Monday, April 23, 2012

Tanzania

Where is Tanzania
James, my son, paid Tanzania a visit last year with a group of friends. They climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. ( There is a link a bit further on to previous posts about the actual climb, but knowing about the country is knowledge you will not regret.) Of course, being a keen photographer, he brought back lots and lots of pictures. Unfortunately most of the pictures were relevant to the climb and do not reflect all that Tanzania has to offer, but there are a few which give a glimpse into one of the towns where they stayed, Moshi.


Tanzania used to be called Tanganyika, the name changed when the semi-autonomous island state of Zanzibar joined Tanganyika to become Tanzania. This happened in 1964 after the Zanzibar revolution overthrew the Arab Dynasty.  One extremely interesting character in the 19th century was a slave trader by the name of  Tippu Tip who was born on the island of  Zanzibar. A notorious slave trader, plantation owner and governor. Henry Stanley and David Livingston were two of the European explorers he came to know and to whom he gave assistance. His Autobiography is well worth reading, it is one of the very few accounts of early African history. Click on the link (Tippu Tip) to go to his book.
Tanzanite
Tanzania is very rich in minerals like gold, diamonds, platinum and tanzanite, a precious gem which is only found in Tanzania, nowhere else. Other very interesting minerals have also been found here like the largest deposit of Rare Earths oxide in the world and of course, natural gas.
I must say that researching these posts on Africa has been extremely interesting and informative, I've thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Back to Tanzania.
Tanzania has Eight countries bordering it with the eastern side of the country lying along the Indian Ocean coast of Africa. The countries are from the north anti-clockwise: Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south.
Tanzanian Beach (Link)

Tanzania lies just 1 degree south of the equator so the climate and the ocean here are tropical. Want to find a beautiful, clean and uncrowded dive site? You'll like Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Most of the economy of the country comes from agriculture, about 75% of the gross domestic product is derived from this sector. Tourism is however starting to make inroads here, (excuse the pun) and there are very affordable game lodges and safari tours available.
Tanzania is home to the Serengeti national park, which you may have heard of in relation to the huge annual herd migrations numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The Ngorongoro crater and of course the Gombe national park, famous for the studies done by doctor Jane Goodall on Chimpanzee behavior.
James's impression of the people was that they are very friendly, peaceful and helpful. English isn't the preferred language when talking to each other, Swahili is, but English is one of the two official languages, so communication is no problem. Approximately 73 percent of the population is literate however that does not mean they can all read English but it won't take much to find someone who can translate.
Makonde Carvings

As in any country the artists of Tanzania exemplify their culture through their artistic expression. Wood carvings have always been a favorite African art form, and now a new art form has surfaced called Tingatinga, a bright enamel repetitive animal or floral patterned  style that has become popular throughout east Africa since the middle of the twentieth century.
Tingatinga humor (link)

Of course musicians like Bi kidude. This Grand old lady of more than 90 years still produces amazing music. Click on the link and pay her a visit, you can listen to her singing by clicking the bars on the left.
And since we are all writers I should mention a few like Godfrey Mwakikagile considered to be an authority on president Julius Nyerere and one of hie most prominent biographers. Abdulrazak Gurnah Auther of acclaimed novels such as Paradise and desertion who now lives in England and lectures at the university of Kent.
All in all, I have found researching Tanzania very interesting and I hope you too have been as enthralled as I have.
Thanks for your time and may God bless you, Geoff.
Here are the links to previous posts about Mount Kilimanjaro I mentioned earlier. Mount Kilimanjaro OK so now you know someone who has already climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, well lets say you know about him. Enjoy your climb, I'm proud to be of assistance, even if only in a small way.

3 comments:

  1. What an interesting place! I'd love to go there, especially that wonderful beach!! But I'll bet I find the people the best part, as I usually do when I visit another country. And I never knew tanzanite came only from Tanzania. Makes perfect sense!

    I'm a new follower via the A to Z Challenge. Nice to meet you, Geoff!

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  2. Serengeti Safari fanatics and lovers of natural charm will agree, needs little prologue. The highest free standing hill, at 5,892 meters above sea level and 40 kilometer across, Mount Kilimanjaro has lots that makes it amazing. Africa is an area of remarkable things. From the driest deserts to the rainiest woods and incredible traditional attractions to fresh natural charm, this area has several locations which are unique in themselves.

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  3. Tanzania still holds a very special place in my heart having worked there for the whole of 1998. We were 90k's from the nearest town but it was a 3 hour drive in a Land rover! We had to generate our own electricity and we pumped clean water into the village. I miss it so much!

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