Culture & People

Culture and People of Tanzania | Languages, Food, Music

Tanzania prides in a charming blend of influences that comprises of more than 120 tribes. The country ranks among the most ethnically diverse states in the whole world. These range from the peaceful tall Maasai warriors, the Wameru who are great agriculturalists, the farmers as well as the traders of the Chaga tribe, the primitive Hadza Bushmen to the well talented artistic Makonde people among others. Although each of these different tribes has a unique lifestyle they have managed to stay in unity for years in Tanzania.

Language Connection in Tanzania

With more than 120 languages spoken all over the country with majority of them being from the Bantu group, the Tanzanian government decided after independence they introduce a national language to create unity in the country. Swahili which is a coastal language of the Bantu group commonly referred to as Kiswahili was chosen as the primary official language with English coming second to it. Swahili was introduced to several schools by the government in an effort to reinforce its use and fortunately it merged as the people’s favorite language due to its wide use especially along the Tanzanian coast. Using a single language has highly facilitated the national trade, information dissemination, conflict resolutions as well as political debates.

Demography and Population Estimate of Tanzania

Today Tanzania holds an estimated total population of 30 million people among which are the local Tanzanians, Indians, Europeans, Pakistani and Arabs.  The urban large cities such as Dar es Salaam, Tabora, Mbeya and Mwanza hold overwhelming populations of people in addition to the shores of Lake Malawi as well as the foothills Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tanzanian Food and Beverages

Tanzania’s cuisine includes a variety of exceptional dishes among which are coastal cuisines which are characterized by spicy foods plus coconut milk. Among these foods are; Biryani, Pilau (mixed rice), Bagia, Sambusa / Samosa, kabab and Kashata(coconut/groundnuts rolls) the further you move inland, you will discover less spicy foods like the Wali(rice), Chapati, Kuku choma/grilled chicken, Nyama pori /wild or bush meat, Kiti Moto/grill pork, Ndizi / Plantains/ bananas, Ugali, Nyama Choma/grilled meat, peas, beans, fish, cassava leaves among others all prepared with a true Tanzanian recipe.

Among the well-known Snacks are; bread rolls -Maandazi, Visheti, coconut / groundnuts rolls- Kashata, Kabab, Samosas, rice cakes ,Bagia, grilled gizzards-Firigisi, dates- Tende,  groundnuts- karanga, fried fish balls-Daga.

Local beverages include; tea/ Chai normally served for breakfast beverage with Chapati, Maadazi, eggs or breads, and coffee / Kahawa. Coffee with coconut / groundnuts rolls (Kashata) is more frequently consumed in the evenings, as people watch the setting sun at the comfort of their porches, or while playing board games or having social chats.

In addition Tanzania locally produces a number is local beers, spirits plus wines among which are Konyagi, Kilimanjaro beer, Serengeti beer, Banana Wine and Safarai beer.

Music and Entertainment Trend

Tanzania’s music industry has over the past years grown significantly and thanks to the blend of the different cultures, the local music is well merging into the new international music and complimented with imported rhythms plus sounds. In addition, local Tanzanian musicians today are ranked among the best in the whole of East Africa.

Among the traditional musical instruments in Tanzania are: ngoma, Filimbi (which are whistles made from bone / wood), marimba, (which are made from buffalo or bull horns or ivory) and coconut-shell-fiddles.

So plan your trip today and enjoy a Tanzania Safari to explore more the intriguing culture and lifestyle of the hospitable and very tranquil natives of Tanzania through any of the Tour operators in the country.