Tanzania’s geography is one of the most varied and unique in the world. It contains Africa’s highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/19,341 ft), as well as numerous lakes, mountains and natural parks.
The north-east of Tanzania is mountainous and includes Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, which as well as being a dormant volcano, is the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
West of Mount Kilimanjaro is Serengeti National Park, perhaps most famous for its annual migration of millions of white bearded wildebeest and zebra, who make the round trip between Tanzania and Kenya annually. The Serengeti also has an abundance of lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo. Close by, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area boasts the 7th Wonder of the World, the famous Ngorongoro Crater, in addition to Olduvai Gorge and ‘The Origins of Man Kind,’ (where many of the oldest hominid fossils and artefacts have been discovered). Also in this northern area are a number of alkaline lakes including Lake Natron, a vital breeding site for pink flamingos.
To the west lies Lake Victoria on the Kenya/Uganda/Tanzania border. It is the largest lake in Africa and is recognised as the true source of the Nile. Southwest, Lake Tanganyika separates Tanzania from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is estimated to be the second oldest and deepest lake in the world after Lake Baikal in Siberia.
The central region of Tanzania is essentially a large plateau. The southern section of these plains includes endless grasslands claimed largely by the Selous Game Reserve. Further north, the plateau is arable land and is also home to Tanzania’s political capital of Dodoma.
The eastern coast of Tanzania is hot and humid, and contains Tanzania’s largest city and commercial capital Dar es Salaam. Just north of Dar es Salaam lies the Zanzibar Spice Islands including Pemba Island. The Tanzanian coast is home to massive mangrove swamps that are an important part of the coastal ecosystem and habitat for wildlife both on land and in the water. Tanzania’s coastline is also renowned for its endless white beaches.
The climate of Tanzania ranges from hot and humid along the coast, to more temperate climates inland. Tanzania has two rainy seasons; the long heavy rains between March to May, and a shorter, lighter rainy season from late October to late December.
Tanzania is divided into 25 regions, twenty on the mainland and five between Zanzibar and Pemba Island.