(United Republic of Tanzania,
Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania)
• Location: Eastern Africa
• Capital: Dodoma
• Language: English, Swahili
• Population: 42,746,622
• Total Area: 947,300 sq km
• Currency: Tanzanian shilling
• Curious Alcohol Fact: On mainland Tanzania, alcohol is freely consumed and available but the same cannot be said of the island of Zanzibar which is predominantly inhabited by Muslims.
• Annual Average Liquor Consumption: 6.75 liters
• Most Popular Drink: Konyagi, Safari Lager, Tusker
Tanzania is one of the most enchanting nations in Africa. Many people across the world know it as the land of the majestic Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain on the continent, the fascinating Serengeti National Park and the breath-taking Zanzibar Island. There are 26 states in the country and each state is called a mikoa. The nation was colonized by Britain and got independence in 1961. Interestingly, the name ‘Tanzania’ was coined from Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which joined to form the United Republic in 1964. The climate is tropical and since it is located adjacent to the Indian Ocean, there are numerous beaches that attract tourists from all over the globe.
Tanzanians belong to more than 130 different ethnic groups but it is interesting to know that most of them have Bantu origin. These include the Chaggas, Sukuma, Gogo, Nyamwezi, Bena and many others. There is also a sizeable population of Indians, Arabs, Pakistanis and Chinese but are mainly found on the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar. It was also exciting to know that Swahili was spoken in all parts of the country and as a national language; it serves as a uniting factor. Some of the best writers in the world are from Tanzania, and that includes Godfrey Mwakikagile and Juma Volter Mwapachu.
As I went round the mikoas (states), I was treated to some of the most delicious meals on the continent. Tanzanians are known for preparing exotic dishes, and an example of such is the tasty nyama choma. This is meat that has been grilled or barbequed, and it is always garnished with spices. If you visit many of the villages and hamlets, you are most likely going to be welcomed with the nyama choma. The ugali is also consumed widely in the country. It is a crusty meal prepared from maize or millet. In one of the canteens in Dar es Salaam, I enjoyed a meal of ugali served with steaming vegetable soup full of beef and fish. On the island of Zanzibar, the meals were based on seafood and you can also order Indian or Pakistani foods. Eating in Tanzania is a wonderful experience.
For a nation that is as vibrant as Tanzania, it is not a surprise that there are various types of drinks. Some of the most popular drinks include the konyagi, which is made locally and is consumed all over the nation. It is relatively cheap and easy to make. Another variant of the konyagi is the muratina and you can get it at any of the local bars. In other places, the Safari Lager is also very popular and is widely consumed. For those who do not drink alcohol, there are soft drinks (especially Coca Cola) and fresh fruit juice.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the nation and the national team is nicknamed the ‘Taifa Stars’. Apart from football, other sports in the country include athletics, rugby, cricket and basketball. You can even take time to play with the local football club or be the referee for a game.
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria)
Daniel Krasnopolsky (Woodmere, NY, USA)
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