Africa, African Great Lakes Region, Earth, Eastern Africa, Tanzania

Tanzania – 500 Shilingi

Tanzania

A Bountiful Harvest of Coffee is celebrated artistically on our banknote.  On the left is a broad view of a well organized farm.  On the right is detail of the coffee plant and fruit.  At center is a large coffee plant and at left the coffee fruit is being separated.

Tanzania

The zebra and giraffe adorn our banknote, and, at center is the coat of arms of Tanzania.

Tanzania coat of arms

The central shield bears four images from top to bottom: the enflamed torch, the flag of Tanzania, a crossed axe and hoe, a spear over a pattern of waves.

The shield rests upon the image of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The shield is surrounded on the left and right with the tusks of the elephant.

The shield is upheld by a man standing upon a plant of cloves, and a woman standing upon a plant of cotton.

Beneath them is the unfurled banner with the motto of the nation, Freedom and Unity in Swahili.

The giraffe looks out at us from our banknote of Tanzania.  We cannot see the totality of our graceful creature, but if we were to zoom out, we would find that we would have to zoom out more than for perhaps any other land-based living mammal.  Our giraffe is, likely, a Masai giraffe, the largest subspecies of the entire giraffe family, residing in southern Kenya and, our, Tanzania.  The Masai giraffe is also known as the Kilimanjaro giraffe.  As Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, so the Masai giraffe is the tallest mammal on the earth.  Our giraffe can be 19 feet tall, and, with its 6 foot long legs, can run at about 35 miles per hour..

The coat patterns vary among the various giraffe subspecies, the masai giraffe’s spots being somewhat more jagged than jagged.  It is believed that no two individual’s spot patterns are identical and thus individuals may be identified.

The Masai giraffe is generally found in Tanzania and Kenya and Somalia and Ethiopia.

Africa, African Great Lakes Region, Eastern Africa, Rwanda

Rwanda Zebras

detail from Rwanda (1989) 100 francs banknote

Zebras are beloved in Africa for their beauty.  They are very social roaming in clans, called by humans “harems”, with long lasting committed relationships.  A harem consists of a stallion, several mares and their offspring.  Many harems will congregate into a herd during migrations and for protection.  They’ll remain together and act in coordination to defend against predators.

 

 

 

 

 

Rwanda (1989) 100 francs banknote

Herds can be seen today roaming in the grasslands of Akagera National Park near the shores of Lake Ihema in Northeast Rwanada, a region shared with giraffe, hippo, buffalo and hundreds of species of bird. 

 

 

 

detail from banknote showing volcanoes Karisimbi and Bisoke

Volcanoes National Park is in Northwest Rwanda and is the first national park in all of Africa.  It is dominated by five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains.  Two of the volcanoes, Karisimbi and  Bisoke are illustrated on this banknote.  The region, covered in rainforest and bamboo is just 100 miles or so, as the wildlife roams, from Akagera National Park.     

According to Wikipedia, “Recent civil wars in Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda have caused dramatic declines in all wildlife populations, including those of plains zebra. It is now extinct in Burundi.”  Why is Volcanoes National ark depicted on the same 1988 banknote as the Zebra?  I do not know, but the suggestion occurs to me that perhaps zebras were well known on the sides of the mountains but departed elsewhere during the war.

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