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

Game viewing | Green Season Wildebeest Migration Safari (11 days)

Green Season Wildebeest Migration Safari (11 days)

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

 | World Cup of Wildlife Migration Safari with HerdTracker (9 days)

World Cup of Wildlife Migration Safari with HerdTracker (9 days)

This is the stage on which the greatest wildlife show on earth and plays out, as it is by far the greatest mass movement of land mammals on the entire globe....

Landscape | Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

For the average climber, Machame is probably the most reliable route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and the roof of Africa...

 | The Serengeti on Foot (9 days)

The Serengeti on Foot (9 days)

There's no better way to get close to nature and feel alive than on foot, and no better place to walk than the remarkable Serengeti...

 | HerdTracker July/October Great Wildebeest Migration safari

HerdTracker July/October Great Wildebeest Migration safari

The movement takes place in Tanzania, which covers Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha and Tarangire National Park...

 | HerdTracker’s February Wildebeest Calving Season Safari in Tanzania (9 days)

HerdTracker's February Wildebeest Calving Season Safari in Tanzania (9 days)

Travelling to Tanzania during the calving season is a sight to behold and something unique to the region...

 | Honeymoon Safari in the Serengeti National Park (6 days)

Honeymoon Safari in the Serengeti National Park (6 days)

Enjoy a romantic honeymoon at the Ngorongoro Crater where you can spot the Big Five and experience the wildlife-rich Serengeti National Park...

Stopping for drinks | Affordable Green Season Safari in Tanzania (8 days)

Affordable Green Season Safari in Tanzania (8 days)

From Lake Manyara to the Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti, this Tanzania safari offers real value and shows off the burgeoning green world of Tanzania's rainy season migration ...

 | 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...

 | 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...

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