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The Independent - December 2011

Traveller's guide - Tanzania - by Nick Boulos, December 2011

This stunning nation celebrates 50 years of independence on Friday, but its wonders have been millennia in the making.

From acacia-dotted plains to snowy mountain peaks and sandy shores of exotic islands where the air is scented with cloves, Tanzania delivers a heady and enticing mix that has lured visitors for centuries.

Vasco De Gama arrived in 1498, and his countrymen weren't far behind. The Portuguese ruled the coast for some 200 years until the Omanis muscled in. The Germans were next and, shortly afterwards, the British – whose arrival in the late 1800s marked the end of the gruesome slave trade that had thrived on Zanzibar since the early 18th century. The campaign was led by David Livingstone, who first visited Tanzania in 1866, searching for the source of the Nile.

This Friday marks 50 years of independence from British rule. Three years later in 1964, Tanganyika – as the mainland was then known – united with Zanzibar to form the Republic of Tanzania. The anniversary is being celebrated with a ceremony at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, the country's main gateway and commercial heart, but not the capital (that accolade goes to Dodoma).

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Traveller's guide , December 2011