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Language And Culture

The official language in Tanzania is Swahili but there are hundreds of other local dialects. English is the second official language and the country’s commercial language. It is also the main teaching language used for all higher education institutions. You will find that the majority of the people that you come in contact with are fluent in English and have a surprisingly good command of the language. Some useful and fun Swahili words and phrases are as follows:

English Swahili
Hello Jambo
Response to Jambo Jambo or SiJambo
How are you? Habari?
Good Nzuri
How's Things? (fun slang) Mambo?
Good (fun reply to Mambo) Poa
Have a good trip (safe journey) Safari Njema
Thank You Asante Sana
You're Welcome Karibu Sana
Yes Ndiyo
No Hapana
OK Sawa
No Problem Hakuna Noma
Good Night La La Salama


Tanzania’s culture is a result of African, European, Arabic and Indian influences. The mainland population is comprised of over 100 tribal groups. The Tanzanians are friendly people (especially to foreigners). Politeness, respect and modesty are highly valued. Handshakes are very important and it is also kind if you learn a few basic Swahili greetings before you arrive. Immodest attire or tattered clothing and open anger are disrespectful to the Tanzanian people.