Do They Speak English In Tanzania

Do They Speak English In Tanzania

  • Tanzania Safaris
  • Apr 24, 2024
  • 0

Tanzania is a beautiful East African country known for its diverse wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture. With over 120 ethnic groups and languages, one might wonder if English is spoken in Tanzania.

History of English in Tanzania

During the 19th century, Tanzania was under British rule, and English was introduced as the official language. After Tanzania gained independence in 1961, English remained the official language, along with Swahili. This was due to English being considered a language of business and education.

Who Speaks English in Tanzania?

Although Swahili is the most widely spoken language in Tanzania, English is spoken and understood by a large percentage of the population. It is the primary language of instruction in schools and is used in government and business settings.

Urban areas, such as the capital city of Dodoma and the major cities of Dar es Salaam and Arusha, have a higher concentration of English speakers. However, it is also common to find English speakers in rural areas, especially in regions that attract many tourists.

The Education System in Tanzania

In Tanzania, English is taught in schools as a subject from primary school through university. This means that most Tanzanians are exposed to English from a young age, providing them with a solid foundation in the language.

English is also the medium of instruction in secondary schools and universities, making it essential for students to have a good grasp of the language to excel in their studies.

Tourism in Tanzania

Tanzania is a popular tourist destination, drawing in millions of visitors each year to experience its stunning landscapes and wildlife. With tourism being one of the country's main sources of income, it is crucial for locals working in the industry to be able to communicate with international travelers.

English is widely spoken among people working in the tourism industry, such as tour guides, hotel staff, and safari operators. This not only facilitates communication with tourists but also allows for a better understanding of their needs and preferences, enhancing the overall travel experience.

Benefits of Speaking English in Tanzania

Speaking English in Tanzania opens up numerous opportunities for locals. It not only facilitates communication with tourists and international businesses, but it also provides access to a wide range of information and resources.

English proficiency also helps in the job market, as many employers in Tanzania value employees who can speak English fluently. It increases the chances of securing employment in sectors such as tourism, IT, and international organizations.

Challenges and Improvements

Despite English being widely spoken in Tanzania, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of the primary challenges is the quality of English instruction in schools. Many students struggle with the language due to inadequate teaching resources, overcrowded classrooms, and a lack of trained English teachers.

To improve the situation, the Tanzanian government has implemented various initiatives, such as teacher training programs and updating curriculum materials. Additionally, NGOs and international organizations are providing support and resources to schools to enhance English language teaching.


In conclusion, English is spoken and understood in Tanzania, making it easier for tourists and businesspeople to communicate with locals. The language also provides many opportunities for Tanzanians in the job market and access to information and resources. However, there is still room for improvement in English language education, and efforts are being made to address this. 

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