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6 Incredible Cultural Rules You Must Know Before Visiting Tanzania

Tanzania culture
Written by See Africa Today

Swahili culture is intrinsically entrenched into daily activities. It is a traditional and moral compass that directs the society on the dos and don’ts of the land. The traditions still held and practised are old but have not lost relevance at all.

Tanzania, the land of the Swahili people has this intriguing aura that goes beyond the fascinating beaches.

Swahili culture is intrinsically entrenched into daily activities. It is a traditional and moral compass that directs the society on the dos and don’ts of the land. The traditions still held and practised are old but have not lost relevance at all.

There are 120 ethnic tribes which qualify Tanzania to be a homogenous society.

One thing though, the friendliness of the people in Tanzania is to be envied. They create a sense of warmth despite your nationality.

However, with a homogenous society, there are a lot of things you should know to avoid being caught flat-footed when you visit this great land.

Also read:Tanzanian Tourism Players Explain Why Tourists Never Return For A Second Visit

Here is what you should know:

  1. Only the right hand is used when eating

Interesting this one is. The left hand is culturally not allowed to be used when eating, especially during the communal meals where food is served on a tray and you indulge.

The belief behind this is that the right hand is considered pure. Therefore, the purity that comes with it spells good if it shakes hands or eats.

The left hand is considered “dirty” and solely used for bathroom activities which are unhygienic.

  1. No kissing in public

Deeply religious, snogging would be a terrible mistake no matter how much love you feel for your better half.

It could be tempting as Zanzibar is a tourism hotspot with a necklace of facilities for honeymooners and romantic getaways.

Kissing or cuddling in the public – including at the beach or pool – is considered disrespectful and is met with frowning faces. Islam which is the main religion in Tanzania holds the belief that any intimate shows should be confined between four walls and not in the public.

Also read:Best Hotels In Tanzania That You Should Visit

  1. Don’t sniff food

Spiced food is a thing in Tanzania. When you set foot into Stone Town where spices flavour every meal you take, don’t make the mistake of sniffing the food to enjoy the sweet aroma.

In the Tanzanian culture, this is considered as insulting and lack of respect for the cook.

Culture dictates that you smell food only when it is rotten. Unless otherwise, it is contemptuous to do this.

  1. Respect senior citizens

Have you ever bumped into an old lady or man in your strolls on the beach or village? Did they engage you?

Well, in Tanzania, the first rule of interacting with senior citizens is by showing respect. If they talk to you, respect their opinion; arguing or countering it is not acceptable because it is perceived as a sign of disrespect.

Silence is a good thing to practice here. If you want to disagree, silence is the best option otherwise the ‘gods’ will punish you.

  1. Be wary of traditional healers

Even with the invention of modern medicine, traditional healers and witch doctors are still sought after in Tanzania.

Traditional healers use herbs to cure different ailments. There are 75,000 registered traditional healers while witchdoctors are an option to solve a plethora of societal issues which only the “spirits” can handle.

The downside is that there is a crop of fake witchdoctors whose trade is fleecing desperate clients who reach out for their help.

Also read:Rekindle Your Travel Experience At Tanzania’s South Beach Resort

  1. Get ready for riveting historical stories

Historical knowledge about Tanzania is scanty in the paper. Verbally though, it streams like Lake Tanganyika draining its water in the Indian Ocean.

More often than not, the history of Tanzania is passed on from one person to another, one generation to another through word of mouth. Don’t be surprised when you visit and a local gets your attention with his/her historical tales! They are entertaining.

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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