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.


Popular Tanzania Safaris

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

 | Best of Africa Safari (16 days)

Best of Africa Safari (16 days)

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...

 | August Migration Safari with HerdTracker (10 days)

August Migration Safari with HerdTracker (10 days)

Experience the drama of the nature's greatest spectacle in the Tanzania...

 | Wildebeest Migration Safari in Tanzania (11 days)

Wildebeest Migration Safari in Tanzania (11 days)

This tour is designed to allow maximum exposure to the Great Wildebeest Migration...

 | Tanzania July to October Great Migration Safari with HerdTracker (9 days)

Tanzania July to October Great Migration Safari with HerdTracker (9 days)

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!...

 | Tanzania and Kenya Highlights Safari (10 days)

Tanzania and Kenya Highlights Safari

This journey covers all the highlights of Tanzania and Kenya...

 | Tanzania couples safari

Tanzania couples safari

Enjoy the wildlife of Tanzania as well as the paradise of Zanzibar...

 | February Calving Season Safari in Tanzania (9 days)

February Calving Season Safari in Tanzania (9 days)

Visit Tanzania during the calving season to see wildebeest calves join the massive herds making their way through the Serengeti for the great migration....

 | East Africa Great National Parks Migration Safari (10 days)

East Africa Great National Parks Migration Safari

Explore the migration national parks in East Africa...

 | July Wildebeest Migration Safari with HerdTracker (10 days)

July Wildbeest Migration Safari with HerdTracker (10 days)

Experience the drama of the nature's greatest spectacle in the Serengeti National Park...

 | Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

Group Safari into Northern Tanzania (7 days)

Travel is so much better with friends. Experience the best parts of Tanzania through breath-taking landscapes, nature and wildlife at its best...

You might also like

Have some ideas?
Contact us and get a customised no-obligation itinerary

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM GMT+2