Geography of Tanzania

Geographical Facts about Tanzania — The bulk of East Africa is made up of a vast, flat plateau rising from a narrow coastal belt to an average height of about 1,500m. This plateau is broken dramatically by the 20-million-year-old Great Rift Valley, which cuts a trough up to 2,000m deep through the African continent from the Dead Sea to Mozambique. The main branch of the Rift Valley bisects Tanzania. A western branch of the Rift Valley forms the Tanzania-Congo border. Lakes Natron, Manyara, Eyasi and Nyasa/Malawi are all in the main rift, Lake Tanganyika lies in the western branch, and Lake Victoria lies on an elevated plateau between them.

East Africa’s highest mountains (with the exception of the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda) are volcanic in origin, created by the same forces that caused the emergence of the Rift Valley. Kilimanjaro is the most recent of these: it started to form about one million years ago and was still growing as recently as 100,000 years ago. Mount Meru is older. Ngorongoro Crater is the collapsed caldera of a volcano in Tanzania, Ol Doinyo Lengai, rises from the rift floor to the north of Ngorongoro.

Size and Location — The United Republic of Tanzania came into being 1964 when Tanganyika on the African mainland united with the offshore state of Zanzibar the latter comprising the Indian Ocean islands of Unguja (Zanzibar) and Pemba. It lies on the East African coast between 1° and 11°45’S and 29°20’ and 40°35’E, and is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The country extends over 945,166km2 (364,929 square miles), making it one of the largest countries in sub-saharan Africa, covering a greater area than Kenya and Uganda combined. To place this is in a European context, Tanzania is more than four times the size of Britain, while in an American context it is 1.5 times the size of Texas.

Capital — Dodoma was earmarked as the future capital of Tanzania in 1973. It has subsequently displaced Dar es Salaam as the official national capital, and is also where all parliamentary sessions are held. Some government departments, however are still based in Dar es Salaam, which remains the most important and largest city in the country, and is the site of the main international airport, many diplomatic missions to Tanzania, and most large businesses. The main commercial centre and unofficial safari capital of northern Tanzania is the town of Arusha at the southern base of Mount Meru.

These were the Geographical facts about Tanzania. We hope that you come and visit us soon.

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