This week we’ll travel to Tanzania and we will actually look at 3 different notes – all picturing large animals – the lion, the rhino, and the elephant. All 3 of these notes have a Hologram Security Foil, which was first introduced in the world of banknotes in 1988 as a security feature on a note from Austria.
The first note is the 2,000 Shillings p37 2003 note showing a lion, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Old Omani Arab Fort (Ngome Kongwe). It is estimated that 50% of the remaining lions in sub-Saharan Africa reside in Tanzania. The greatest number of lions in Tanzania live in the Serengeti (estimated to be about 3,000). There has been a decline in the lion population, and this is due to conflict between lions and the locals who are expanding their farmlands or livestock onto land formerly inhabited by lions. The lions are known to attack livestock, and at times people, which leads to retaliation by the farmers, killing more and more lions. Some groups are making efforts to relocate lions to National Parks and Wildlife Reserves in order to protect these endangered animals. Hopefully the people of Tanzania will see the value in finding ways to save this beautiful creature.
The “Ngome Kongwe” (local name for the Old Omani Arab Fort) is a popular tourist attraction located in Stone Town which is on the Unguja Island off the coast of Tanzania. It was built around 1699 by a group of Arabs from Oman who overthrew the Portuguese who had been in control of the Zanzibar region of Unguja for nearly 2 centuries. Since that time the Fort has had many uses, including a prison, a terminal of the Zanzibar railways, a ladies’ club, and an amphitheater. It now also has some shops, a café, and a tourist information center. It sounds like a very neat place to visit should one find themselves in Tanzania!
The second note we will look at is the 5,000 Shillings p38 2003 note, which depicts a black rhinoceros, balancing rocks, the House of Wonders, and mining machinery. Black rhinos are considered critically endangered and the biggest threat to this species is poaching. These massive animals stand 140–180 cm (55–71 in) high at the shoulder and are 3–3.75 m (9.8–12.3 ft) in length. An adult typically weighs from 800 to 1,400 kg (1,760 to 3,090 lb), but some male rhinos on rare occasions have been reported at up to 2,896 kg (6,385 lb)! The front horn is usually about 50 cm (20 in) long, and again in rare cases up to 140 cm (55 in). In spite of their size, these animals are quite good at hiding themselves, making sightings rare – have any of you seen one (not at the zoo – that’s cheating!)?
The House of Wonders (Did anyone else think of Aladdin? “Cave of Wonders….” No? Just me?) is also located in Stone Town right next to the Ngome Kongwe that was on the previous note. The palace was built in 1883 for Barghash bin Said who was the Sultan of Zanzibar at that time. It was given the name House of Wonders (or Palace of Wonders) for being the first building in the area to have some modern technologies such as electricity and an elevator. It is also architecturally unique for its time, having had above ground covered passageways to nearby palaces so the royal families could travel between the palaces unseen. Supposedly the Sultan also kept wild animals and had the main doorway made large enough that he could ride an elephant through it. This sounds like another neat place to visit but unfortunately it is currently closed for repair as it partially collapsed on Christmas Day 2020 and may take years to rebuild!
Our final note for this blog is the 10,000 Shillings p39 2003 note which features an elephant, the Bank of Tanzania Headquarters located in Dar es Salaam, a water fountain, and flowers. The elephants in Tanzania face both of the threats that we discussed earlier with the Lions and Rhinos – they are victims of retaliation by farmers when they eat or crush their crops, and they are also victims of poachers for their ivory tusks. I read one interesting article that was talking about helping farmers to build chili fences (it’s just what it seems – fences built with chili peppers) as the elephants are deterred by the chilis. This seemed to me to be a cost effective and creatively safe way to protect crops from the elephants, so it will be interesting to see if this becomes a popular practice. The government has also taken action over the last several years to crack down on poaching, and the elephant population has since begun to rise in Tanzania. This is great news and hopefully will continue!
I hope you enjoyed learning about these 3 lovely Tanzanian notes that feature some majestic animals – I am looking forward to seeing where we will travel to next week!
Denomination: 2000 Shillings
Pick #: 37a
Coloration: Light Brown
Depictions: Lion; Crest; Old Omani Arab Fort (Ngome Kongwe); Hologram Security Foil
Note Size: 5 1/2″ x 2 3/4 “
Denomination: 5000 Shillings
Pick #: 38
Coloration: Light Pink and Green
Depictions: Rhino, Hologram security strip, Crest, Mining Machinery, House Of Wonders
Note Size: 5.25 x 2.5
Denomination: 10000 Shillings
Pick #: 39
Coloration: Light Pink and Green
Depictions: Elephant, Hologram security strip, Crest, Bank of Tanzania Headquarters located in Dar es Salaam
Note Size: 6 x 3