Tanzania Geography

Natural space and climate

Tanzania is located in the (core) tropics of East Africa. However, only the narrow coastal strip along the Indian Ocean, which also includes Dar es Salaam, is tropical hot and humid. The temperature and rain conditions here are very different from, for example, Mwanza, the second largest city in Tanzania, which is located on Lake Victoria and where the climate is closer to the national average. Much of the mainland is characterized by a high plateau (approx. 1,100 m) with a moderate climate.

According to areacodesexplorer, Tanzania is part of the African Great grave breakage (Great Rift Valley), the East African Rift extends centrally through the country where he cuts through the plateau impressive, and the Central African trench marks the boundary of the Western country. Along these tectonic fracture zones, volcanic mountains formed – with Kilimanjaro (5,895 m, highest mountain in Africa) – and lakes – such as Lake Tanganyika (up to 1,470 m, the second deepest lake on earth). The volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai (= “God’s mountain” in the Maasai language) in the Arusha region last erupted in 2007.

Tanzania has designated more than a quarter of its land area as protected areas: In the national parks you can experience the largely untouched primeval landscape of mankind, which exerts a great attraction on visitors from all over the world. Four protected areas have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List: Kilimanjaro National Park (1987), Ngorongoro Conservation Area (1979), Selous Game Reserve (1982) and Serengeti National Park (1981).

The uniquely rich biodiversity of animals distinguishes Tanzania as a travel destination. But in recent years there have been increasing reports of dwindling populations of animal species, such as B. elephants, giraffes and rhinos. The main reasons for this are the increasing spread of humans into the habitat of animals, illegal hunting and poaching, which among other things also serves the production of traditional medicine.

The “Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority” (TAWA) founded in October 2015 is supposed to deal with these problems and centralize the protection of species and the sustainable use of resources in Tanzania. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism is advised by GIZ on this.

Precipitation during the rainy seasons is characterized by a very high variability, which repeatedly poses existential problems for the population, more than 80% of whom live from agriculture. The typical vegetation form of the natural area in Tanzania is the dry savannah, but there are also other savannah forms (thorn bush savannah, wet savannah), mangrove swamps (coast) and isolated forests.

There are numerous mineral resources beneath the surface in Tanzania, the mining of which has become very important in recent years – this applies in particular to the gold and diamond deposits in the north-west and west of the country, but also to nickel and uranium. However, environmentalists warn of the risks of uranium mining, especially for the Selous Game Reserve, where the largest deposits are suspected. Furthermore, large helium deposits were discovered on the edge of the East African rift valley, which was released from magma by volcanic activity.

Dry savannah in Tanzania

Climate change

The loss of ice and snow on the Kilimanjaro, the symbol of Tanzania, is an obvious result of the global for many climate scientists global warming. In addition, there is extensive mangrove and coral death in the coastal areas.

The drought in East Africa in 2017 also had a devastating effect on over a million people in rural areas of Tanzania, who suffered from the crop failure and were thus deprived of their livelihoods. Tanzania increasingly has to adapt to extreme climatic events such as floods and droughts and take adaptation measures.

The Ministry of the Environment has therefore set itself the task of implementing an efficient climate protection policy in order to counter the effects of climate change. Both Zanzibar and the mainland have each drawn up a strategic plan against climate change.

As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Tanzania presented its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Contributions (INDCs). It is planned to reduce greenhouse gases nationwide by 10-20% by 2030. However, this is dependent on financial support from the international community. In the area of adaptation to climate change, the government has taken various measures in agriculture, the energy sector, coastal protection and the use of water resources. In addition, a number of legislative initiatives and introduced guidelines that directly affect climate change, but also address issues such as disaster control, renewable energies and the protection of the natural environment. One example of these efforts is the REDD + climate protection initiative for the reforestation of forests or decentralized approaches to electrifying Tanzania through renewable energies. International donors are of great importance for the Tanzanian environmental protection, as 90% of the money comes from abroad. But civil society is also committed to climate protection and is working above all to raise awareness in society and politics.

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