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 Kilimanjaro, which is a dormant volcano as well as the highest free standing peak in Africa.
West of Kilimanjaro is Serengeti National Park, 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 artifacts have been discovered). Also in this northern area are a number of alkaline lakes including Lake Natron, a vital breeding site for pink flamingoes.
To the west lies Lake Victoria on the Kenya–Uganda–Tanzania border. It is the largest lake in Africa and is recognized 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 include endless grasslands claimed largely by the Selous Game Reserve. Further north the plateau is arable land, which 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, which lies further north. 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 talcum 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.
Tanzania has a tropical climate. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F) during the cold and hot seasons respectively. The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling below 20 °C (68 °F). The hottest period extends between November and February (25–31 °C / 77–87.8 °F) while the coldest period occurs between May and August (15–20 °C / 59–68 °F).
The March – May rains are referred to as the long rains or Masika, whereas the October – December rains are known as short rains or Vuli.
Geographic coordinates: 6°00′S 35°00′E
Total landmass including Mafia, Pemba and Zanzibar Islands: 945,087 km²
Main land mass: 886,037 km²
Land boundaries: 3,402 km
Border countries: Burundi 451 km, Kenya 769 km, Malawi 475 km, Mozambique 756 km, Rwanda 217 km, Uganda 396 km, Zambia 338 km, Dem. Rep. of the Congo 473 km
Coastline: 1,424 km
Territorial sea: 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)
Topography: plains along coast; central plateau and lake region, the Great Escarpment land fault, which travels through the country from Northern Africa to Zimbabwe; mountainous highlands in the north and south.
Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Mount Kilimanjaro 5,892 m