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Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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Tanzania Geographical Information

The Federal United Republic of Tanzania includes the mainland province of Tanganyika and the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba that together combine to make up Tanzania. The mainland country lies off the Indian Ocean, on the east coast of Africa. It shares borders with Kenya and Uganda in the north, with Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo on the western side and with Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique in the south. The islands of Zanzibar and Pemba lie in the Indian Ocean, 48km from the mainland. The country’s most important port is Dar es Salaam within easy reach of Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain at 5895m.

The Tanzanian mainland is divided into many distinct territorial entities: starting from Rift valleys and volcanoes to large mangrove swamps, low hill ranges uplands, high mountains, plateaus, and a variety of terrain, coral reefs and lakes. The mountainous regions include Mt. Meru (4,566 m) and Mt. Kilimanjaro in the northeast; the Usambara, Nguru, and Uluguru Mountains in the east; the Livingstone Mts. and the Kipengere Range near Lake Nyasa in the south; and the Ufipi Highlands in the southwest. Tanzania's few rivers include the Pangani, the Rufiji, and the Ruvuma all of which flow into the Indian Ocean, and the Malagarasi River, which flows into Lake Tanganyika.

Over 53,000 sq km of the land mass is inland water, mostly lakes like Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika formed in the Rift Valley. Lake Tanganyika, the longest and (after Lake Baikal) deepest freshwater lake in the world forms Tanzania’s border with Zaire. The coastal plains extend up to 64km inland with lush, tropical vegetation while the Masai Steppe in the north rise up to altitudes of 698-3500ft ASL and a steep plateau extend south towards Zambia and Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi).

Flora and Fauna

Due to such a varied topography the habitation varies from place to place - the tropical vegetation of the coastal plains changes to grassy savannah as the country moves to high ground before transforming into arid and semi-arid bush land. The Serengeti plains are home to many species of African wild life. The Serengeti National Park houses 35 species of animals including elephants, zebra, giraffes, eland, wildebeest, lions and leopards. The Serengeti plains also contain the marvelous Ngorongoro, a 20-mile-wide volcanic crater that is home to an unusual concentration of migratory game animals like zebra.

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