Customs and Traditions of Tanzania
Population and religion
According to Countryaah, the population at the time of the last census in 2009 is 38 million people. Natural growth annually increases the number of inhabitants by 2-3%. As in most African countries, large families are often found in Tanzania. According to statistics, on average, every woman in the country gives birth to four children in her life.
The ethnic composition of the country is mainly represented by the indigenous peoples of the Negroid race. About 1% are Europeans and Arabs. On the island of Zanzibar, which was not so exposed to Christianity during the colonial era, the majority of the population is made up of Arabs and mestizos – descendants of mixed marriages of representatives of local tribes and Arabs.
According to religious beliefs, Tanzania is one of the most loyal countries in Africa. In percentage terms, on the mainland, the local population gives equal preferences to both Islam and Christianity, and the original tribal cults. In recent years, there has been a trend towards a change in religious beliefs (mainly among Muslims) in favor of Christianity.
Zanzibar is 99% Muslim.
The official language of Tanzania is Swahili. English can be considered the second main language of the local population, since it was England that Tanzania belonged to as a colony before independence was declared.
On the island of Zanzibar, in addition to the two main languages, Arabic is widely spoken as the language of Islamic worship. Check agooddir for recent history of Tanzania.
Rules of conduct for tourists
The tourism business is one of the most important points of Tanzania ‘s GDP, and the local population, fully understanding this fact, will always treat visitors with respect and willingness to help.
It is worth remembering that the standard of living in African countries is extremely low compared to European countries, which affected the mentality of the population. This is especially evident in small villages in areas near national parks. White people are always of great interest here, and the tour buses attract a lot of attention, especially children. When tipping in small restaurants, be prepared that for these few dollars you will not only be treated in excess of the bill, but will be escorted to the exit.
One of the most important rules of conduct for visitors is the ban on smoking in public places. Smoking is allowed only in hotel rooms and in a number of restaurants in a special area. On the street, in clubs, cinemas, beaches, smoking is strictly prohibited, up to several hours of arrest.
The island of Zanzibar is known for its strict nature conservation law, one of the points of this law is the ban on the use of plastic bags. All goods here are issued in paper.
It is not recommended to drink tap water. It is better to stock up on mineral bottled water, then you will not have to go to medical institutions with acute poisoning.
In most hotels, even in the most expensive rooms, there will be kerosene lamps – power outages are the main trouble of modern Tanzania.
Despite sometimes even too courteous treatment of foreigners, the local population has an unspoken tradition of making fun of them. You should not ask the first person you meet for directions, smiling sweetly, he will show you a completely wrong path. Experienced tourists recommend introducing yourself as a journalist in such situations, English is well understood here, then the chance of deception decreases.
Most of all, Europeans are annoyed by the slowness of the locals – both in service in restaurants and hotels, and on the roads, buses and taxis drive extremely slowly.
From public transport, tourists are advised to use a taxi – it will be more expensive, but much more reliable, because according to the current law, tourists can be transported with an appropriate license, which, by local standards, is extremely expensive and is accompanied by annual driving skill tests.
Photography is not prohibited, but when photographing local tribes, you will have to pay $ 1-2 to the leader of the tribe. In tourist areas there are objects, which can only be removed with a permit. It will also cost no more than $2.
All Christian and Muslim holidays in Tanzania are celebrated and are held in high esteem among adherents of a particular denomination. There are also a number of exclusively Tanzanian holidays.
December 9th is Independence Day.
August 8th is Peasant’s Day.
January 12 is Zanzibar Revolution Day.
December 26 is boxing day.