FAQ Tanzania Culture and Customs

What are the languages spoken in Tanzania?

KiSwahili and English are the official languages and spoken by most people living in Tanzania; as well as this, there are many ethnic groups, speaking localised languages and dialects. Try to learn some basic Swahili before you depart on your safari; the locals will definitely appreciate your efforts.
  • Hello = Jambo / hujambo / Salama
  • How are you? = Habari gani
  • Fine (response) = Nzuri
  • Goodbye = Kwa heri / Kwa herini (more than one peson)
  • See you later = Tutaonana
  • Nice to meet you = Nafurahi kukuona
  • Goodnight = Lala salama
  • Thank you =Asante

What are the religions that can be encountered in Tanzania?

The predominant religions in Tanzania are Christianity and Islam with about 40 - 45 % of the population practicing Christianity and 35 - 40 % practicing Islam. The rest of the population has stuck to traditional beliefs that are based on ancestor worship and nature-based animism.
The beliefs of Tanzanians are indicative of the history of the country with Christianity being brought in by missionaries and colonialists while Islam came to the country via the Arabs during the east coast trading heyday. Generally the coast is predominantly Muslim and the interior is more Christian.

Will I be able to experience some of the culture of Tanzania?

The people of Tanzania are very friendly towards visitors and there will be opportunities to interact with the locals. Probably the most famous African culture today is that of the Maasai - with the red-robed figures featuring in most east African safari photo albums.
Please remember to ask before taking a photo of a local person as it is deemed very rude not to. For more modern cultural experiences the music and food of the Tanzania of today can be experienced in the nightclubs - in particular in Dar Es Salaam.

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