and Dodoma city (the legislative capital) where its parliament sits.
    • Population: over 36,481,000
    • Capital: Dar es Salaam (administrative); 2,683,000—Dodoma (legislative); 155,000
    • Area: 945,087 square kilometers (364,900 square miles)
    • Language: Kiswahili, Kiungujo, English, Arabic, many local languages
    • Religion: Christianity, Islam, indigenous religions
    • Currency: Tanzanian shilling
    • Life Expectancy: 45
    • GDP per Capita: U.S. $600
    • Literacy Percent: 78
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