Booking Policy with Free Cancellation Read More X

| 4 min Read

7 handy tips on Tanzanian culture

Contents:
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Feeling Inspired – Let us help plan your trip for FREE

    1. Tortilis_Ngorongoro_0097

    Tanzania Classic

    Whether you’re a seasoned or a first-time traveler, research is a big part of any holiday planning, especially if you want to learn about Tanzanian culture.

    Similar to reading up about the best things to do and seeing the weather, and what to pack, it’s always interesting to do some research into the cultural norms of the city or country you are visiting.

    Understanding a little bit about culture also allows you to have a more immersive experience. So, here are 7 handy tips about the culture and etiquette in Tanzania.

    1. What to wear in Tanzanian culture

    Tanzania - fellco easytravel sh 1152 magic 1024x684 1 - 7 handy tips on tanzanian culture

    Tanzanians value the way you dress. And a well-dressed person is more respected in their culture. Even the poorest in Tanzania will try their best to dress well. When going out in public, it’s best to dress modestly. Tourists with a bit of bare skin is tolerated, but it’s better be on the conservative side; especially in the light of the fact that half of Tanzania’s population is Muslim. At the hotel, resort or beach you can dress more casual.

    For those heading to Zanzibar, remember the the island is predominantly Muslim. So, men…keep your muscular torso for the beach, and cover up with a shirt when heading into town. Similarly, ladies please avoid revealing, skimpy clothes when you’re heading out for a jaunt round town.

    2. Greeting people in Tanzanian culture

    Tanzania - fellco easytravel sh 1915 copy - 7 handy tips on tanzanian culture

    Handshakes are an important part of Tanzanian social etiquette. If you’re the first to extend a hand, make sure it’s your right hand. And when your handshake starts to feel more like you’re holding hands for the duration of your conversation – don’t panic. Most Tanzanians do this. A prolonged handshake indicates friendship.

    Something to be aware of is that your left hand is usually used for toilet duties – so best to use that right hand for eating, greeting, and giving or receiving objects.

    3. Food in Tanzanian culture

    You’ll also notice that some dishes are eaten sans cutlery, using only fingers. If you’re unsure of how to do this, ask your host. It’s a great experience. Remember the right hand rule – especially when reaching for food on a communal plate. When dishes are passed around for the first time, only take a small helping. This will allow you to accept seconds later, when offered. Once you have received your food, do not smell your food. This is seen as rude.

    Tanzanian culture

    4. Public affection in Tanzanian culture

    Tanzania - tanzania culture tips - 7 handy tips on tanzanian culture

    Traveling and romance go together like sundowners and cocktails. Our speciality 🙂 But having said that, public display of affection is taboo in Tanzania. Hugging, kissing and holding hands is something that should rather be kept in private. You might see same-sex hand holding in public – which is simply a sign a friendship and culturally acceptable.

    5. Taking photos of locals in Tanzanian culture

    Tanzania - massai tribe culture tour easy travel - 7 handy tips on tanzanian culture

    Please remember to ask before taking a photo of a local person as it is deemed very rude not to. Some ethnic groups believe that when a photo is taken of them, a piece of their soul is taken along with it. So, be respectful by asking permission beforehand, or just keep a lid on the lens.

    6. Language

    Tanzania - tanzania culture tips 3 - 7 handy tips on tanzanian culture

    The official language in Tanzania is Swahili but many people speak English. Having a few key phrases up your sleeve will make all the difference in your engagements with locals. One word you’ll get to know very well is: Mzungu. It means “person who walks in circles’, ‘aimless wanderer’, ‘nomad’ or ‘traveller’. Locals use it to describe Western tourists, and is in no way intended to be offensive.

    7. Respect for elders

    Tanzania - shutterstock 1522093532 - 7 handy tips on tanzanian culture

    Tanzanians consider elders as wiser and more knowledgeable and treat them with higher levels of respect than anyone else. There’s no prescribed way of doing this, but be cognisant of your behaviour when interacting with elders.

    If there is anything that we have missed, or you are unsure of, let us know by commenting below or sending us a message on one of our social media platforms.

    Getting there?

    Interested in visiting Tanzania — but not sure which tour, or agency to take? Easy Travel pride themselves on their 30+ years of experience providing amazing encounters, from safari tours to hiking tours as well as day tours. Check out our selection of tours here!

    Editor's Picks

    MAKE AN INQUIRY

    Experience it yourself with these tours

    Ready to plan?

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.