Expansive and beautiful, Tanzania lies just south of the equator. Its island dotted eastern border is the Indian Ocean. To the north are Kenya and Uganda. To the west, Lakes Victoria & Tanganyika. To the south, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. It encompasses 386,000 Square miles, an area roughly equal to Texas and New Mexico combined.
From sea level to the top of 19,340 foot Mt. Kilimanjaro (highest in Africa), Tanzania offers an unusually diverse topography. The Maasai Steppe, rising to about 4500 feet in elevation, is a flat, semi-arid area from which large volcanoes rise - Kilimanjaro, Meru and the Ngorongoro Highlands.
In 1890, the country called Tanganyika became a protectorate of German East Africa. It remained under German rule until after World War I, when the country landed under British rule until its independence in 1961. Three years later, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the United Republic of Tanzania. To this day, Tanzania remains one of the most stable countries in Africa.
Populated by more than 100 tribes, the best known in northern Tanzania are the industrious Wachagga, who cultivate coffee and banana farms on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the Maasai, who herd cattle through large areas of the northern steppe country.
Tanzania has set aside about 25 percent of its land for wildlife and forest reserves, one of the highest percentages in the world. These National Parks contain close to 100 different species of animals and over 1,000 species birds have been recorded. About 2 percent of Tanzania's gross national product is spent on wildlife conservation.