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6
Tanzania

Disappearing Act

While people debate the exact causes of global warming, and what, if anything should be done about it, many of the countries on our list are already experiencing its impact. Scientists estimate that the telltale snow cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro will be gone within two decades, while residents of Shishmaref Inlet in Alaska may soon be forced to move as rising sea levels swallow their island into the sea [source: National Geographic].

The largest of the East African countries, Tanzania is perhaps most well known as the home of Serengeti National Park, host to the longest wildlife migration on the planet and the most diverse collection of land animals [source: Serengeti]. An impressive 14 percent of the country's land area is set aside for conservation, making Tanzania a haven for the wildebeest, zebras, elephants and other animals that rely on the African plains [source: Government of Tanzania].

Tanzania can be divided into three distinct regions: the coastal plains, which are tropical; the central plateau; and the highlands. The last two are both fairly temperate. Temperatures in most of the country stay above 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) at all times, while those in the highlands range between 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) and 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) [source: Government of Tanzania].

Despite its proximity to the equator, Tanzania is able to avoid extremes in heat thanks to the cooling effects of the Indian Ocean on its eastern border as well as the breezes from 19,341-foot (5,895-meter) Mt. Kilimanjaro, which has a perpetual cover of snow and is the highest point on the African continent. Although you won't find snow anywhere else, you can always cool off in one of the country's many impressive bodies of water, including the world's second largest fresh-water lake (Lake Victoria) as well as its second deepest (Lake Tanganyika) [source: CIA World Factbook].

For our next three countries, we head north to Europe. First up: France.

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