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

Wildlife Wonders in Tanzania (13 days)

day 1

day 2 to 3

Northern Serengeti

day 4

Central Serengeti
  • Wildlife Wonders in Tanzania (13 days)
  • Wildlife Wonders in Tanzania (13 days)
  • Wildlife Wonders in Tanzania (13 days)
  • Wildlife Wonders in Tanzania (13 days)
  • Wildlife Wonders in Tanzania (13 days)
  • Wildlife Wonders in Tanzania (13 days)


day 7 to 8

Lake Eyasi

day 9 to 10

day 11 to 12

Tarangire National Park

day 13

Departure

View Full Itinerary

Popular Tanzania Safaris

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

 | 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...

Pel's Fishing Owl in flight | Secret Selous Game Reserve Sojourn (6 days)

Secret Selous Game Reserve Sojourn (6 days)

Explore the Selous Game Reserve and Stiegler's Gorge by 4x4, boat or walking safari, looking for Pel's fishing owl, wild dog, rhino and elephant...

 | Tanzania couples safari

Tanzania couples safari

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

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 ...

 | 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...

 | 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...

 | Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)

Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)

We're offering our guests the chance to explore two world-famous destinations in under a week ...

The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. | HerdTracker Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Adventure (7 days)

HerdTracker Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Adventure (7 days)

Experience the wildebeest migration in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park with HerdTracker...

 | 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....

 | Great Migration Safari in the Serengeti (9 days)

Great Migration Safari in the Serengeti (9 days)

Join HerdTracker on a Tanzania migration safari in the Serengeti National Park....



You might also like

Family safaris in Tanzania

Family travel – especially big or extended families travelling together – can prove a bit chaotic and more costly, but there is something so special about experiencing and sharing superb safari experiences with your children and partner. Most safari camps and lodges also have one or two family suites where adjoining rooms or tents allow mom and dad their own space, while still…

Tanzania visa requirements

Visitors to Tanzania require a passport that is valid for at least six months after the initial date of travel. Almost all visitors to Tanzania require a tourist visa, which costs between US$20 and US$100 for a tourist visa that is valid for three months. While most embassy and travel websites will encourage you to get this visa before departing your home country (especially if you…

Tanzania in January

Tanzania experiences two rainy seasons and two dry seasons: the short dry season runs from late January to early March, and the long dry season from June to October. In between are the short rains of November to January and long rains from late March to May with April being an extremely wet and challenging month to get around. The country’s parks and attractions are at their busiest…

Shopping in Tanzania

Most mainstream tourist destinations in Tanzania offer opportunities for souvenir shopping. Popular gifts to take back home include: Maasai tartan blankets and beadwork, Tanzanite jewellery, traditional woodcarvings and hand-printed batik fabrics. As a general rule, you’re much more likely to find a bargain at a local market as opposed to in a shopping centre or craft shop frequented by…

Dining in Tanzania

Tanzanian cuisine is both unique and incredibly varied with a strong Indian influence permeating many of the dishes. Along the coast and throughout the Zanzibar archipelago spicy foods are common with coconut being a leading ingredient. Regions of Tanzania’s mainland also have their own unique local foods. Some typical mainland Tanzanian foods include: wali (rice), ugali (maize porridge),…

Safety in Tanzania

Tanzania is generally a safe, hassle-free country, but you still need to take the usual safety precautions and keep up with local travel advisories. Take note of the following safety tips in order to stay safe while in Tanzania: Avoid isolated areas, especially remote stretches of beach; and safety in numbers. In cities and tourist areas always take a taxi at night and only from…

Birding safari in Tanzania

The wild expanses of Tanzania offers the ultimate paradise for birding enthusiasts. While there’s plenty of birdwatching opportunities in Tanzania, you will get a wonderful experience being guided by professionals. The huge list of bird species to be found here make bird watching safaris in Tanzania the most sought after activity among bird lovers. Tanzania is a well-known safari…

A relaxing safari in Tanzania

Wildlife safaris are not known to be particularly relaxing. While you often get an afternoon siesta and even some spa time if you’re fortunate enough to be staying in a fancy lodge, the early morning starts and many hour spent rattling and rolling along rutted game drive tracks can take their toll. Similarly, while trekking and climbing mountains tick all the active and adventurous…

Ready to start your adventure?

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