Ten Fascinating Facts About Wild and Beautiful Tanzania

two for the road travel adventure blog tanzania facts interesting mapSo as we kick off our latest adventure – our first ever epic African safari! – we thought we’d share some interesting facts about this beautiful and fascinating place called Tanzania. ūüôā Check ’em out:

You might very well consider Tanzania “the place where it all began.” Some of the oldest fossilized human remains ever discovered – dating back almost two million years – were unearthed in Tanzania in a place called¬†Olduvai Gorge.

Today, Tanzania boasts a population of almost 37 million people, and 2.7 million of them live in its administrative capital of Dar es Salaam.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling. And checking today’s exchange rate, one US dollar is equivalent to 2,243 Tanzanian shillings. So bring a calculator.

And as it happens, Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. Despite that fact, however, it is one of the most peaceful nations in Africa, if not the world. Unlike many of its African neighbors that have suffered through years of dramatic and often violent internal strife, Tanzania has (thankfully) never experienced civil war, despite being home to more than 120 different ethnic groups. Tanzanians are, by and large, very warm and very friendly people. And they clearly know how to get along with others. A lesson for us all.

Kickin’ it with our Tanzanian friends after a few banana beers. Appropriately blurry.

Tanzanians are also by and large, people of faith. It’s estimated that 30% of Tanzanians are Christian, 35% hold native or indigenous beliefs, and 35% are Muslim¬†(except for the island state of Zanzibar, which is almost entirely Muslim).

Tanzania is also one of the most geographically diverse countries in Africa, and includes the highest peak on the African continent – legendary Mount Kilimanjaro – which rises to a breathtaking 19,341 feet above sea level.

Moshi Kilimanjaro Safari Tanzania Africa 2 (Large)
Mount Kilimanjaro

And the country is, of course, absolutely¬†loaded with incredible wildlife. In fact, Tanzania boasts one of the largest – if not the largest – concentrations of wild animals anywhere in the world. Which means a safari in Tanzania will bring you up close to big numbers of some of the planet’s most spectacular and exotic animals.

two for the road travel adventure blog tanzania safari serengeti migration
Wildebeest and zebra gather in the Serengeti.

And that bounty of exotic animals includes Africa’s legendary “Big Five,” all of which can be found within Tanzania’s borders. The Big Five are: the lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo and the rhino. The term “Big Five” was actually made up by¬†big-game hunters¬†as a way to classify Africa’s most difficult animals to hunt on foot.

And thankfully the Tanzanian government has wisely recognized the value of their country’s unique geography and abundant wildlife. A full¬†25% of Tanzania’s land has been set aside for conservation, which equates to (give or take) an area¬†about two-thirds the size of Texas! And that includes no less than 16 national parks, including legendary places like the Serengeti and the Ngogongoro Crater, as well as a number of other protected areas.

The spectacular Ngorongoro Crater.
The spectacular Ngorongoro Crater.

Speaking of the Ngorongoro Crater. Not only is it home to abundant wildlife, but it’s also¬†the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic¬†caldera.¬†The crater¬†was¬†formed when a large volcano (estimated to have been between 14,000 and 19,000 feet tall) exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago. The crater is 2,000 feet deep and its floor covers roughly 100 square miles. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. And it’s an incredible sight!

Lastly, know that despite most everything you hear on the news and in the media about Africa – which unfortunately is generally sensationalized and negative – we can very happily report from our own experience that Tanzania is a safe, beautiful place full of friendly people and incredible experiences.

Ever been to Tanzania? What else should people know? Leave a comment or question below!

Cheers, and happy travels y’all!

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  1. What was the name of your tour organization in Tanzania? They seem like they have a really decent safari program. Thanks.

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