Arab and Indian peoples migrated to parts of East Africa in the late 15th century. This began the entrance of the European powers into the commercial affairs of East Africa. Tanzania was a major focus for mid-18th century British explorers who sought to discover the source of the Nile. It is where mid-18th century British missionaries led the effort to end the slave trade in east and central Africa. Germany relinquished its sovereignty over the area we now know as Tanzania in 1919 to the British following World War II. In 1961, Tanzania became independent from British rule. In 1964, the archipelago of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean and the coastal region of Tanganyika merged into one country known today as Tanzania.
Tanzania’s Geographic Features
Great Rift Valley
Tanzania is transected by the Great Rift Valley, which formed 30 million years ago when the tectonic plates of Africa and Arabia separated. It stretches 4,000 miles from the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley to Mozambique cutting a mile deep ridge through western and southern Tanzania. The Great Rift Valley is responsible for creating some of the oldest and deepest lakes in the world, including Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika that border western Tanzania. The Congo River basin in central Africa is within one of the largest rain forests in the world.
Tanzania’s Rift Valley Western Lakes
The Great Lake Region of Tanzania includes Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa. These lakes provide an ideal habitat for Tanzania’s primates and diverse variety of birds. The northern area of Tanzania’s Rift Valley formed Lake Natron the breeding area of 2.5 million flamingos. Its breeding area is safe due to its caustic environment, which creates a natural barrier preventing predatory animals from disrupting their nests. High levels of evaporation in the Great Rift Valley creates salt and other mineral concentrations such as sodium carbonate forming an alkali salt crust surface in which red or pink salt-loving microorganisms thrive. Lake Manyara, just south of the Serengeti in the Rift Valley, is home to a diverse ecosystem of animals attracted to its shallow soda lake fed by groundwater which attracts up to 2.5 million flamingos migrating from Lake Natron to its north, anubis baboons and sykes monkeys. These primates attract predatory animals such as tree lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, and giraffes. Elephants are often seen along its shores. Lake Eyasi to the west of Lake Manyara is another salt-water lake in the Rift Valley and the natural habitat of the Hadzabe hunter-gatherer bushmen who hunt along its shoreline.
Tanzania’s Wildlife and Natural Highlights
In 1961, Tanzania’s first president, Julius K. Nyerere, proposed to preserve Tanzania’s natural wildlife resources and ecosystems by establishing what are now 15 national parks. It offers the “3 S’s of Sun, Sand, and Sea. Its borders include volcanos, mountains, lakes, beaches, and game reserves.
Tanzanian safaris allow visitors to experiences wildlife eco-cultures and remote traditional human cultures. It all depends on your specific interests. Tanzania has the 3 S’s: Sand, Sun, and Sea. Tanzania’s northern circuit includes unusual geographic features, animal wildlife, visit its exotic tribal-based communities, and enjoy its wide range of recreational activities. You will also see Mount Kilimanjaro and other climbable mountains. In Tanzania’s southern circuit, you will see unique and diverse wildlife habitats, mountainous terrain, the flora and fauna along its rivers, enjoy riverboat rides, see big mammals and cats and areas where there are over 400 species of colorful and diverse varieties of birds. In the eastern circuit of Tanzania, you can relax and soak up the sun on white sandy pristine beaches on the Spice Island Archipelago that includes Zanzibar. Following your safari take the opportunity to participate in a wide range of water sports, see unique and endangered species of primates living in their natural habitats, and view exotic birds. Taken all together, Tanzania provides you with everything could possibly want on a safari in Africa. Tanzania has it all!