How Well Do You Know Tanzania? 10 Funny Facts

  | 4 min read

Yeah yeah yeah Tanzania is home to Mt Kilimanjaro, has a lot of animals and majestic picturesque sceneries. We know that already. But what don’t we know?

Now if history and geography teachers taught lessons like this maybe more kids would learn something.


Attention to all thieves, this is the stuff you should be stealing (just kidding)! This piece of wood right here will cost you an arm and your left ear. It’s from the Mpingo tree, common in Tanzania, and also the most expensive hardwood tree in the world!


Anyone who went to primary school in Tanzania remembers having to struggle through singing ‘Mungu Ibariki’ during assembly. But did you know that kids in South Africa and Zimbabwe know the struggle too?! We sing the same song, just different languages and vocal abilities.  The national anthem was created by the South African composer Enock Sontonga .


If the Lion King was based in Lake Manyara, Simba probably wouldn’t have struggled to climb that tree in the Lion King. And Mufasa would still be alive! Why? Because Lake Manyara is home to the only tree-climbing lions in the world!


Westerner: Did you know that Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar?

Tanzanian: Who?

Westerner: Freddie Mercury. The lead singer of Queen.

Tanzanian: Who they?

Westerner: One of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Tanzanian: You mean that loud music I can’t dance to.

Westerner: He has influenced all sorts of artists….

Tanzanian: Do you know that since life started in East Africa, Beyonce is technically Tanzanian to!

Westerner: * facepalm *

Contrary to common sense, most Tanzanians don’t know who Freddie Mercury is. Apparently he was born in Zanzibar, so technically he is Tanzanian. And his real name is Farrokh Bulsara!


While nowadays many Tanzanians go to universities in England (often coming back with a British accent, while they’ve lived there only for 2 years.), back in the day it was not the case. In fact, the first president of TZ, Julius K. Nyerere was the very first Tanzanian to study at a British university and only the second to gain a university degree abroad.

With great grades and even greater potential, he received a government scholarship that he used to pursue a degree in history and political economy, for his Master of Arts at the University of Edinburgh.


In 2015, Tanzania became first Sub Saharan country to adopt Swahili as its language of instruction in schools. So there you have it folks, more broken English to look forward to in the future!

The language Kiswahili which is more commonly known as Swahili in the west, has been one of the most important ways, the country has managed to build a sense of national solidarity.

The country currently has over 130 languages and over 120 tribes. Yet for a region that has struggled with so many ethnic conflicts, we have escaped many of the grander scale struggles that have plagued Kenya and Rwanda. This is mostly because of the unifying force that is Kiswahili.

The nature of Kiswahili itself, a language that consists of Arabic, Bantu, English and German, reflects our diversity and our history. It has given us a sense of joint identity and the means through which we feel allied with other fellow Tanzanians.

Side note: Why does every movie with African characters, have them speaking butchered Swahili, even when they are from a non-Swahili speaking country?!


The 2015 presidential candidate Edward Lowassa, was the most googled person in TZ in 2015. I wonder who it will be this year?


Ok, so we know that there are a lot of animals here. But did you know that, Tanzania has the greatest concentration of wildlife animals per square kilometer! The numbers are even more staggering than the fact themselves, with beyond 4 million wild animals and representatives of 430 species and subspecies. It’s like a daladala (public bus) during rush hour!


Heard of Tanzanite? Well, despite the name, some people seem to be confused about where this midnight blue gemstone is found…only one place, and that is Tanzania. Tanzanite is among only 3 gemstones in the whole world that are found in only one country. This is simply amazing!


Until one of those people on the travel network find the Garden of Eden, Tanzania will remain the MVP of human existence in this world! ‘Imma let you finish’ _________, but the earliest human skull in the world was discovered in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania!

Mic drop.

Iman Lipumba
A digital storyteller, experienced in creating content that improves website visibility on search engines, enhances the user experience, and nurtures brand loyalty. With a background in the social sciences, an expert in researching complex ideas, and communicating them in engaging language to multiple audiences.