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Languages spoken in Tanzania

With around 129 different ethnic groups, the Republic of Tanzania has evolved the greatest linguistic diversity in the whole of the African continent with four major African language bases, ranging from Bantu, Cushitic and the Nilotic languages to the less comprehensively spoken Khoisan. One of the founding directives of independent Tanzania was that no ethnic group should dominate, and this was made easier by the fact that none of the 129 tribes and sub-tribes exceeds much more than 10% of the country’s overall population. A governmental drive continues to reduce tribal differentiation by promoting Swahili.

Children in a local Tanzanian village

With such a diversity of people contained within the boundaries of Tanzania, having Swahili as a national language has brought about the country’s strong sense of national identity. It is interesting to note that in Tanzania all primary school education is taught in Swahili, but when school children graduate from primary school and enter secondary school, the medium of instruction switches overnight to English. This makes for an incredibly difficult adjustment and many children drop out of school or fail their national exams at this point.

Tanzanian women

As the national language, Swahili is the most widely spoken language with English being largely absent from rural Tanzania and only really found in the larger towns, cities and tourist areas.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Tanzania wildlife and cultural safari

day 1

day 2 to 3

Northern Serengeti

day 4

Central Serengeti
  • Tanzania wildlife and cultural safari
  • Tanzania wildlife and cultural safari
  • Tanzania wildlife and cultural safari
  • Tanzania wildlife and cultural safari
  • Tanzania wildlife and cultural safari
  • Tanzania wildlife and cultural safari


day 7 to 8

Lake Eyasi

day 9 to 10

day 11 to 12

Tarangire National Park

day 13

Departure

View Full Itinerary

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Travelling to Tanzania

Most visitors enter Tanzania by air, although the options for airlines are extremely limited. Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro international airports are serviced by Kenya Airways from Nairobi, Air Rwanda from Kigali, Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa, and South African Airways from Johannesburg, as well as KLM from Amsterdam, Turkish Airlines from Istanbul, and Qatar Airways from Doha.…

Languages spoken in Tanzania

With around 129 different ethnic groups, the Republic of Tanzania has evolved the greatest linguistic diversity in the whole of the African continent with four major African language bases, ranging from Bantu, Cushitic and the Nilotic languages to the less comprehensively spoken Khoisan. One of the founding directives of independent Tanzania was that no ethnic group should dominate, and…

Birding safari in Tanzania

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Tanzania in April

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Popular Tanzania Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

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The wildebeest migration, is one of the “Seven New Wonder of the World” and also known as The World Cup of Wildlife. If there is a safari you should go on, this has to be it!...

Serengeti Wildebeests in Kenya | Wildlife and culture – the perfect balance (EA 11 days)

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Balance Tanzania's wildlife highlights, such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, with the rich cultural heritage of local tribes like the Masai...

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This four-in-one calving season safari includes not only the Serengeti, but Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Ngorogoro Crater...

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Tanzania - medium budget, maximum game viewing

Visit Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorogoro Crater and Serengeti for a four-in-one safari you'll remember forever...

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Experience the best of Africa, from the Okavango Delta – one of Africa's Seven Natural Wonders – to the endangered mountain gorillas and East Africa's Great Migration...

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