Country Guides

Ethiopia

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Capital: Addis Ababa
Official Language: none
Monetary Unit: birr (Br)
Region: Eastern Africa

Size: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Landlocked and predominantly agricultural country
Bodies of Water: Blue Nile River, Awash River, Omo River
Climate in July: Hot and rainy season
National Sites: fortress city of Fasil Ghebbi, Aksum city, Tiya archaeological site, Bale Mountains National Park, Mile Serdo Wildlife Reserve
Traditional foods: wats (vegetable spiced stews), alechas (vegetable dish), injera (soft bread), tea is a popular beverage
One of the world’s oldest countries
Among the first independent nations to sign the U.N Charter, U.N. Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union headquarters are located in Addis Ababa

Kenya

Republic of Kenya

Capital: Nairobi
Official Language: Swahili, English
Monetary Unit: Kenyan Shilling (KSh)
Region: Central Eastern Africa

Size: Slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
National solidarity motto: “Harambee” (Means ‘pulling together’ in Swahili)
Bodies of Water: Lake Victoria basin, Indian Ocean
Climate: little rain in June- August, windy
National Sites: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Tsavo East and West National Parks, Mount Kenya National Park, Lake Turkana National Park
Traditional foods: foods reflect Arab, Indian, and British origins; ugali (corn mixture), vegetable stews with spices, freshwater seafood

Tanzania

Republic of Tanzania

Capital: Dar es Salaam
Official Language: Swahili, English
Monetary Unit: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
Region: Central Eastern Africa

Size: Slightly larger than twice the size of California
Bodies of Water: Lake Victoria, Western Rift Valley, Indian Ocean, Lake Tanganyika
Climate: Zanzibar average temperature in low 80s F, Pemba average temperature high 70s F, rainy season in April and May
National Sites: Mount Kilimanjaro, National Museum
Traditional foods: wali (rice), chapati (bread), nyama choma (grilled meat), plantains and bananas, samaki (fish)
There are over 120 ethnic tribes in Tanzania
Strong sense of respect and social courtesy

Zambia

Republic of Zambia

Capital: Lusaka
Official Language: English
Monetary Unit: Zambian kwacha
Region: Southeastern Africa

Size: Slightly larger than Texas
Bodies of Water: Victoria Falls, Zambezi River, Lake Mweru Wantipa, Lake Mweru, Lake Bangweulu, Lake Walilupe, Lake Kampolombo
Climate: Cool, dry season from May-August, July is the coldest month
National Sites: Livingstone National Museum, Kafue National Park, Sioma Ngwezi National Park, Luangwa National Park, Bangweulu Wetlands
Traditional foods: chikanda (sausage), tilapia, chibwabwa (side dish)
“Umucinshi”- a Bemba term for mutual respect when negotiating favours, focus on extended family and reciprocity
There are 73 languages spoken in Zambia
The copper eagle on its flag represents the country’s perseverance to rise above problems and obstacles

Zimbabwe

Republic of Zimbabwe

Capital: Harare
Official Language: 16 official languages
Monetary Unit: Zimbabwe dollar (Z$), U.S. dollar and South African rand are also legal tender
Region: Southern Africa

Size: slightly larger than Montana
Bodies of Water: Zambezi RIver, Limpopo River
Climate: Tropic climate, June and July are cooler
National Sites: Great Zimbabwe stone ruins, Savé Valley Conservancy, Hwange National Park, Gonarezhou National Park
Traditional foods: roasted butternut squash, dovi (peanut butter stew), cornmeal cake, biltong (sun-dried meat)
Zimbabwe means ‘house of stone’ due to its historical stone ruins left by the Shona people
Shona Stone Sculptures are world-famous

Malawi

Republic of Malawi

Capital: Lilongwe
Official Language: no official language
Monetary Unit: Malawian kwacha (MK)
Region: Southeastern Africa

Size: Slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Bodies of Water: Lake Nyasa, Lake Malombe, Lake Chilwa
Climate: Dry season, July temperature high 60s F and low 20s C
National Sites: Chongoni World Heritage Site, Nkotakhota Wildlife Reserve, Kaningina Forest Reserve, Kasungu National Park
Traditional foods: kachumbari (tomato onion salad), thobwa (fermented maize drink), kondowole (cassava meal), fish
Malawian Independence day on July 6th
Often referred to as the “warm heart of Africa” because of its people’s friendliness

Botswana

Republic of Botswana

Capital: Gaborone
Official Language: English
Monetary Unit: pula (P)
Region: Southern Africa

Size: slightly smaller than Texas
Bodies of Water: Lake Nwetwe Pan, Lake Sua Pan
Climate: semi arid, cooler winter nights
National Sites: Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Nata Bird Sanctuary, Chobe National Park
Traditional foods: morula (plum), seswaa (meat dish), pap (porridge)
Oral traditions are very important and poetry is considered a cultural art
Botswana culture is very polite, people greet with smiles and a handshake with the left hand placed under the right elbow

Namibia

Republic of Namibia

Capital: Windhoek
Official Language: English
Monetary Unit: Namibian dollar (N)
Region: Southern Africa

Size: slightly more than half the size of Alaska
Bodies of Water: Etosha Pan, South Atlantic Ocean, Orange River
Climate: Low humidity, cooler winter season July averages are in the 55 F/ 13 C and 68 F/ 20 C
National Sites: Namib-Naukluft National Park, Skeleton Coast Park, Etosha National Park, Kalahari Desert, Namib Desert
Traditional foods: Kalahari truffles, seafood, potijekos (one-pot stew), rauchfleish (smoked meat)
Strong German influence in architecture and food
Home to two large deserts, the Namib and Kalahari
Handshakes are important greetings in this culture, but an emphasis on public displays of affection between spouses is frowned upon in rural regions

South Africa

Republic of South Africa

Capital: Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein
Official Language: 11 official languages
Monetary Unit: South African rand
Region: Southern Africa

Size: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Bodies of Water: Indian Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean
Climate: semi arid, subtropical east coast, sunny days and cooler nights
National Sites: Oviston Nature Reserve, Gariep Dam Nature Reserve, Sandveld Nature Reserve, Tankwa Karoo National Park, Grootwinterhoek, Cederberg Mountain
Traditional foods: braai (South African BBQ), Indian influences in spices and samosas, Dutch influences in sausages and meat pies, Portuguese fish dishes

Uganda

Republic of Uganda

Capital: Kampala
Official Language: English, Swahili
Monetary Unit: Ugandan Shilling (UGX)
Region: Central Eastern Africa

Size: slightly smaller than Oregon
Bodies of Water: Lake Victoria, Lake Edward, Lake George, Lake Albert, Lake Kyoga, Lake Kwania
Climate: tropical, generally rainy, July will be in dry season
National Sites: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park
Traditional foods: matoke (plaintain), luombo (spicy stew), oluwombo (rice, chicken, tomatoes)
Ugandan coffee brings interest from coffee-lovers everywhere
Buganda legend says that the first man on Earth planted a matoke (plantain) tree for his descendants