The Great Rift Valley has played a significant role in shaping the country and its incredible wilderness areas. From the world's highest free-standing mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, to the world's second deepest freshwater lake, Lake Tanganyka - Tanzania is country of great diversity.
The Great Lakes of Africa are situated in East Africa and many of these lakes border Tanzania. Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake and the source of the Nile River, lies on the northern border of Tanzania and Lake Tanganyika, the world's second deepest freshwater lake is found on the western border of the country. Tanzania also shares part of Lake Malawi, seen in the south western corner of Tanzania.
Endless plains and great mountains
The upheavals of the Great Rift Valley have ensured legendary status for some of the places on the Tanzania map. The Great Plains of the Serengeti, formed during the initial stages of the formation of the Ngorongoro Crater, today host one of nature's greatest happenings - the great wildebeest migration.
A map of Tanzania will show a crater where a mountain once stood. A volcanic explosion spewed lava across the land and with wind-blown sands settling in the area seeds took root in the shallow ground cover and the Great Plains of the Serengeti were formed. The crater that was left by the explosion settled into a similar rhythm of settling sands and seeds and today provides for one of the world's most unique eco-systems, the Ngorongoro Crater.
Where east meets south
It is often debated as to where the savannahs of east Africa meet the woodlands of southern Africa. A study of the map of Tanzania will show the meeting place below the southern escarpment that is formed by the eastern rift of the Great Rift Valley.
The southern parks of Tanzania such as Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve are considered the crossover points for not only the vegetation zones but also some species of animals.
The coast of Tanzania is on the Indian Ocean along Tanzania's eastern side. Here reefs and islands provide for some of the best water activities on the African continent. The coast is littered with islands ranging in size from the legendary Zanzibar Archipelago to small atolls in the water.