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Tanzania -- Geography

Mainland: 362,340 square kilometers
Zanzibar : 1660 square kilometers
Total: 364,000 square kilometers. East Africa's largest country.

Geographic Location
Bordered on the west by Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire, on the east by the Indian Ocean, on the north by Kenya and Uganda, on the southwest by Zambia, on the south by Mozambique & Malawi, Tanzania lies between latitudes 10 to 110 45' South, and longitudes 290 20' to 400 38' East.

Physical Description
Tanzania is located immediately south of the Equator. The coast consists of long sandy beaches protected by coral reefs. The average elevation of the land is 1000 m/33000 ft. The country is topographically varied. There are high grasslands and mountain ranges near the coast and to the south; the Rift Valley branches around Lake Victoria (North), where there are several high volcanic peaks, notably Mt. Kilimanjaro (5895 m/19340 ft); the extensive Serengeti plain stretches to the West; the eastern branch of the Rift Valley runs from northeast of Lake Victoria, containing several lakes; the western branch runs south down the west side of Lake Victoria and forms Lake Tanganyika and Lake Rukwa. The coast and offshore islands have a hot and humid tropical climate with an average annual rainfall over 1000 mm/40 inches. The climate is hot and dry on the Plateau, where the average annual rainfall is 250 mm/10in. At altitudes above 1500 m/5000 ft, the climate is semi-temperate. There is permanent snow on the peaks of Tanzania's mountains.

Cultivation in most of Tanzania is limited by poor soils, lack of water, and the tsetse fly. Two thirds of the country is too dry or too wet to sustain high agricultural productivity. Most of the soils are insufficiently fertile or unready for use. Farming is difficult in the coastal areas and islands because the soils are predominantly coralline and sandy. Soils on the eastern and central plateaus contain even fewer of the nutrients necessary for good farming. Even the fertile valleys present problems because their heavy and moist earth requires thorough drainage and mechanized tools for effective cultivation. Nearly 90% of the mainland is covered by a savanna of grass, bushes, and trees that is difficult and expensive to clear. More than half the country is infested with the tsetse fly, which transmits sleeping sickness to humans and animals. When these problems are taken into consideration, only about 35% of Tanzania's land is suitable for cultivation.

Lake Manyara is located in the Rift Valley, about 120 km southwest of Arusha. Lake Nysa is the third largest lake in Africa, with a length of 576 km and an average width of 48 km. It lies 493 meters above sea level, with a maximum depth of 695 meters. It contains at least 200 species of fish. Lake Rukwa lies in the southernmost part of East Africa's Rift Valley. It is about 795 meters above sea level and about 32 km long. Lake Tanganyika: the world's longest freshwater lake, it is 677 km long, with an average width of 50 km and a total area of 32,900 sq. km. It is the world's second deepest lake, with a depth of 1433 meters; it marks the lowest point in Africa, at 358 meters below sea level. Tanzania claims 13,390 sq. km of the lake. The lands surrounding the lake have a long history of human settlement. In ancient times, various African peoples, including the Ha, the Jiji, and the Nyamwezi, settled along the lake. Around 1820, an Arab trading caravan crossed the lake. In 1857, Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke reached on expeditions to the hinterland. By 1914, the German Railway had reached Kigoma on its eastern shore. During the British colonial rule, the East African Railways and Harbors Administration operated shipping services on the lake, primarily between Kigoma and ports now located in Burundi and Zaire.
Lake Victoria (Nyanza) is the source of the world's longest river, the Nile. It is the largest freshwater lake in Africa, with an area of about 70,260 km and coastline perimeter of more than 3,200 km; it is 1115 above sea level and about 352 km in diameter. Lake Victoria is quite shallow with a maximum depth of fewer than 90 meters. The lake's soil is suitable for heavy cultivation. In recent years, however, a number of problems have brought the lake to the brink of ecological disaster.

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