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Ten reasons as to why Tanzania should not be poor

When I was young, I used to ask myself why some kids I attended school with never wore shoes of clean and new uniforms. As I grew up I came to realise that it was because they could not afford to buy these things, their parents were struggling to feed them and they did not have enough money left to buy them nice clothes and shoes. Well, I was lucky because my parents could afford all those things, but my heart always went out for those kids whose parents could not afford these things.

While I was still wrapping my head around the fact that Tanzania is a poor country and that's why most of my schoolmates could not afford most of the stuffs, my Geography and History teachers were busy teaching us how Tanzania is blessed with natural resources and Historical sites. I remember being taught that the highest mountain in Africa (4th highest summit in the world) is in Tanzania, three out of ten  largest fresh water lakes in the world are in Tanzania, Mineral deposits scattered all over the country. Presence of greatest game reserves and National parks in the world, and so many other stuffs.

So basically my teachers taught me that Tanzania is a beautiful country blessed by God with so many resources. Then from there, I was officially confused. I still am actually, so if there's anyone who can remind me "Why is Tanzania among the poorest nations in the world again?" including the fact that we have all of the following;

1. Lake Tanganyika

Divided between Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (45%), Tanzania (41%) and Zambia, Tanganyika is the deepest freshwater lake in Africa and the second deepest in the world with a maximum depth of 4,823 feet. The lake was "mistakenly" discovered in 1858 by two British explorers, Richard Burton and John Speke, in their quest to find the Nile's source

Lake Tanganyika From Space

2. Lake Victoria

With a surface area of 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropical lake in the world. Lake Victoria is the world's third largest freshwater lake by surface area (only Lake Michigan–Huron and Lake Superior in North America are larger). In terms of its volume, Lake Victoria is the world's eighth largest continental lake, and it contains about 2,750 cubic kilometers (2.2 billion acre-feet) of water.Lake Victoria supports Africa's largest inland fishery

Lake Victoria From Space

3. Lake Nyasa

The lake Nyasa (Nyasa means "lake") is located at the south-west of Tanzania,  The lake lies in three countries' territory; Tanzania and Malawi. However, it is bordered by three countries, Tanzania , Malawi and Mozambique. It is the third largest in Africa (after Lake Victoria and lake Tanganyika)  with 550 kilometers length and 75 kilometers width,  covering an area of more than 11,400 square kilometers. In some parts,  the lake is as deep as 700 meters. This lake, the third largest in Africa and the eighth largest lake in the world, is located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. It is the second deepest lake in Africa, although its placid northern shore gives no hint of its depth. This great lake's tropical waters are reportedly the habitat of more species of fish than those of any other body of freshwater on Earth, including more than 1000 species of cichlids.

The lake lies  in the sided walls of mountain ranges: the forested Livingston Mountains and Nyika Plateau, which provide the magnificent view of the lake from far and the landscape for hikers and backpackers. Lake Nyasa is also among the Great Rift Valley's lakes, which shares some of the characteristics with lake Tanganyika.  The lake has a distinctive characteristic: 14 rivers pouring their waters into the lake, and only one river which flows out to the sea, River Shire.             
Lake Nyasa

4. Mountain Kilimanjaro

Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest free standing mountain in the world, the highest mountain in Africa and the fourth highest of the Seven Summits. Mount Kilimanjaro is situated entirely in Northern Tanzania, 340 km South of Equator. Its highest point, Uhuru Peak, majestically rises to an altitude of 5,895 m (19,341 feet), and is commonly nicknamed: the Roof of Africa. Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones, three main peaks: Kibo 5,895 m (19,341 feet); Mawenzi 5,149 m (16,893 feet); and Shira 3,962 m (13,000 feet).

5. Olduvai Gorge 

Olduvai Gorge, the archaeological site also known as "The Cradle of Mankind”, is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches through eastern Africa. It is in the eastern Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania and is about 48 km (30 mi) long. It is located 45 km from the Laetoli archaeological site. The name is a misspelling of Oldupai Gorge, which was adopted as the official name in 2005. Oldupai is the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant Sansevieria ehrenbergii, which grows in the gorge.

Olduvai Gorge is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world and has been instrumental in furthering the understanding of early human evolution. This site was occupied by homo habilis approximately 1.9 million years ago, Paranthropus boisei 1.8 million years ago, and Homo erectus 1.2 million years ago. Homo sapiens are dated to have occupied the site 17,000 years ago.

This site is also significant in showing increased developmental and social complexities in hominins. Evidence of this is shown in the production and use of stone tools, which indicates the increase in cognitive capacities. There is also evidence indicating the practices of both scavenging and hunting, which is highlighted by the evidence of gnaw marks predating cut marks, and comparisons on percentages of meat versus plant in the early hominid diet. Furthermore, the collection of tools and animal remains in a central area is evidence of increases in social interaction and communal activity.

Olduvai Gorge

6. Ngorongoro Crater

The famous Ngorongoro Crater is a World Heritage Site situated at the eastern edge of the Serengeti in northern Tanzania. The crater is the largest unbroken ancient caldera in the world. Nearly three million years old, the once-volcanic Ngorongoro is now considered “Africa’s Garden of Eden” – a haven for thousands of wild game, including lions, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, rhinos, Thomson’s gazelles and buffaloes.

Ngorongoro crater map

The crater is ringed with steep walls and shelters forests, grasslands, fresh springs and a large soda lake at its centre. The Ngorongoro volcano before it exploded and collapsed 2 million years ago, was one of the world’s tallest mountains. The crater measures about 19 kilometres (12 miles) across and the rim is 600 metres (2,000 feet) above the crater floor.

7. wild animals (National parks, game reserves) 

Tanzania national parks
Tanzania National Parks Map

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is located just 32 kms from Arusha and is home to Black & White Colobus monkeys as well as containing within its boundaries the serene Momella Lakes, spectacular Ngurdoto Crater and lofty Mount Meru. Arusha Park is very popular for bird-watching, with 575 species recorded.

Lake Manyara National Park

This small gem of a safari destination is situated at the foot of the Great Rift Valley escarpment and is famous for its tree-climbing lions. Entry is through a groundwater forest, alive with monkeys and large troops of baboon. Buffalo, elephant, giraffe and warthog are easily seen in Manyara Park and the lakeshore boasts over 400 species of water bird such as flamingo, pelican, sacred ibis and Egyptian geese.

Serengeti National Park

One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the seemingly endless plains of Serengeti National Park are dotted with kopjes, rivers and woodland. The huge herds of wildebeest and zebra can be viewed in special areas of Serengeti during different times of the year. 

Witness the daily drama of life and death in Serengeti, where lion, cheetah, leopard and other predators hunt among enormous herds of gazelle, eland, buffalo and other beasts. Watch out for the smaller beauties – caracal, serval cat, genet and bat-eared foxes. Let the circling and descending vultures guide you to the site of a recent kill.

Ngorongoro Crater & Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Crater - the largest unbroken caldera in the world – contains an extraordinary number and variety of animals within its 610 m high walls and around its central soda lake. Countless flamingo, crowned cranes and secretary birds make their long-legged way among the grazing gazelle, rhino, elephant, wildebeest, zebra and other species too numerous to mention here. 

Take a guided walk in the magnificent Ngorongoro Highlands through forests and around Olmoti and Empakaai Craters. Drive across to Olduvai Gorge and learn about the origins of mankind; marvel at the remains of prehistoric elephant, giant-horned sheep and enormous ostrich which inhabited the plains alongside our earliest ancestors. 

Tarangire National Park

Famous for its huge herds of elephant, Tarangire Park also boasts the always-flowing Tarangire River, which attracts thousands of animals from the parched Masai steppe during the dry season months of August and September. Search for hunting lion in the grassland, examine tree branches for the hanging tail of a sleeping leopard, marvel at long-necked gerenuk and fringe-eared oryx among the ancient baobabs and strange sausage trees which spread their shade around this wonderland of a national park. 

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is another World Heritage Site and the largest protected wildlife area in Africa. Here you can search for rare Sable Antelope and packs of African Wild Dogs – lycaon pictus – the painted wolf. Here you can take a boat safari on the Rufiji River, amongst hippo, crocodile and numerous water birds. Drive slowly through the grassland plains, savannah woodland and rocky outcrops, in the company of bushbuck, duikers, eland, hartebeest, hyena, klipspringer, impala, giraffe, oryx, reedbuck, waterbuck and zebra. Watch belligerent yellow baboons, gentle black and white colobus, vervet and blue monkeys, moving among the prolific birdlife of this vast stronghold of nature. 

Ruaha National Park

Visit Ruaha park and and take a boat safari down the Great Ruaha River. Now bigger than Kruger park in South Africa and second only to Zambia’s Kafue park, Ruaha supports enormous concentrations of wildlife and a wide variety of birdlife. 

Game viewing in Ruaha starts as your plane taxies in; long-legged giraffe race beside the airstrip, closely followed by cantering zebra while primordial pachyderms loiter in the shade of ancient baobab trees. At the last count, this park boasted of almost 10,000 elephants. 

Mikumi National Park

Mikumi is the most easily accessible of Tanzania’s southern parks. Covering some 3,230 sq km of wilderness, Mikumi is yet another animal kingdom where wildlife has the right of way and nature alone holds sway. Discover the abundant wildlife of Mkata Floodplain, where lion kings survey their domain from the flattened tops of termite mounds. Marvel at the sheer size and power of eland – the world’s largest antelope – and at the poetry-in-motion of greater kudu and sable antelope. 

Katavi National Park

Best in the dry season months of June through October, when the Katuma River and floodplains form the only source of drinking water for miles around, this isolated wilderness area boasts 4,000 strong herds of elephant, 1,000-plus buffalo, numerous giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck. 

Add to the above numerous prides of lion, clans of spotted hyena, up to 200 hippos in one small pool and myriad colourful birds and you will have an idea of the spectacular tapestry of nature to be found in Katavi. 

Kitulo National Park

One of the great floral spectacles of the world, Kitulo has been dubbed by botanists “the Serengeti of Flowers” and is called “God’s Garden by the local inhabitants. The breathtaking scale and diversity of Kitulo’s wildflowers include a multitude of orchids, stunning red-hot poker, aloes, proteas, lilies and aster daises.

Kitulo, perched at around 8,500 ft, is the first national park in tropical Africa to be gazetted largely for its floral significance, and is a riot of color during the rainy months of late November to April. 

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Often called the African Galapagos, for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals, Udzungwa is the largest (and most bio-diverse) of a chain of large forest-clad mountains which rise regally from the flat coastal scrub of Eastern Tanzania and which are known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains.

This brooding and primeval rainforest, which sustains rare plant species not found elsewhere in the world, hides waterfalls, exceptional forest birds and the newly-discovered Sanje crested mangabey.

Saadani National Park

Saadani is a coastal wildlife sanctuary where beach meets bush in an environment beyond compare. Relax on the palm-fringed white sands of the Indian Ocean where lion and elephant leave their footprints and observe one of the last major green turtle breeding sites on mainland Tanzania. 

Take a game drive or a guided walk in the bush or visit Saadani fishing village, where a collection of ruins pays testament to its 19th century heyday as a major trading port. 

Gombe National Park

A scheduled flight to Kigoma and a boat across Lake Tanganyika brings you to Gombe Stream – a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys of Lake Tanganikya’s sandy northern shores. 

Made famous by the pioneering work of Dr Jane Goodall, the Gombe chimps are habituated to human visitors and thus are easy to follow and observe. Share the beach with a troop of friendly olive baboons to the harsh cry of Africa’s iconic fish eagle.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Deep in the heart of the African interior lie the Mahale Mountains, home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees. Trekking these chimps through montane rainforest and high grassy ridges chequered with alpine bamboo is an unparalleled experience.

After your trek, you can swim and snorkel in the impossibly clear waters of the world’s longest and second-deepest freshwater lake. Take a boat and try your luck with some of the estimated 1,000 fish species which inhabit the lake.

Rubondo Island National Park

Take a boat ride to Rubondo Island – a water wonderland, tucked into the southwest corner of Lake Victoria. Listen to the voice of Africa in the ear splitting, evocative duet of fish eagles, watch yellow-spotted otters frolicking in the island’s rocky coves.

Other activities which can be undertaken on Rubondo Island are chimp trekking, bird-watching excursions, sport fishing and tracking the aquatic sitatunga in the papyrus swamps. 

  8. Mineral Deposits

Mineral Deposits Map

Tanzania has a great potential particularly for gold, base metals, diamonds, ferrous minerals and a wide variety of gemstones, including the world renowned Tanzanite (blue zoisite) occurring in the Proterozoic metamorphic rocks of the Usagaran and Ubendian Systems.

Other gemstones mined in the country include ruby, rhodolite, sapphire, emerald, amethyst, chrysoprase, peridot and tormaline. Recently, a major alluvial occurrence was discovered in the southern region of Ruvuma, Mtwara and Lindi. Varieties include chrysoberyl, spinels, sapphire, garnets, zircons and diamonds.
Coal, uranium, and various industrial minerals such as soda, kaolin, tin, gypsum, phosphate and dimension stones are plentiful. Coal resources similar in quality to the Gondwana coals of southern Africa occur in the Ruhuhu and Songwe-Kiwira basins in

Limestone and dolomite-good resources of high purity occur in the white marble deposit of the Morogoro Region. Potential for dimension stone and refractory grade limestone is therefore excellent.
A variety of clays - bentonite, kaolin and fullers earth - in size-able deposits have been identified and are only scantily exploited. The Pugu kaolin deposit located some 30 kms West of Dar es Salaam has a great potential for development.

Evaporates and saline deposits of economic significance are associated with the rift valley lakes. Investigations of the Soda ash deposits at Lake Natron revealed a potential recovery of over one million tonnes a year.

Graphite occurs in high-grade gneisses mainly in the Usagaran system. Sufficient reserves have been identified at Merelani, northern Tanzania, for a 40 year operation at a mining rate of 15,000 tonnes per year of high grade flake graphite of 97-98% purity.
Basemetals are found in a belt running from Kagera through Kigoma to Mbeya, Ruvuma and Mtwara regions: recent evaluations have so far outlined contained resources of 500,000 tonnes nickel, 75,000 tonnes copper and 45,000 tonnes cobalt.

Gold and diamonds have always been the mainstay of the country's mineral production. In fact Tanzania has been a significant diamond producer for several decades, with the bulk of production coming from the Mwadui area where commercial production began in 1925. But gold is the resource currently offering one of the best areas for investment. The current perceived opportunities range from former mines in the Archaean Greenstone belts around Lake Victoria, Proterozoic rocks and conceptual grass root plays in Karoo and younger rocks. Investigation has mainly been focused on the greenstone belts around Lake Victoria with particular attention on the shear hosted gold mineralization associated with banded iron formations (BIF), tufts and volcano-sedimentary exhalatives. Several "world class" gold deposits have already been discovered in the Lake Victoria Goldfields and are at different stages of development. These deposits have reached various stages of development.

9. Indian Ocean and Lake Ports

Indian Ocean ports are Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, and Tanga; minor seaports serving coastal traffic include Lindi, Kilwa Masoko, Mafia Island, Bagamoyo, Pangani and Kwale

The principal port of Tanzania is Dar es Salaam,  handles 95% of the country's international sea trade. The port serves the landlocked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. The port is strategically placed to serve as a convenient freight linkage not only to and from East and Central Africa countries but also to middle and Far East, Europe, Australia and America.
Tanzania Ports Authority Embarks Expansion Exercise at Tanga Port
Tanga Port

10. World Heritage Sites

Tanzania has a long history of tribal habitation stretching back at least 10,000, to the early hunter-gatherers who lived around Olduvai Gorge. Later tribal migrations, occurring between 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, brought agricultural and pastoral knowledge to the area as competing tribal groups spread over the country in search of fertile land and plentiful grazing for their herds. European Missionaries and explorers mapped the interior of the country by following well-worn caravan routes, including Buron and Speke who in 1857 journeyed to find the source of the Nile. Traditional ways of life remained largely intact until the arrival of German Colonizers in the late 19th Century.

Mysterious ruins of complex irrigation systems span the area around Engaruka, the remnants of a highly developed but unknown civilization that inhabited the area at least 500 years ago-and then vanished without a trace.

Kilwa Kisiwani
The Island of Kilwa kisiwani and the nearby ruins of Songo Mnara are among the most essential remnants of Swahili civilization on the East African Coast. The area became the center point of Swahili civilization in the 13th Century, when it controlled the gold trade with Sofala, a distant settlement in Mozambique in the 14th Century, Arab traveler Ibn Battuta described Kilwa as being exceptionally beautiful and well-developed. After a brief decline under the rule of the Portuguese, Kilwa once again became a center of Swahili trade in the 18th Century, when slaves were shipped from its port to the islands of Comoros, Mauritius and Reunion.

The port town of Lindi, in south-western Tanzania, was the final stop for slave caravans from Lake Nyasa during the heyday of the Zanzibar’s Sultans. In 1909, a team of Germans paleontologists unearthed the remains of several dinosaur bones in Tendunguru, including the species Brachiosaurus brancai, the largest discovered dinosaur in the World.

Another central port in the Swahili coast’s network of Indian Ocean trade, in the 15th Century Mikindani’s reach extended as far as the African hinterlands of the Congo and Zambia. The area became a centre of Germany colonial administration in the 1880s and was a chief exporter of sisal, coconuts, and slaves.

Tanzania is a country which encompasses an extraordinary history and an abundance of natural wonders; therefore it is no surprise Tanzania has eight World Heritage Sites. These chosen sites are a fundamental reminder why interaction between people and nature must achieve a balance of preservation and conservation between the two. 

"The Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s oldest park, and one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges, hence its World Heritage Site status." 

Kilimanjaro National Park
The Kilimanjaro National Park is located near Moshi, Tanzania. It is centered on the iconic and dramatic snow- clad slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, which covers an area of 753 km (291 square miles). In 1973 , the mountain above the tree line was classified as a National Park and was opened to public access in 1977 , but it wasn’t until 1987 the park became listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Stone Town, Zanzibar
Stone Town or Mji Mkongwe in Swahili meaning “ancient town”, is the old part of Zanzibar City. The old town is built on a triangular peninsula of land on the western coast of the island and was awarded World Heritage Site status in 2000 . Justification for the inscription, includes, its rich cultural fusion and harmonization; its great symbolic importance in the suppression of slavery; and the intense seaborne trading activity between Asia and Africa, which is illustrated today in the exceptional architecture and urban structure of the Stone Town.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) boasts the finest blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeological sites in Africa and is situated 180 km west of Arusha. The rich pasture and permanent water of the Crater floor supports a large resident population of wildlife of up to 25 ,000 - predominantly grazing animals. The conservation area is administered by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, and its boundaries follow the boundary of the Ngorongoro Division of Ngorongoro District. It covers an area of 8,288 km (3,200 square miles).

Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve covers a total area of 54,600 km (21 ,081 square miles) and is one of the largest fauna reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to the diversity of its wildlife and undisturbed nature. The reserve is home to typical savannah animals such as elephants, hippopotami, the rare African Wild Dog and crocodiles, which are all found in larger numbers compared to any other African park. 

Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s oldest park, and one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges, hence its World Heritage Site status. It is most famous for its annual migration of over one million white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 200 ,000 zebra. The park covers 14,763 km (5,700 square miles) of grassland plains and savanna as well as riverine forest and woodlands. The park lies in the north of the country, bordered to the north by the national Tanzania and Kenyan border, where it is contiguous with the Masai Mara National Reserve. 

Kondoa Rock Art Sites
The Kondoa rock art site is a series of caves carved into the side of a hill looking out over the steppe. The cave site is nine kilometres off the main highway from Kondoa to Arusha, about 20 km north of Kondoa. The site has a spectacular collection of images from over 150 shelters depicting elongated people, animals, and hunting scenes. Today many of the shelters are still considered to have ritual associations with the people who live nearby, reflecting their beliefs, rituals and cosmological traditions. 

Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara
The remains of two great East African ports admired by early European explorers are situated on two small islands near the coast. From the 13 th to the 16 th century, the merchants of Kilwa dealt in gold, silver, pearls, perfumes, Arabian crockery, Persian earthenware and Chinese porcelain; much of the trade in the Indian Ocean thus passed through their hands. Serious archeological investigation began in the 1950 s. In 1981 it was declared a World Heritage Site, and noted visitor sites are the Great Mosque, the Mkutini Palace and some remarkable ruins. However, the ruins are also on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The list constitutes a call to improve their safeguarding and is designed to rally national and international efforts for their preservation.