Climate and Terrain
Mainland Tanzania falls into three major geographical zones:
The coastal strip along the Indian Ocean (16–60 km/10–40 mi wide), which is hot and humid, receives considerable rainfall and has much fertile soil.
Interior plateau and highlands (average elevation: 1,070–1,370 m/3,500–4,500 ft) which are temperate and extend over most of the interior. They are cut in two places by branches of the Great Rift Valley. The plateau receives little rainfall, but in most parts there is enough to support agriculture.
A number of scattered mountainous regions, including Mt. Meru (4,566 m/14,979 ft) and Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/19,340 ft, the highest point in Africa) in the northeast; the Usambara, Nguru, and Uluguru Mts. in the east; the Livingstone Mts. and the Kipengere Range near Lake Nyasa in the south; and the Ufipa Highlands in the southwest.
Climate and vegetation are not "tropical" in the usual sense, because of the high altitude of much of Tanzania. Woodland and brush occupy more than half the country. There is a lush coastal belt. Desert, semi-desert and arid land account for the rest.
The Serengeti National Park, one of the country's several wildlife reserves, is east of Lake Victoria, and Lake Rukwa is in the southwest. The Selous Game Reserve is in the southeast.