Tanzania... within the space of several hours, it is possible to go from lazing on idyllic beaches to exploring ruins of ancient Swahili city-states; from climbing slopes in the Southern Highlands to trekking through barren landscapes guided by a spear-carrying Maasai warrior.

Think of the 'African experience' and a kaleidoscope of images springs to mind; herds of zebra, wildebeest and gazelle stretching to the horizon under pearly dawn skies; a cheetah stalking through dry grass; a warrior striding into the sunset; white beaches backed by coconut palms swaying in the breeze off a warm sea; a snow-capped mountain rising out of the red dust of the plains. All these images reflect the beauty of not simply a great continent, but just one country - Tanzania.

Basking south of the Equator over an area half the size of Western Europe, Tanzania is a land of boundless fascination and diversity. From the vast lakes of the interior to the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, and from the northern mountains to the southern Ruvuma River, the country is a mosaic of tropical forest, savannah grassland and shimmering lakes containing some of the largest and most beautiful wilderness areas in the world.