What languages are spoken in Tanzania?

The official language in Tanzania is Swahili – also referred to as Kiswahili. English has an official status and is the country’s commercial language. It is also the main teaching language used for all higher education institution. Arabic is widely spread – especially along the coast and in Zanzibar.

With more than 129 different ethnic groups, Tanzania has one of the greatest linguistic diversities in the entire African continent. Among the languages spoken are the four major African languages families: Bantu, Cushitic, Khoisan and Nilotic.

Below is a small selection of useful phrases for your trip in Tanzania. Although you might not be able to have a full communication in Swahili, Tanzanian’s will appreciate your effort if you use a few simple phrases!

Check out these helpful phrases

There are a few ways to say hello in Swahili

  • Jambo! (Hello – how are you?) – Answer: Sijambo (I’m fine)
  • Habari? (What’s new?) – Answer: Nzuri (Fine – to mean no bad news)
  • Shikamoo (greeting an elder) – Answer: Marahaba (I’m fine)

Further phrases depending on the time of the day:

  • Habari za asubuhi (Good morning) – Answer: Nzuri
  • Habari za jioni (Good evening) – Answer: Nzuri

Saying Goodbye in Swahili

  • Kwaheri (Goodbye)
  • Tuonane kesho (See you tomorrow)

Saying Goodnight in Swahili

  • Lala Salama (Sleep well) – Answer: Na wewe pia (you too)
  • Usiku mwema (Good night)

Further useful phrases

  • Asante (sana) – Thank you (very much)
  • Karibu – You are welcome
  • Safari njema – Have a safe journey
  • Pole – I’m sorry like getting dust on your cloths, sneezing, small pains
  • Pole, Pole – Slowly, Slowly – often used on the mountain
  • Samahani – Excuse me
  • Ndiyo / Hapana – Yes / No

What would you like to explore in Tanzania?


Tanzania is a very big country and one of East Africa’s most outstanding safari destination! Encounting wildlife in its natural habitat is an unforgettable adventure. Whether you would like to travel to the North, South, West or combine your Tanzania Safari with one of the neighbouring countries, we will be on your side to guide you!


Tanzania’s stunning mountain ranges can be best explored on a hiking or trekking journey. Whether you are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or one of the lesser-known alternatives, Tanzania will fascinate you with its stunning scenery! The Rift Valley and volcanoes; mountain ranges and plateaus; craters and lakes – all offer superb possibilities to immerse in Tanzania’s nature.

Beach Holidays

Tanzania’s endless coastline of palm fringed beaches, the Zanzibar archipelago and the neighbor islands Mafia and Pemba provide the perfect getaway for some relaxing beach days. Whether as a stand-alone beach holiday or a beach exentison after your safari on the mainland, we can assist to design a customized holiday just for you!