Lonely planet guide to tanzania
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Lonely planet guide to tanzania Lonely planet guide to tanzania Document Transcript

  • LONELY PLANET GUIDE TO TANZANIAPLACES TO SEEJozani ForestA tiny patch of pristine rainforest right in the centre of Zanzibar island, Jozani Forest is home to theextremely rare Red Colobus monkey, the Aders duiker antelope, and numerous bird species. Theres amangrove boardwalk through the trees and a small education centre.Mt Kilimanjaro National ParkAn almost perfectly shaped volcano rising sheer from Tanzanias northeastern plains, Mt Kilimanjaro isone of Africas most magnificent sights. Snowcapped and not yet extinct, at 5896m (19343ft) its thehighest peak on the continent.The name of Kilimanjaro is as shrouded in mystery as the mist-enveloped summit. Mountain of Light isone of the several possible translations, although many locals refer to the snowy peak as Kipoo or Kibo.Daunting as it looks, its possible to scale the mountain without technical mountaineering skills - all youneed is determination, warm clothing and a properly equipped guide. Theres no doubt youll go throughthe pain barrier on the way to the top, but the reward is unforgettable - a sunrise view over what seemslike half of Africa spread out below.From cultivated farmlands on the lower levels, the mountain rises through lush rainforest to alpinemeadow and finally across a barren lunar landscape to the twin summits. The lower slopes of themountain also offer great hiking.Ngorongoro Conservation AreaNgorongoro Crater is a volcanic caldera - the collapsed upper cone of an ancient volcano. Its high wallscontain a microcosmic ecosystem, with lakes, forests, and plains supporting hundreds of species ofwildlife. The views from the misty highlands of the rim are spectacular, as is the abundant wildlife on thecrater floor.Serengeti National ParkWaving golden grasses, flat-topped acacia trees, distant blue hills. Herds of wildebeest sweepingmajestically across the plain. Stately giraffes, indolent lions, stealthy cheetah. How do you describe theSerengeti without using every cliché in the book? Perhaps in the words of Alan Moorehead - Anyone whocan go to the Serengeti, and does not, is mad.
  • Selous Game ReserveThis reserve is one of the earths last great wild places: 55,000 sq km (21,235 sq mi) of untamed bush,crocodile-filled lakes and emerald green floodplains. The only accessible bit is the northern section abovethe great muddy sweep of the Rufiji River, where youll see hippos, elephants, zebras, a maneless varietyof lion and the rare African wild dog.EVENTSThe biggest annual event in Tanzania begins at the Serengeti National Park near the Kenyan border,when huge herds of wildebeest head for greener pastures in Kenya. Starting in April each year, more than2 million of these animals migrate northwards across the Serengetis plains accompanied by zebras,antelopes, gazelles, lions and tourists. Tanzanian Independence Day (December 9) somehow pales insignificance.PRE-DEPARTURE INFORMATIONWhen to go?Tanzania can be visited during all seasons. The standard tourist seasons are in July-August, when theweather is cool, and dry season parks like Tarangire are at their prime; and again in December-January,when its hotter, but still quite bearable. But to catch the Serengeti at its best you want to avoid the heightof the dry season when virtually all the animals go on holiday to Kenya. Be prepared if youre heading intothe big wet, as many roads - particularly on the south coast - can become too squishy to drive on.Watch out for peak-season hotel prices around the Christmas-New Year holidays and during the July-August peak season.Travel Visa OverviewAll visitors from Europe, North America and Australasia require a visa. You will need proof of yellow fevervaccination only if arriving from a yellow-fever infected area (which includes Kenya).Electricity230V50HzElectrical PlugsBritish-style plug with two flat blades and one flat grounding bladeSouth African/Indian-style plug with two circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin
  • HEALTH INFORMATIONTyphoidAlso known as enteric fever, Typhoid is transmitted via food and water, and symptomless carriers,especially when theyre working as food handlers, are an important source of infection. Typhoid is causedby a type of salmonella bacteria, Salmonella typhi. Paratyphoid is a similar but milder disease. Thesymptoms are variable, but you almost always get a fever and headache to start with, which initially feelsvery similar to flu, with aches and pains, loss of appetite and general malaise. Typhoid may be confusedwith malaria. The fever gradually rises during a week. Characteristically your pulse is relatively slow forsomeone with a fever. Other symptoms you may have are constipation or diarrhoea and stomach pains.You may feel worse in the second week, with a constant fever and sometimes a red skin rash. Othersymptoms you may have are severe headache, sore throat and jaundice. Serious complications occur inabout one in 10 cases, including, most commonly, damage to the gut wall with subsequent leakage of thegut contents into the abdominal cavity. Seek medical help for any fever (38C and higher) that does notimprove after 48 hours. Typhoid is a serious disease and is not something you should consider self-treating. Re-hydration therapy is important if diarrhoea has been a feature of the illness, but antibiotics arethe mainstay of treatment.Meningococcal meningitisNot every headache is likely to be meningitis. There is an effective vaccine available which is oftenrecommended for travel to epidemic areas. Generally, youre at pretty low risk of getting meningococcalmeningitis, unless an epidemic is ongoing, but the disease is important because it can be very seriousand rapidly fatal. You get infected by breathing in droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by sufferers or,more likely, by healthy carriers of the bacteria. Youre more at risk in crowded, poorly ventilated places,including public transport and eating places.The symptoms of meningitis are fever, severe headache, neck stiffness that prevents you from bendingyour head forward, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, which makes you prefer the darkness. Withmeningococcal meningitis, you may get a widespread, blotchy purple rash before any other symptomsappear. Meningococcal meningitis is an extremely serious disease that can cause death within a fewhours of you first feeling unwell. Seek medical help without delay if you have any of the symptoms listedearlier, especially if you are in a risk area. If youve been in close contact with a sufferer its best to seekmedical advice.HepatitisSeveral different viruses cause hepatitis; they differ in the way that they are transmitted. The symptoms inall forms of the illness include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, feelings of weakness and aches and pains,followed by loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-coloured faeces,jaundiced (yellow) skin and yellowing of the whites of the eyes. Hepatitis A is transmitted by contaminatedfood and drinking water. Seek medical advice, but there is not much you can do apart from resting,
  • drinking lots of fluids, eating lightly and avoiding fatty foods. Hepatitis E is transmitted in the same way ashepatitis A; it can be particularly serious in pregnant women.Hepatitis B is spread through contact with infected blood, blood products or body fluids, for examplethrough sexual contact, unsterilised needles (and shaving equipment) and blood transfusions, or contactwith blood via small breaks in the skin. The symptoms of hepatitis B may be more severe than type A andthe disease can lead to long-term problems such as chronic liver damage, liver cancer or a long-termcarrier state. Hepatitis C and D are spread in the same way as hepatitis B and can also lead to long-termcomplications.There are vaccines against hepatitis A and B, but there are currently no vaccines against the other types.Following the basic rules about food and water (hepatitis A and E) and avoiding risk situations (hepatitisB, C and D) are important preventative measures.CholeraThis diarrhoeal disease can cause rapid dehydration and death. Cholera is caused by a bacteria, Vibriocholerae. Its transmitted from person to person by direct contact (often via healthy carriers of thedisease) or via contaminated food and water. It can be spread by seafood, including crustaceans andshellfish, which get infected via sewage. Cholera exists where standards of environmental and personalhygiene are low. Every so often there are massive epidemics, usually due to contaminated water inconditions where there is a breakdown of the normal infrastructure.The time between becoming infected and symptoms appearing is usually short, between one and fivedays. The diarrhoea starts suddenly, and pours out of you. Its characteristically described as ricewaterdiarrhoea because it is watery and flecked with white mucus. Vomiting and muscle cramps are usual, butfever is rare. In its most serious form, it causes a massive outpouring of fluid (up to 20L a day). This is theworst case scenario - only about one in 10 sufferers get this severe form. Its a self-limiting illness,meaning that if you dont succumb to dehydration, it will end in about a week without any treatment.You should seek medical help urgently; in the meantime, start re-hydration therapy with oral re-hydrationsalts. You may need antibiotic treatment with tetracycline, but fluid replacement is the single mostimportant treatment strategy in cholera. Prevention is by taking basic food and water precautions,avoiding seafood and having scrupulous personal hygiene. The currently available vaccine is not thoughtworthwhile as it provides only limited protection for a short time.Schistosomiasis (bilharzia)Also known as bilharzia, this disease is carried in freshwater by tiny worms that enter through the skinand attach themselves to the intestines or bladder. The first symptom may be tingling and sometimes alight rash around the area where the worm entered. Weeks later, a high fever may develop. A generalunwell feeling may be the first symptom, or there may be no symptoms. Once the disease is established,abdominal pain and blood in the urine are other signs. The infection often causes no symptoms until thedisease is well established (several months to years after exposure), and damage to internal organs isirreversible. Avoid swimming or bathing in freshwater where bilharzia is present. Even deep water can be
  • infected. If you do get wet, dry off quickly and dry your clothes as well. A blood test is the most reliabletest, but it will not show positive until a number of weeks after exposure.Yellow feverYellow fever is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is an effective vaccine againstyellow fever, so if you have been immunised, you can basically rule this disease out. Symptoms of yellowfever range from a mild fever which resolves over a few days to more serious forms with fever, headache,muscle pains, abdominal pain and vomiting. This can progress to bleeding, shock and liver and kidneyfailure. The liver failure causes jaundice, or yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes - hence thename. Theres no specific treatment but you should seek medical help urgently if you think you haveyellow fever.MalariaIf you are travelling in endemic areas - which includes almost all of Tanzania - it is extremely important toavoid mosquito bites and to take tablets to prevent this disease. Symptoms range from fever, chills andsweating, headache, diarrhoea and abdominal pains to a vague feeling of ill-health. Seek medical helpimmediately if malaria is suspected. Without treatment malaria can rapidly become more serious and canbe fatal. If medical care is not available, malaria tablets can be used for treatment. You should seekmedical advice, before you travel, on the right medication and dosage for you. If you do contract malaria,be sure to be re-tested for malaria once you return home as you can harbour malaria parasites in yourbody even if you are symptom free. Travellers are advised to prevent mosquito bites at all times. Themain messages are: wear light-coloured clothing; wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts; usemosquito repellents containing the compound DEET on exposed areas (prolonged overuse of DEET maybe harmful, especially to children, but its use is considered preferable to being bitten by disease-transmitting mosquitoes); avoid perfumes and aftershave; use a mosquito net impregnated with mosquitorepellent (permethrin) - it may be worth taking your own, and impregnating clothes with permethrineffectively deters mosquitoes and other insects.HIV/AIDSHIV/AIDS is a serious risk, with about 8% of the population affected, and even more in some areas. HIV(Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) develops into AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), which isa fatal disease. Any exposure to blood, blood products or body fluids may put the individual at risk. Thedisease is often transmitted through sexual contact or dirty needles - body piercing, acupuncture,tattooing and vaccinations can be potentially as dangerous as intravenous drug use. HIV and AIDS canalso be spread via infected blood transfusions, but blood supplies in most reputable hospitals are nowscreened, so the risk from transfusions is low. If you do need an injection, ask to see the syringeunwrapped in front of you, or take a needle and syringe pack with you. Fear of HIV infection should notpreclude treatment for any serious medical conditions. Most countries have organisations and services forHIV-positive folk and people with AIDS. For a list of organizations divided by country, plus descriptions oftheir services, see www.aidsmap.com.
  • WEATHER INFORMATIONIf theres a time to avoid coastal Tanzania, its during the long rainy season from March to May, which hasa brief revival from November to January. The best time is between June and September when rainfall issparse and temperatures orbit around a pleasantly balmy 28°C (83°F). Inland on the plateau, rain duringthe middle of the year is insignificant and temperatures sink slightly but comfortably.HISTORY AND CULTURECultureTanzanias 100 or more different tribal groups are mostly of Bantu-speaking origin. The Arab influence onZanzibar and Pemba Islands is evident in the people, who are a mix of Shirazi (from Persia), Arabs,Comorians (from the Comoros Islands) and Africans from the mainland. Asians are a significant minorityespecially in the towns and cities. Europeans (either by descent or expatriate) are a smaller minority. Themajor non-Bantu-speaking people on the mainland are the Nilotic speakers such as the Maasai whoinhabit parts of northern Tanzania.Swahili and English are the official languages, with English the principal language of commerce. Thereare also many local African tongues, reflecting the tribal diversity of the country. Outside the cities andtowns, far fewer local people speak English than in comparable areas in Kenya. Its said that the Swahilispoken on Zanzibar is of a much purer form than elsewhere, and quite a few travellers head to the islandto learn it.The two main religions are Christianity and Islam, with a signficant Hindu minority in urban areas. Themajority of Muslims are concentrated along the coast and in the islands. Compared to Islam, Christianitytook a long time to make an impact, and even then (during the 19th century) it was practiced mainlyamong tribes of the interior. There are still some tribes who follow neither of the big-name religions andinstead worship the ancient spirit of their choice. Principal among them are the Maasai, who put their faithin the god Engai and his Messiah, Kindongoi, from whom their priests are said to be descended. Itsclaimed that there is no religious bias present in the countrys political and civil administration.Tanzanian music and dance dominates much of East Africa. Strong in rhythm and renowned for hard-hitting lyrics, the countrys Swahili-based sounds are kept very much alive by a thriving dance-bandscene. Remmy Ongala is the countrys best known export. Zanzibar is at the heart of thedistinctive taarab, or sung poetry, tradition. The goddess of this haunting style is Siti bint Saad, the firstEast African singer to make commercial recordings, way back in 1928.Theres precious little difference between local food in Kenya and Tanzania - which is not great news forgourmets. As in Kenya, nyama choma (barbecued meat) has taken over in a big way, especially inrestaurants with attached bars. But on the coast and on Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, theres a deliciousrange of traditional Swahili dishes based on seafood. The national brew is Safari Lager and a popularlocal liquor is a lethal white-rum-style concoction called konyagi.
  • Pre-20th Centure HistoryAlthough a Tanzanian gorge recently yielded a few bits of our old mate Homo erectus, little is knownabout the countrys really early history. Recorded history begins around the first century BC, when variousmigrating tribes from West Africa first reached East Africa. While the countrys coastal area had longwitnessed maritime squabbles between Portuguese and Arabic traders, it wasnt until the middle of the18th century that Arabic traders dared venture into the countrys wild interior. European explorers beganarriving in earnest in the mid-19th century, the most famous being Stanley and Livingstone. The famousphrase Dr Livingstone, I presume, stems from the duos meeting at Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika.As the 20th century loomed, Germany got busy colonising Tanganyika - as the mainland was then known- by building railways and going commerce crazy. If not for the pesky little tsetse fly, the area could havebecome one vast grazing paddock for the fatherland. But losing the war didnt help the German causemuch either, and the League of Nations soon mandated the territory to the British. The Brits had alreadygrabbed the offshore island of Zanzibar, which for centuries had been the domain of Arab traders.Modern HistoryNationalist organisations sprang up after WWII, but it wasnt until Julius Nyerere took the reins of theTanganyika African National Union (TANU) in 1953 that they found their real voice. Tanganyika wonindependence in 1961 with Nyerere as the countrys first president. Zanzibar was stuck with its British stiffupper lip for another two years, after which the mainland forged a union together with Zanzibar and thenearby island of Pemba. Thus Tanzania was born.But unity and a charismatic first president werent enough to overcome the countrys basic lack ofresources. Nyereres secret ingredient was radical socialism, a brave concept considering the communistparanoia of potential aid donors such as the USA. Under the leaders Chinese-backed reforms, theeconomy was nationalised, as were great swathes of rental properties, and the better-off were taxedheavily in an attempt to redistribute wealth. The early 1960s saw Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda linked inan unlikely economic threesome. Their currencies became freely convertible and there was free and easymovement across borders. But predictable political differences brought such cosiness to a halt in 1977,leaving the Tanzanians worse off than ever.Many factors have contributed to the woes of modern Tanzania, and not all have been self-inflicted. Theincorporation of Zanzibar created some additional problems. Adopting a multi-party political systemdoesnt seem to have helped much either. Zanzibar and the neighbouring island of Pemba haveoccasionally experienced violent unrest and political scare-mongering, especially since an electionsquabble divided mainland and the islands. Meanwhile, the mainland has had to cope with a flood ofRwandan refugees fleeing fighting in their homeland. In late 1996 the government of then-presidentBenjamin Mkapa issued a statement backed by the United Nations declaring that Rwandan refugeeswere to leave Tanzania, although many still remain.In August 1998, terrorists bombed the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, killing over 250people and injuring more than 5000. Despite all the bumps, however, Tanzania has managed to remainan oasis of relative peace in a region often torn by tribal clashes.
  • Recent HistoryIn 2000 President Mkapa was re-elected president, and under his leadership Tanzania has continued itsrelatively stable course, even managing something of an economic upturn. This has been maintainedunder President Jakaya Kikwete, who took over the reins in early 2006.Recent years have been marked by greater political and economic ties between Tanzania, Kenya andUganda, and by the growth of opposition parties, although the long-dominant CCM still sits firmly in thedrivers seat. The recent opening of the Songosongo natural gas field off the southern coast, combinedwith tourism, which is booming, have given the economy major boosts. Although 13 people were killed inthe December 2004 tsunami, damage along the Tanzanian coastline was minimal.