Culture of Tanzania
Discover the age old traditions and rich culture of Tanzania with our travel tips.
The vast cultural diversity of Tanzania is most witnessed in the lyrics of the country’s national anthem Mungu Ibariki Afrika, which focuses on unity. As a patriarchal, community-centric culture, Tanzania considers family to be very important. By learning the basic Kiswahili language, such as Jambo (Hello), you will be a guest who is positively received!
The majority of Tanzanians (55%) are Muslims, and there are 35% Christians, as well as a few ethnic groups with their own native belief systems. The culture is very respectful to its different religions and Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas are usually celebrated together by all. Intermarriages are common, and it is not uncommon to find few Christians having more than one wife or Muslims drinking beer during some cultural ceremonies.
Culture in Tanzania embraces creativity. Tanzanian literature boasts few eminent writers – Shafi Adam Shafi, Chachage Seithy L. Chachage, Amandina Lihamba, Edwin Semzaba, Penina Muhando Mlama and Euphrase Kezilahabi. Makonde sculpture is quite famous in Tanzania and the country has its own unique Tingatinga painting style. In music, in among traditional forms, you may also experience during your Tanzania tour the new genre of Bongoflava, a derivative of American hip hop.
English and Swahili are the official languages spoken in Tanzania and Swahili is the national language of Tanzania. There are a total of 128 languages spoken throughout Tanzania, with most from the Bantu Family. Wildlife and nature are an important part of the culture, which is best experienced meeting local people during your Tanzania safari within one of the country’s spectacular national parks.
Go on your Tanzania tour with an open heart and you will have a marvelous time!
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Culture of Tanzania: Travel tips
1. With the Islamic influence, you can expect the coastal areas to be more conservative and we recommend when you are not on the beach you should dress respectfully and discreetly, covering up exposed arms and legs.
2. During conversations, people are generally addressed by their surname or married name.
3. Tanzanians are likely to touch your shoulder or hand, and look you in the eye. Eye contact is very important if it is a conversation requiring trust, as avoiding eye contact implies that you are dishonest or not committed to what you saying.
4. People often talk at close range as standing away is an unwelcome sign.
5. Public displays of affection, anger, or other emotions are not acceptable as it is considered boastful and arrogant.
6. Punctuality is not considered important in the culture, therefore a degree of patience may be required.
7. Bargaining is not only a commonly used practice but also a necessary one. Unless you are in a high-end store where prices are fixed, please feel free to bargain.
8. There is a vast difference between the rich and poor, and pick-pocketing is quite prevalent. Precautions should be taken in towns and cities like in any other city worldwide. Make use of hotel safes or deposit boxes during your Tanzania tour; Check beforehand with hotel staff, your guide or police about the areas you plan to visit; Avoid wearing visible jewelry or carrying cameras and bags over your shoulder and just carry minimum cash; Keep mobile phones and wallets hidden from view.
9. In Tanzania connections to various accommodations in the national parks can be accessed by either road or, if distances are too far, by air on small bush planes. There are daily flights to the major parks. Charter flights are also available and guests are free to choose this option depending on their preference and budget.
Experience colorful culture and a deep connection between people and nature during your Tanzania tour.
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