Tanzania Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Tanzania: population and cities



According to Countryaah website, Tanzania has about 59 million people who are called Tanzanians. The population trend is increasing because the country is showing remarkable growth. This is already clear from the fertility rate, which according to a Tanzanian woman gives birth to an average of 5.3 children.

Only about 20% of women can use modern contraceptives. Current life expectancy is only 50 years for men and around 52 years for women.

The infant mortality rate in Tanzania is 75 per 1,000 live births, while the maternal mortality rate is 950 per 100,000 births. 44% of the people in Tanzania are under 15 years old. Tanzania has a fairly high mortality rate due to poverty and the high prevalence of AIDS. The 60,000 or so Tanzanians who die every year from (the consequences of) malaria – incidentally also the most common cause of death among children – are also serious.

Ethnic groups

99% of the mainland population are black Africans.

These include the 95% Bantu in the country, who in turn are divided into 130 different ethnic groups. The Sukuma form the largest ethnic group; they make up about 12% of the population. The next largest ethnic groups are the Nyamwezi (9%), the Hehet and Bena (8%), the Haya (7%), the Swahili (6%), the 6% Chagga, who live on Kilimanjaro, and those in the south to be found Makonde.

If you immediately think of the famous Maasai, you will see that they are in the strong minority with just 3%.

In addition to the aforementioned ethnic groups, there are also Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians and Europeans living in Tanzania. Also to be mentioned are the approximately 430,000 refugees who come from Burundi and the approximately 96,000 refugees from theDemocratic Republic of the Congo.


The two main religions of Tanzania are Islam and Christianity – both comprise around 40% of the population. While Islam can be found particularly in the north and in the coastal area of the country and has as many as 98% followers on Zanzibar, in the interior of Tanzania one more likely encounters Christians, especially Roman Catholic. The second and third largest group of Christians are the Lutherans and the Moravians, also known as the Moravian Church. Everywhere in Tanzania there are also followers of traditional African natural religions. Their rites and customs have become interwoven with the ideas of Islam and Christianity. A small Hindu minority also lives in the country.


An officially appointed official language are available in Tanzania not. However, Swahili (or Kiswahili, Kiswahili or Kiunguja in Zanzibar) is the national language that is used for official matters. Tanzania’s first president, Julius Nyerere, designated Swahili as the national language, but never had it officially fixed. However, language is not just a simple means of cross-tribal communication, it is the mother tongue of a large number of people. Otherwise, about 130 languages are found in Tanzania, with about 90% of the people speaking Bantu languages.

In the north of Tanzania one encounters Nilotic, South Cushitic languages as well as the Khoisan dialects Hadza and Sandawe. Arabic is spoken particularly in Zanzibar. English is also spoken in Tanzania, e.g. as the court language of the higher authorities. However, one should not expect people to understand English everywhere, and certainly not in rural areas.

Capital and other cities


Located in the region of the same name, Dodoma is the capital of Tanzania, but with around 800,000 residents it is only the eighth largest city in the country. The city, which is quite poor in terms of sights, was founded in 1907 under German colonial rule and replaced Dar es Salaam as the official capital in 1974. The seat of government is still in Dar. According to Abbreviation Finder, TZA stands for Tanzania in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Dar Es Salaam (also Dar es Salaam, Dar-es-Salam, DSM or Dar)

The “House of Peace”, which is often only briefly called Dar, is Tanzania’s largest city with around 4.5 million residents. Dar Es Salaam acts as the seat of government, is the seat of a Lutheran and a Catholic bishop and is also a university town.

The city is certainly not on the tourist list that every visitor to the country has made for himself. Nevertheless, it has charm and offers deep insights into the culture and lifestyle of the country, especially in the immediate city center.

Tanzania’s financial and economic center, with its heavy traffic, the employees rushing into the offices, the busy representatives and street vendors, is a wonderfully lively place that only becomes quiet again at night when the nightlife shifts from the city center to the residential areas of the metropolis.


Mbeya is one of the ten largest cities in Tanzania with a population of 290,000. The city nestles in the southern highlands at an altitude of 1600 to 1900 meters. Mbeya is dominated by Mount Rungwe, which rises 2,960 meters into the sky. Mbeya is also one of Tanzania’s best places for extensive hikes through forests and mountains.


The district capital of the administrative region of the same name is one of the ten largest cities in Tanzania with around 210,000 residents. The university town of Morogoro spreads out near the Uluguru Mountains and is a supraregional center of the agricultural processing industry.


The city of Mwanza, with a population of around 225,000, is the capital of the region of the same name on Lake Victoria and, due to its central location, one of the most important industrial and economic centers in Tanzania. The city has the Mwanza Lake Victoria International Airport, which also has the longest runway in Tanzania and connects with Dar Es Salaam twice a day. The port of Mwanzas on Lake Victoria is also important. The city, its historical buildings and its beautiful surroundings are extremely interesting for tourists.

Zanzibar City

Zanzibar City is the capital of the island of the same name (also called Unguja) and the seat of government of the semi-autonomous state of Zanzibar, which includes the islands of Pemba and Unguja. About 206,000 people live in the almost purely Muslim city, whose historic center Stone Town (Mji Mkongwe) has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000. The harbor spreads out near the wonderful old town – an almost romantic place full of dhows and ferries to Dar Es Salaam and Pemba. And those who can never get enough of the good old GDR will be happy to find a residential area in Zanzibar City that was built in the 1970s with the help of the GDR and the typical GDR construction method.


About 130,000 people have settled in Tabora, a city founded in the 19th century in the Tanzanian interior, which was once an important place for the caravan trade in East Africa. Today’s capital of the region of the same name doesn’t offer much to see, but not far from the city are the former slave trading station Kwihara (formerly Kazeh) and the local forest reserve Igombe Dam.


Tanga is located on the north coast of the country and is the main port in the country. From here you can easily reach the island of Pemba, the Amani nature reserve, the Amboni caves or the Mkomazi protected area. The city with 225,000 residents may still be remembered by the Germans from the battle of Tanga. Here, in November 1914, the “Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Ostafrika” (Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Ostafrika) triumphed over numerically superior British-Indian units under Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, who was born in Saarlouis.

Tanzania: geography, map

Tanzania is located in the east of Africa on the Indian Ocean. The Tanzanian mainland consists of fertile coastal plains, the high Masai savannah (Serengeti) in the north and the high plateau in the south. The country is crossed by the East African rift valley, the Rift Valley, with many lakes. The islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia off the northeast coast are part of the country’s territory. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Tanzania.

Area and boundaries

Tanzania covers an area of 945,087 km². Thereof:

  • ForestAround 35% of the country is forested and bushland.
  • Meadow and pasture landAround 38% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
  • Fields and fieldsAround 5% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for growing cotton, coffee, sisal, tea and cashew nuts.

The country shares a border with the following eight states:

  • Burundiwith a length of 451 km
  • Democratic Republic of the Congowith a length of 459 km
  • Kenyawith a length of 769 km
  • Malawiwith a length of 475 km
  • Mozambiquewith a length of 756 km
  • Rwandawith a length of 217 km
  • Ugandawith a length of 396 km
  • Zambiawith a length of 338 km.

Tidal range in Tanzania

In Tanzania, the mean tidal range is around 2 to 3 m.

For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Tanzania extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ) and is therefore completely in the tropics:

Δφ = from 01 ° to 12 ° south Δλ = from 029 ° 30 ‘to 040 ° 30’ east

You can find detailed information on this subject under: Geographical longitude and latitude.

Legal time

For Tanzania, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET). A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET:

Δt (CET) = + 2 h

More detailed explanations of the time can be found under: Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Dodoma

Dodoma, the capital of the country, lies at a southern latitude of around φ = 06 °.

If the declination δ of the sun has the value 06 ° S, and thus the image point of the sun is above the city, the sun is perpendicular there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 24 days before March 21st and 24 days after September 21st.


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination δ is north of the latitude of Dodoma, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.

Mountains and Kilimanjaro


The highest mountain in the country is Kilimanjaro with a height of 5,895 m. It is also the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. The mountain entered world literature through Ernest Hemingway’s novella “Snow on Kilimanjaro”. The novel was made into a film in 1952 with Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner and Hildegard Knef in the leading roles. Other high mountains are:

  • Mawensiwith 5,355 m
  • Meruwith 4,567m
  • Loolmalasinwith an altitude of 3,648 m.


The longest river in the country is the Rovuma with a length of around 1,100 km. Other rivers in the country are:

  • Malagarasi
  • Pangani
  • Ruaha
  • Rufifi

Lakes, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika Lake

Tanganyika is located in the west of Tanzania. In the middle of most of the lake lies the border between Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With a maximum depth of 1,470 m and an average depth of around 570 m, it is the second deepest lake in the world – and the deepest in all of Africa. It covers an area of around 32,893 km², making it the second largest lake in Africa. Its water volume is 18,900 km³. Its length is around 670 km and its width varies between around 40 and 75 km. The lake lies in the East African rift system – the tectonic fracture zone in East Africa.

In addition to Tanzania, the lake belongs to the following countries:

Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia. With 45% and 41%, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania take by far the largest part of the lake. The Ruzizi River, only around 105 km long, is the main inflow of the lake and the only outflow of the East African Kiwu Lake. The only outflow of the lake is the 350 km long Lukuga, which flows into the Lualaba, a source river of the.

The Lukuga leaves the lake in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the western end of Tanzania lies the city of Kigoma, with a population of 120,000. There is an almost grotesque story about the former German ship called “Liemba”, which is still in service here. During the First World War, the 70 m long ship was welded together under its then name “Graf Goetzen” by the shipyard of Joseoh Lambert Meyer in Papenburg and then dismantled and then shipped to Africa and reassembled at the lake. The gunboat ruled the lake until 1916. So that it did not fall into enemy hands, the commander received the order to sink the ship. The ship was then also sunk – but well greased and near the shore so that it could be lifted later.

Lake Victoria The largest lake in Tanzania is Lake Victoria with an area of 68,870 km². After the Caspian Sea and Lake Superior in America (USA/Canada), it is the third largest lake in the world and the largest lake in Africa. The main tributary of the lake is the Kagera Nile, which flows into the lake in the northwest on the border with Uganda. The main outflow – to the north of the lake in Uganda – is the Victoria Nile.

The water volume of the lake is 2,770 km³ – with a maximum depth of 85 m. Approximately in its middle, the lake borders Uganda in the north of the country over a length of around 250 km. Kenya only takes up a small part of the northeast of the lake. While Lake Tanganyika has a tubular shape, the Victoriasse appears more rectangular. The largest island in the lake is Ukerewe in Tanzania – with an area of 560 km². Hippos and around 550 species of freshwater fish live on or in the lake. Other larger lakes in Tanzania are:

  • Lake Malawi (formerly Lake Nyassa) with an area of 29,600 km²
  • Rukwa Lakewith an area of 2,640 km²
  • Eyasi Lakeand Lake Natron.


The following islands are in front of the country:


The island of Mafia is located in the south of Zanzibar and covers an area of 518 km². The archipelago is protected by large reefs and is a paradise for divers, anglers and snorkelers. In 1995 the archipelago was declared Tanzania’s first water protection park. The island is separated from the mainland by the 17 km wide Mafia Canal. In the sea around the island you can find whale sharks, sea turtles and humpback whales in addition to the numerous “reef residents”. Colonies of flying foxes can be observed on the small mafia island of Chole.

Kome Island

Kome Island is located on the south bank of Lake Victoria and has a size of 138 km².


The island of Pemba is located north of Zanzibar and covers an area of 984 km² – with around 350,000 residents. The island was called “Al Khuthera” by Arabic traders, which means “the green island”. The island offers peace and quiet for inner contemplation. The island is considered a center for traditional healing arts and for the voodoo cult. But divers and snorkelers also get their money’s worth here. The island with its white beaches and colorful reefs has only opened to tourism for a few years. In 2009 the island only welcomed 10,000 visitors. The island can be reached by plane from Zanzibar or by speedboat from Zanzibar City to Mkoni on Pemba. The rainy season runs from mid-March to mid-May. The hottest time is from December to February.


The island covers an area of 1,658 km² and was once owned by the Sultan of Oman and is evidence of an ancient culture. Nowadays it is an autonomous part of Tanzania. About 1 million people live here. In Europe, the island was long known as “the” island of spices, which it still is today, from here cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper are exported all over the world. On the island are the Jozani Forests, which are part of the Jozani Chwaka Nature Reserve. The red colobus monkey, for example, lives here.

Indian Ocean

Tanzania borders the Indian Ocean for around 1,425 km.

Tanzania Population