Dar Es Salaam - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None, but it would be nice and would help to cut down on the confusion. - Jan 2022

You don't need to speak Kiswahili but it helps. There will be a lot of misunderstandings with your household help, but you can manage. - Oct 2021

I only know the Swahili greetings and I get by fine. The embassy offers one-on-one weekly Swahili classes at no charge. They also offered this Swahili immersion program for a week in the Fall.I wish I spoke more Swahili - I feel like half the time the waiters are smiling and nodding and not understanding anything I'm saying. - May 2020

None. Local language training is available. - Jun 2017

In Dar es Salaam you can use English and not have any problems. People speak Wwahili but it is easy to function in Dar without it. - Dec 2015

Not much. We spend most of our time in expat land where everyone speaks English. Swahili is very useful when dealing with gardeners, who don't usually speak much English, and when going into the city. It also makes Tanzanians very happy when you learn some Kiswahili. - Jul 2015

None. Most Tanzanians in Dar speak English. If you would like the better price on the bunch of bananas your eyeing or on a fresh tuna, Kiswahili is a must! - Mar 2014

You can get by without, but you get better service and attention if you know some Swahili. A little goes a long way with their appreciation. Also, even though English is the main business language, there are still a vast majority that don't speak it. - Feb 2013

Knowing Swahili and basic greetings is certainly helpful, but not necessary and you can get by with English. - Feb 2013

More than you think! Swahili is deeply ingrained in Tanzania and, while English is taught in schools, even relatively well-educated people are very uncomfortable speaking it. Unlike in many other African nations, most of the younger generation do not grow up speaking a tribal language, only Swahili, so they aren't comfortable switching between languages. Learning to at least bargain in the market place and hold a basic conversation will go a long way. - Aug 2011

None - Tanzanians in the city are bilingual, speaking Kiswahili and English. - Jun 2010

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More