Know the Tanzania culture before you travel

August 26, 2019
4 minutes read
Know the Tanzania culture before you travel

Tanzania is known for its exotic wildlife, rich culture and ancient cities and because it has become a popular destination for travellers, it is important we know their culture and some of the things they value so that you can consider them during your visit or staycation.
When it comes to culture, Tanzania is known as the land of politeness, respect and modesty are the virtues that are highly valued by Tanzanians. This country has a harmonious national culture which is based on courtesy and respect.
If you travel there for adventure, because that location and geography is a tourist attraction country, Take time to greet people before you ask for directions. It is also important to keep control of one’s temper and emotions in public, this is also because young men and women in rural areas are not supposed to show mutual affection in public especially in the daylight, although the rule is mostly broken in urban centres. That does not mean you cannot hold hands in public because it is also a sign of friendship or comradeship esp for young boys and men. Women are not supposed to be seen smoking or even drunkenness including raising voice in an uncontrolled manner.

Am sure you want to know the common greetings in Tanzania, Handshakes are highly appreciated because it is a sign of social etiquette, even if you enter a room of  like 30 people gathered maybe for a ceremony or a meeting it is usually expected that you will take time and greet all of them at a time with a handshake, there is also a certain order of greetings because you are required to start with the oldest people ,then proceed with the rest and finish with the youngest in that order. Note that to skip or rushing through the greetings in the process is regarded as a form of poor manners.
Another wired culture in Tanzania is that they normally use the right hand for eating and the left hand for toilet duties, for instance When receiving items from others, do so with both hands, or with the right hand while touching the left hand to your right elbow as a sign of respect and courtesy.
When addressing people it is also important to use titles as appropriate e.g. Mr, Mrs, dr etc but that is also based on the academic professional. Parents are also given a certain level of respect such that if you are referring to the mother or father of your friend, do not use their names but you can refer them using the name of their child e.g. mama Mary, and baba Mary respectively such way it is a show of respect.
How to dress while in Tanzania
The dressing is also considered a form of respect, for instance, wearing tight clothes for women who are too revealing is a sign of disrespect. While you are in Zanzibar, it will be nice if you can dress modestly out of respect for Muslim cultural beliefs, women should be covered above the elbow and knees.
There are several festivals throughout the year in Tanzania featuring traditional dress and dance examples are the Wanyambo Festival which happens in Dar es Salaam and the Mwaka Kogwa Festival in which it happens in Zanzibar.
The Tanzania culture is Swahili, an Arab/African mix, but there are also big Asian communities, particularly Indian, in towns and cities. You are allowed to take photographs at the locals but it is good to always ask first. Some Maasai will charge you for this:).

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