Tanzania is a peaceful nation of more than 120 ethnic tribes with varying languages, beliefs and cultures all united with the national language Kiswahili. Within its borders Tanzania encompasses the continent’s largest and deepest lakes, the highest mountain and the source of the River Nile.
Here you can discover the wild romantic Africa of your dreams. The land of wide open spaces abundant with wildlife, history dating back to the evolution of man, beautiful sandy beaches and warm and hospitable people, Tanzania is a land waiting to be discovered.
Tanzania has a long history of human habitation stretching back to our most distant ancestors. The so-called “Bantu migrations”, occurring between 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, brought agricultural and pastoral knowledge to the area as competing groups spread over the country in search of fertile soil and plentiful grazing for their herds.
European missionaries and explorers mapped the interior of the country by following well-worn caravan routes, including Burton and Speke who in 1857 journeyed to find the source of the Nile. Traditional ways of life remained largely intact until the arrival of German colonizers in the late 19th century.
On the Swahili Coast, Indian Ocean trade began as early as 400BCE between Greece and Azania, as the area was commonly known. Around the 4th century AD, coastal towns and trading settlements attracted Bantu-speaking peoples from the African hinterland. They settled around mercantile areas and often facilitated trading with the Arabs and Persians, who bartered for slaves, gold, ivory, and spices, sailing north with the monsoon wind.
Between the 13th and 15th centuries, the settlements of Kilwa Kisiwani and the Zanzibar Archipelago reached their peak, with a highly cosmopolitan population of Indian, Arab and African merchants trading in luxury goods that reached as far as China. The completion of Portuguese domination in 1525 meant that trade, for a short time, was lessened, but rival Omani Arab influences soon took control of the caravan routes and regained complete control of the islands, even going so far as to make Zanzibar the capital of Oman in the 1840s.
In the late 19th century, British influence in the Zanzibar Archipelago, in contrast to German influence on the Tanzanian mainland, slowly suppressed the slave trade and brought the area under the influence of the Empire. Local rebellions in German East Africa, most notably the Maji Maji rebellion from 1905 to 1907, slowly weakened the colonizer’s grip on the nation and at the end of the First World War Germany ceded Tanganyika to English administration. Under the leadership of Julius Nyerere of TANU, popularly referred to as Mwalimu, or “teacher,” Tanganyika achieved full independence in 1962. Meanwhile, a violent revolution in Zanzibar ousted the Omani sultancy and established a one-party state under the Afro-Shirazi Party in 1963. A year later, the United Republic of Tanzania was formed, unifying the Tanganyika mainland with the semi-autonomous islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago, and merging TANU and the ASP to form CCM, Chama cha Mapinduzi, the Party of the Revolution which rules Tanzania to the present day.
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city and its economic capital. Located in a bay off the Indian Ocean coast, the city has grown in economic importance to become a prosperous centre in the East African region. Its bustling harbour is the main port in Tanzania and its industrial area produces products for export and use throughout the country. Government offices all have a important base in Dar es Salaam, and diplomatic missions and non-governmental organizations in the country all have a presence in this bustling urban city.
Located in the northern highlands of Tanzania, beneath the twin peaks of Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro, Arusha is the safari capital of the country. Guests embarking on the popular northern safari circuit all stop in the “Geneva of Africa” to prepare for their journeys into the African bush. From its two-lane streets, the dramatic crater of Mt Meru stands over the town like a majestic sentinel, its crater strewn with thick clouds, its slopes dark with verdant forest. Arusha’s ideal location near the major national parks and its highland setting make it a peaceful idyll of relaxation before the start of an exciting journey.
Zanzibar Stone Town
Zanzibar’s old quarter, also known as Zanzibar Town, is a fascinating maze of narrow streets and alleyways which lead past numerous old houses and mosques, ornate palaces, shops and bazaars. Many buildings in Stone Town date from the 19th-century slave boom. Highlights include the House of Wonders, the Palace Museum and the seafront fish market in Forodhani Gardens. The town is situated along the waterfront, and has a number of cafes and restaurants that overlook the sea and magnificent sunsets.