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Stop to Say Hello

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Taking the time to stop to say hello while travelling in Tanzania is very important. For many visitors, we come from developed urban environments where the cultural habits of greeting strangers have long ago faded away. In Tanzania, this tradition is still alive and well - even in parts of Dar es Salaam.

When travelling in smaller towns or rural villages, taking the time to greet people you pass is expected. We recommend always leaving extra time to reach a destination so you aren’t forced to rush past people.

Seasoned travellers will know that in many countries, very friendly locals may also have ulterior motives. Certainly in specific places in Tanzania, such as around the ferry terminal to Zanzibar, this does exist - but by and large a friendly person is not looking to sell you anything! Approaching these situations proactively and with an open mind is encouraged.

You can read up on proper greetings for various situations and people, but you can’t really go wrong with “Habari”.

Habari can be used in many different sentences, such as Habari za asubuhi/mchana/jioni? (literally “[What is] the news of the morning/afternoon/evening?”). This roughly translates into “good morning/afternoon/evening.”

Guide books will often suggest using jambo, but locals rarely use it and instead you will hear the plural form which is mambo. To respond, you would say mazuri or poa, which means “cool”. This greeting is easy to use so it’s our personal favourite, but remember it is informal and may not be appropriate for situations such as greeting an elder.

For weather and recommended travel dates to Tanzania, check out our blog post on when to visit.

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