Tanzania Should be on Your Bucket List

And today, I am going to tell you some of the reasons why. I have a feeling this is a two-part post, so fascinating is this country and her people. In fact, a friend of mine told me recently that she read somewhere that Tanzania made the list for the 21 things you should do in 2015. It would surely help if I could remember the particular list, where it was published, and even which friend it was, but I can’t. So you’ll have to take my word for it.

Although the people are the reason I came back, we’ll start with the basic country info first. Tanzania has the tallest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro; the second largest lake in the world, Victoria; the second deepest lake in the world, Tanganyika; the Serengeti, the Ngorogoro Crater (caldera, really), and some of the Rift Valley. An astonishing 25% of its total land is allotted to wildlife conservation and you can find not only the “Big Five” but also the “Magnificent Seven,” which includes the five- lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino and elephant- and adds the endangered wild dog and chimpanzee. Of course you’ll also find zebra, giraffe, several types of gazelles and antelopes, crocodiles and countless other animal species, including an incredible selection of amazing birds. Tanzania also has a 500 mile coastline, so there are whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, and an amazing assortment of tropical fish.

Although Ethiopia currently claims the title of Cradle of Mankind, you can go to Oldupai Gorge and see the Leakey’s work. (Yes, when we were growing up and until recently, it was Olduvai Gorge. That has been revealed to be a misspelling on the part of colonial translators.) It was in this area that Mary Leakey discovered the remains of pre-homo-sapien peoples who walked upright and lived here 3.7 million years ago. The Ngorogoro Crater gave us remains of the hominids Australopithcus boisei, also known as Nutcracker Man, and Homo Habilis, Handy Man, who lived almost 2 million years ago.

Arab traders arrived 2,000 years ago; the Portuguese, 1,500 years later, and the British one hundred years after the Portuguese. There are fascinating explorers, Burton, Speke, Livingstone, and Stanley, whose time in Tanzania, for better or worse, provides for some amazing stories. They came for a variety of reasons: mission work and finding the source of the Nile among the two most prevalent. (I’ve recently read terrific biographies of Livingstone, Speke, and Burton. Maybe in the next post, I’ll remember the names to recommend.) Many of their travels began and ended in Tanzania.

More tomorrow. (I hope)

Trivia Quiz- The Tanzanite, which you will surely hear more about, the beautiful stone found only in Tanzania, was first named Tanzanite by what American Company? Bonus question what was it called before that?

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4 Responses to Tanzania Should be on Your Bucket List

  1. tarnyamartin says:

    Thank you this was helpful, Tanzania is on my ‘to do list 2016’.


  2. Charlcie Fielding says:

    Neat stuff! Thanks, Judy!


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