By Catriona Davies
(CNN) – Home to Africa’s highest mountain and one of its most famous wildlife parks, Serengeti, Tanzania is one of the continent’s most popular tourist destinations.
It was recently listed by the New York Times as its number one place to go in Africa, with 783,000 visitors in 2010, according to a World Bank report published in 2012.
It is the largest country in East Africa, has abundant wildlife, 500 miles of coastline and 15 National Parks.
The United Republic of Tanzania was formed in April 1964 by the union of mainland Tanganyika and the Zanzibar archipelago. The archipelago consists of two large islands — Zanzibar and Pemba — and numerous smaller ones.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa at 5,895m, is one of seven Tanzanian sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Another is Serengeti National Park, known for its annual migration of two million wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of gazelles and zebras – followed by their predators. The migration is described by UNESCO as “one of the most impressive nature spectacles in the world.”
The spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera, is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO heritage site listed for its natural and cultural significance.
Other UNESCO sites are Selous Game Reserve, listed for its natural beauty; Kondoa Rock-Art Sites, the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara and Stone Town of Zanzibar, all listed for their cultural significance.
Of these, the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara, the remains of two great ports booming between the 13th and 16th centuries, located on islands off the coast of Tanzania, is listed as a site in danger.
Alongside the natural attractions, Tanzania has a rich culture, both traditional and modern.
Zanzibar International Film Festival, also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries, is East Africa’s largest arts, design, music and film festival, with most events in Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town.
Last year the festival attracted 150,000 visitors, including 7,000 from abroad, and included a race of traditional dhow sailing boats.
For a more traditional cultural celebration, MaKuYa Festival in the Mtwara region has been held every year since 2008, bringing together hundreds of traditional dancers and cultural events.
One of the country’s longest-running festivals is the Bagamoyo Festival, held each year since 1982 by TaSUBa, formerly the Bagamoyo College of Arts. The TaSUBa Theatre, where it is held, is the largest performing arts venue in East Africa, and attracts musicians performing African music from reggae to roots to jazz.
An annual charity Goat Race held each year in Dar Es Salaam is based on a concept from Uganda and has raised more than 500 million Tanzanian shillings ($320,000) for charity over the past 11 years.
Originally Published On CNN.com