Tanzania is a country found in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Comoros, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the tallest mountain in Africa is located in Tanzania at the border with Kenya in the northeastern part of the country. The country’s terrain is mountainous and is covered by dense forest particularly in the region near Mount Kilimanjaro.
Three of Africa's Great Lakes are within the territory of Tanzania, and Lake Victoria, which is the largest lake in Africa, lies in the northwest of the country where it shares with Kenya and Uganda. In the southern part of the country lies Lake Malawi which it shares with the neighboring state of Malawi. The Eastern region of the country is humid and hot.
Climate in Tanzania
Tanzania has a topography which varies regionally, and it experiences a tropical climate. Highlands in the country experience temperatures that range between 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the cold season and 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the hot season. Other parts of the country receive temperatures that hardly fall below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest months in the year runs from November to February where temperatures vary from 77.0 to 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and the coldest months extends from May to August and temperatures range from 59 degrees Fahrenheit to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) drives the seasonal rainfall which migrates seasonally in the country. The Intertropical Convergence zone affects the rain in the Southern part of Tanzania between October and December and reaches the southern part of the country by January and February, and it returns northwards again in March, April, and May. The seasonal changes cause the northern and the eastern part of the country to experience two different rainy seasons of the short rains experienced between October and December and the long rains experienced from March to May. On the other hand, the southern, central, and western parts of the country experience the wet season that extends to October through April and May
Geography of Tanzania
Tanzania spans an area of 364,900 square miles, and it is home to numerous geographical features that dot across the country, such as lakes, national parks, mountains, plateaus, and Highlands. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and it is the highest point in the country reaching a height of 19,341 feet above sea level. Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcanic mountain and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Other mountains found in Tanzania include Mount Meru in the northeastern part of the country, and it is an active volcanic mountain. There are also the Pare and Usambara mountain ranges.
On the western part of the mountain ranges is the Gregory Rift which forms part of the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. At the bottom of the Great Rift Valley are numerous large Lakes which include Lake Norton, Lake Eyasi, and Lake Manyara. Also within the Rift Valley, there are crater highlands such as the Ngorongoro Crater and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Located on the southern part of Lake Natron is Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai, which stand at 10,459 feet high and it is the only active volcano in the world which produces natrocarbonatite lava. While on the western part of the crater highlands is the famous Serengeti National Park which is home to different kinds of animals such as the buffalos, rhinos, elephants, leopards, and lions, as well as the white-bearded wildebeest which migrate annually in millions from Serengeti national park in Tanzania to Masai Mara national park in Kenya.
On the southeastern part of the park lies the Olduvai Gorge which is a place where the fossils of the oldest hominid were discovered. The central part of the country is part of the more immense East African plateau stretching to the neighboring countries. In the southern parts of the country which is still covered by the plateau is made up of grassland which is still part of the East Miombo woodlands ecoregion.
In the southern and central part of the country just below the equator is the region where the tropical cyclones are prevalent although the storms do not affect much of the northern part of the country. Cyclones are common in parts of Zanzibar and Dar-es-salaam. Occasionally they are also felt in the southern coast particularly near Mtwara and Lindi, which could also be affected by the cyclones originating from nearby Comoros. Typically, the storms are experienced in the country starting from late December and lasting up to mid-April.
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is the largest city and the commercial capital in Tanzania. Typically, the city experiences humid conditions throughout the year and rainfall is common evening during the dry season. The precipitation in the city is more reliable during the rainy season than it is on the mainland. There are heavy downpours in the afternoons which are typically brief and sometimes accompanied by sunny weather. During the hot months, which run from December to March, the humidity is often replaced by the cooling breeze from the ocean which makes Dar es Salaam the most pleasant place to visit and relax. The temperatures in the city of the Dar es Salaam are almost identical to those of other coastal cities and Islands like Zanzibar and Pemba.
Kigoma is a Port town located at the shores of Lake Tanganyika and the city together with the surrounding area experience is hot weather which characterizes most western part of the country. The temperatures are typically stable throughout and the highest temperatures averages about 82 degrees Fahrenheit while the lowest temperatures average about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall in the region follows the same pattern as other parts of the country with the most torrential rain from November to April. On the other hand, the driest month in this part of the country would be in June, July, and August.
Effects of Climate Change
Tanzania is among the countries that have been adversely affected by the effects of climate change like the recurring droughts and recurring floods. Tanzania would bear the most substantial burden in East Africa if there was massive flooding which would affect infrastructure currently estimated at $5.30 billion in Dar es Salaam alone, which is home to more than 4.5 million inhabitants. The government of Tanzania in collaboration with the World Bank and the British Department of International Development are currently working to find means of cushioning people from disasters related to weather such as trying to identify the flood-prone regions and drawing up preparedness program.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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