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

Wildebeest Migration

The Migration River Crossings July to September

Experience one of Africa's greatest spectacles – smell the…

Migration Safari in Kenya and Tanzania

See the beauty of nature's greatest wildlife spectacle on one…

Close up view of Wildebeest

Tanzania - medium budget, maximum game viewing

Visit Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorogoro Crater and Serengeti…

HerdTracker July/October Great Wildebeest Migration safari

The movement takes place in Tanzania, which covers Serengeti…

Affordable Ngorongoro & Serengeti Safari

We're offering our guests the chance to explore two…

9-day Great Wildebeest Migration safari with HerdTracker

This is the stage on which the greatest wildlife show on earth…

Landscape

Kilimanjaro climb, Machame route - 7 days on the mountain

For the average climber, Machame is probably the most reliable…

Stopping for drinks

Wet season Tanzania - best value migration safari

From Lake Manyara to the Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti,…

Pel's Fishing Owl in flight

The Selous Game Reserve and Pel’s fishing owl

Explore the Selous Game Reserve and Stiegler's Gorge by 4x4,…

10-day HerdTracker August great migration safari

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


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Travel advice for Tanzania

The following practical information and travel advice is worth knowing as you look to plan your trip to Tanzania and embark on the safari of a lifetime: Tanzania’s unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling, which is necessary for purchasing souvenirs, drinks and food in local shops and…

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…

Why go to Tanzania

The statistics speak for themselves: Africa’s highest and fifth-highest mountains, Africa’s most spectacular mammalian migration, the world’s largest intact volcanic crater, and the Serengeti: a place that many regard to be the greatest national park on the continent.…