Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site, 1987), Tanzania. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Photo by: Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

Tanzania: Beyond the Wildlife

By: Janet Lee

Most people know that Tanzania is home of the Serengeti and an amazing diversity of wildlife. The country is made up of 430 species of wildlife and 17 national parks. But did you know that it’s where 51 million people call home as well?

Tanzania - Home of the Serengeti 01:11

The home of the Serengeti, Tanzania leads East Africa in geographic diversity. The country has 430 species of wildlife and 17 national parks. What’s more impressive is Tanzanian culture. The nation is home to 51 million people from over 100 different ethnic groups.

Here are 6 not-so-known facts about Tanzania that go beyond its natural reserves.

1. Tanzania is home to 51 million people from 125 ethnic groups.

Tanzania’s official languages are Swahili and English, but according to Ethnologue, 127 languages are spoken across the country - 60 are in active use, and 20 are in development. Ethnic languages are of Bantu and Nilotic origins.

2. Tanzania was found by the unification of two East African countries.

The United Republic of Tanzania was established by the union of two former British colonies Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The 1964 agreement was signed by the first Tanganyika President Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and the first Zanzibar President Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume.

3. The name Serengeti derives from the Maasai word siringet.

The Maasai, one of 162 tribes residing in Tanzania, referred to the open lands of the Serengeti as siringet meaning “the place where the land runs on forever.”

4. Dar es Salaam is the largest Swahili-speaking city in the world.

Tanzania’s former capital Dar es Salaam is the nation’s most populous city with 4.4 million people. Located off of the Swahili Coast, this city not only has the busiest port but also attracts tourists visiting the Indian Ocean islands.

5. Tanzania shares its national anthem with other African countries.

“Mungu Ibariki Afrika” is the national anthem of Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The title in Swahili translates to God bless Africa.

6. The tallest mountain in Africa sits in Tanzania.

Tanzania is also the home of Mount Kilimanjaro. This dormant volcano, sitting 5,895 meters above sea level, sees more than 30,000 hikers each year, who spend between five to nine days to reach the summit.

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