As it's presently our first rainy season of the summer , I've been taking photos of puddles, of reflections in the puddles and also of the vast bodies of water across the road as we ride through the bush. Last Thursday we had a downpour of 35mm. On Saturday night after we'd finished our BBQ and the visitors had left, the heavens opened and we had a tropical storm which seemed to last the whole night. The next morning Grant measured 58mm in the pit. The rainy season was upon us!
Tanzania lies 33° south of the equator and on the whole enjoys a tropical climate, except in the high mountains (like Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru) where temperatures can get below freezing, especially at night.
Along the coast (Dar es Salaam), it stays quite hot and humid with heavy and reliable rainfall especially during the rainy season.
Tanzania has two rainy seasons. Generally the heaviest rains (called masika) usually fall from mid-March to May and a shorter period of rain (called mvuli) from November to mid-January. The dry season, with cooler temperatures, lasts from May to October.
|Mwadui, where we live, is 160km southwest of Mwanza
Tanzania is in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique.
Tanzania's land boundaries are: Burundi 451 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 459 km, Kenya 769 km, Malawi 475 km, Mozambique 756 km, Rwanda 217 km, Uganda 396 km and Zambia 338 km.
Tanzania at 945,087 sq km, is more than twice the size of California, US. The terrain consists of plains along coast, a central plateau with highlands in the north and south. The climate varies from tropical along coast to temperate in the highlands. Tanzania's lowest point is at the Indian Ocean, 0 m; its highest point is Africa's highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro standing at 5,895 m. Tanzania is bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north; Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west; and Lake Nyasa (Malawi) in the southwest.
Just over 36.5 million people live in Tanzania. Life expectancy is around 44 years. Birth rate is on average 5.15 per woman. 8% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS. Literacy rate is just over 78%.
Languages spoken in Tanzania are Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguju (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education) and Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar) as well as many local languages.
Note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania. Although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources, including Arabic and English, and it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa. The first language of most people is one of the local languages.
Mainland - native African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab). Zanzibar - Arab, native African, mixed Arab and native African.
The religion on the mainland is: Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 35%. Zanzibar is more than 99% Muslim.
Shortly after independence, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Zanzibar's semi-autonomous status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers' claims of voting irregularities.
Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for about half of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's out-of-date economic infrastructure and to alleviate poverty.
Growth in 1991-2002 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals, led by gold. Oil and gas exploration and development played an important role in this growth. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private sector growth and investment. Continued donor assistance and solid macroeconomic policies supported real GDP growth of more than 5.2% in 2004.
On a personal note, I have found that the Tanzanians are the most polite and friendly people I've met across Africa. They are very hard-working, very helpful and eager to please. I could wax lyrical here giving examples, but as my post is very long now, I will write about this at a later date.
For the last posts of Our World Tuesday, 2013, please click here to access .
HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY BLOG FOLLOWERS. MAY 2014 BE THE BEST EVER