Guide to Tanzania

Map of Tanzania

Background on Tanzania

Tanzania, officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Uganda, Kenya, Comoro Islands at the Indian Ocean, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is in north-eastern Tanzania.

Travelers and merchants from the Persian Gulf and India have visited the east African coast since early in the first millennium AD. Claiming the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Said bin Sultan moved his capital to Zanzibar City in 1840. During this time, Zanzibar became the centre for the Arab slave trade. European colonialism began in mainland Tanzania during the late 19th century when Germany formed German East Africa, which gave way to British rule following World War I. The mainland was governed as Tanganyika, with the Zanzibar Archipelago remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Following their respective independence in 1961 and 1963, the two entities merged in April 1964 to form the republic and the country was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania ("Tan" comes from Tanganyika and "Zan" from Zanzibar). Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.

Tanzania is a one party dominant state with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party in power. From its formation until 1992, it was the only legally permitted party in the country. This changed on 1 July 1992, when the constitution was amended. In 1992, the Constitution of Tanzania was amended to allow multiple political parties. John Magufuli won the October 2015 presidential election and secured a two-thirds majority in parliament.

More than 100 languages are spoken in Tanzania, making it the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa. Among the languages spoken are all four of Africa's language families: Bantu, Cushitic, Nilotic, and Khoisan. There are no de jure official languages in Tanzania. Swahili is used in parliamentary debate, in the lower courts, and as a medium of instruction in primary school. English is used in foreign trade, in diplomacy, in higher courts, and as a medium of instruction in secondary and higher education. The Tanzanian government, however, has plans to discontinue English as a language of instruction. Many educated Tanzanians are trilingual, also speaking English. Zanzibaris speak Swahili (Kiswahili), a Bantu language that is extensively spoken in the African Great Lakes region. Swahili is the de facto national and official language of Tanzania. Many local residents also speak Arabic.


Cashew and the Tanzanian economy

The Tanzanian economy is heavily based on agriculture, which in 2013 accounted for 24.5 percent of gross domestic product, provides 85% of exports, and accounted for half of the employed workforce. Cashew nuts have been grown on a commercial scale in the country since the 1950s.The industry almost collapsed in the 1980s. Annual production had dropped as low as 20,000 tonnes in 1986. Economic reforms began to take place after this near collapse with the goal of reviving the troubled industry. There has been a remarkable recovery since then. In just 10 years from 1990-1999, cashew nut production went from approximately 29,000 tonnes to 120,000 tonnes. Most recently Tanzania achieves a production of about 300,000 MT. More than eighty-five percent of the farmers are small holder farmers and have an average farm size of 1 hectare. Most farmers are the elderly and rely on manual labour rather than machinery. Most youth from the rural areas prefer to move to the urban areas as cashew farming is less appealing to them. The main production is located in the southern part of the country with Mtwara contributing 70% of the national output in 2011. Over 90% of the national harvest is exported to India for processing. Recently Vietnam also began the purchase of Tanzanian cashew crops. Currently the country has 4 major cashew processors as follows. These four processors do not come close to the national output and there has been government interest to revive and open new processing plants.


Dar es Salaam: Main Conference Location

Dar es Salaam (Dar) (from Arabic: دار السلام‎ Dār as-Salām, "the house of peace"; formerly Mzizima) is the former capital as well as the most populous city in Tanzania and a regionally important economic centre. Located on the Swahili coast, the city is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Until 1974, Dar es Salaam served as Tanzania’s capital city, at which point the capital city commenced transferring to Dodoma, which was officially completed in 1996. Dar es Salaam is the most populous city in Tanzania. With a population increase of 5.6 percent per year from 2002 to 2012, it is the third-fastest-growing city in Africa, after Bamako and Lagos, and the ninth-fastest-growing in the world. Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's most important city for both business and government. Downtown includes small businesses, many of which are run by traders and proprietors whose families originated from the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent—areas of the world with which the settlements of the Tanzanian coast have had long-standing trading relations.

Until the late 1990s, Dar es Salaam was not put into the same category as Africa's leading cities like Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos, or Addis Ababa. But the 2000s decade became the turning point as the city experienced one of Africa's fastest urbanization rates as businesses were opened and prospered, growth in the construction sector with multi-storey building, bridges and roads. Tanzanian banks were headquartered in the city, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange expanded, and the Dar es Salaam harbour proved to be the most important in Tanzania and prominent for entrepot trade with landlocked countries like eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Zambia.



The local currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). Click here to view the exchange rate from TZS to USD.


To receive accurate and up-to-date information on general health information for travelers to Tanzania, please visit for example the UK's National Travel Health Network website.

Please make sure to check if a yellow fever vaccination certificate will be required for your immigration to Tanzania.


Due to close proximity to the equator and the warm Indian Ocean, the city experiences tropical climatic conditions, typified by hot and humid weather throughout much of the year.