Tanzania - Topography

Except for the islands and a coastal strip varying in width from 16 to 64 km (10–40 mi), Tanzania lies at an altitude of over 200 m (660 ft). A plateau averaging 900–1,800 m (3,000–6,000 ft) in height makes up the greater part of the country. Mountains are grouped in various sections. The Pare range is in the northeast, and the Kipengere Range is in the southwest. Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/19,340 ft), in the north, is the highest mountain in Africa.

On the borders are three large lakes: Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world, exceeded only by Lake Superior; Tanganyika, second only to Lake Baykal as the deepest in the world; and Lake Malawi. Lakes within Tanzania include Natron, Eyasi, Manyara, and Rukwa.

Tanzania has few permanent rivers. During half the year, the central plateau has no running water, but in the rainy season, flooding presents a problem.

Two-thirds of Zanzibar Island, to the center and the east, consists of low-lying coral country covered by bush and grass plains and is largely uninhabited except for fishing settlements on the east coast. The western side of the island is fertile and has several ridges rising above 60 m (200 ft). Masingini Ridge, at 119 m (390 ft), is the highest point on the island. The west and center of Pemba Island consists of a flat-topped ridge about 9.5 km (6 mi) wide, deeply bisected by streams. Pemba is hilly, but its highest point is only 95 m (311 ft). Apart from the narrow belt of coral country in the east, the island is fertile and densely populated.

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