By the beginning of this year I took on a journey across Africa. I spent nearly five months on the continent and Tanzania was my last stop. I crossed into the country from Zambia by land and Mbeya marked my first halt. From there I moved on to Daressalam, Arusha, Karatu and then I spent the last few days in Zanzibar. I fell in love with the country during the trip. A decisive factor is the set of beliefs and cultures that forms the people of this country. But also the flora and fauna is beautiful and personally, I also admire the wide variety of food and different cuisines. I decided to use those three factors to structure my post and to give you a glimpse of Tanzania.
Religious And Cultural Diversity
A third of the country identifies itself as Christians, the second third as Muslims and the last one practices one of the country’s many indigenous religions. I visited Tanzania during Ramadan – the month where Muslims fast. During the fast it is prohibited to smoke, drink or eat in public in the whole of Zanzibar. As implied, I spent a good 10 days in Zanzibar. According to various sources, 99% of its population are Muslims. It was a unique and memorizing experience, especially as there is currently a massive debate in regards to Islam. I personally learnt that Muslims are very peaceful, lovable and respectful people. They respect your own religion e.g. culture and, more importantly, are non-violent. In contrast to Zanzibar, the mainland of Tanzania is one colourful painting. Depending on which area of the country you stay at, there is either a domination of Christians or Muslims. In rural areas Muslims are more present, but generally speaking, especially in cities, it is one mixed scene. I am also certain that there are other religions such as Hindus in Tanzania, because there is a big Indian community in Daressalam. As for most African countries, Tanzania is home to many tribes. In fact, the country is home to over 120 tribes and every single has its own culture. I had the privilege to visit three tribes and I learnt a lot that we humans, living in a modern society, have forgotten: on how to live with nature, how to treat others and also what simplicity means.
Flora & Fauna
The flora and fauna are the contributing factors Tanzania is most known and beloved for. In contrast to most tourists, I didn’t take part in a Safari or visited the Kilimanjaro. In fact, the visit was dedicated to the people of this amazing country and not the flora and fauna. I decided to put that aside for my next visit. Nevertheless, I saw many beautiful landscapes. From perfect white sandy beaches with crystal clear water and stunning coral reefs, to forests and even snow. My personal favourite was Mnemba Island. The island is beautiful and the surrounding coral reefs are magnificent. The water was deep turquoise, but still crystal clear. It was a great experience to snorkel in.
I should first mention that I eat a plant based diet. Visiting a country near the equator always gets me particularly excited for food as those are tropical countries. So the range of fresh fruits and vegetables is simply outstanding. Coconuts, mangoes, bananas, papayas, avocados and passion fruits – just to name a few of my favourites. Also, most dishes in the Swahili cuisine are coconut milk based. Therefore, it was rather easy to find enough, and more importantly, good quality food. Furthermore, Zanzibar is a place formed by many different nations such as Persia, India and Arabia and the cuisine expresses that in the most perfect way. I was treated with the most delicious Swahili, Indian and Arabic cuisine while I was there.
This blog post is a base to give you an idea of Tanzania. I could probably write a book about the country, but this is not my intention. As I already mentioned, I genuinely love the country and its people. It is often said and written that the people are Tanzania’s true capital. I think this sums it up pretty well and I am most definitely looking forward to visit the country again.
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Hope you had a good read!