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Village Visit Etiquette

Houston
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76 posts
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Village Visit Etiquette

Leaving for Tanzania in about a week. We have one or two village visits on the itinerary of our itinerary (including Mto Wa Mbu). I've seen the cultural experience post and link on right side of this forum and several forum threads on gifts. Any other general etiquette tips about the village visits, such as re photography, interacting with the local villagers, etc.? Attire tips? One village includes lunch and we have a vegetarian with us, thoughts on how politely to explain if she declines a dish? Any tips to ensure we are respectful during our trip would be appreciated. Apologies in advance if I missed something already posted on topic.

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

Covered shoulders and knees preferred for both genders, but as they are ultra polite, they may let it slide. Limited cleavage as well.

You should remind your TO about the vegetarian in your group and discuss with your guide who may be able to slip in the word for you with the hosting family. They understand people's different eating habits.

If a specific family you know about ahead of time, then you migt take a gift, but tips are most likely better. A souvenir tea towel from your home town is practical and pretty. They can decide how to use it. Always ask beforehand about photographs. They might ask for money, but if an arranged village visit, they seem used to visitors and they seem to share the fees, so less of the money question....or buy a trinket if the photograph is of a business or seller.

Your guide will be very helpful at guiding you throug the morass of etiquette and your million and one questions every traveller has.

Littleton, Colorado
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2. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

Just be yourself, be open and friendly, and even if you make some etiquette "mistakes," it will all be okay. Our interactions with the locals were the highlight of our trip, and every village visit was different.

Chicago
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3. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

It also depends if you are visiting sites in a larger village like Mto wa Mbu, or a more touristy Maasai village, or a rural village and entering homes. Always check first if photos are ok, and many times would be considered polite and appropriate to buy something if items are offered for sale. If you are actually staying in a home in the village, a gift from back home would be nice.

nyc
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4. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

Considering that The Amazing Race did on one of their adventures stop at Mto-wa-Mbu, the villagers are quite familiar with crazy westerners.

Proper attire and behavior though is still always appreciated

And do be sure your tour operator and guide be aware of the individual who is a veggie! What they can or simply won't eat, whether for this stop or any lodge/camp at which staying.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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5. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

Don't worry about making a faux pas of any kind. The places you will be are well aware of tourists and their foibles. There are many different cultural behaviors in Tanzania, and just as you learn one you will find another. So don't worry about it, just enjoy yourself and use common courtesy.

Edinburgh, United...
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6. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

Also, bring a few photos of your own family- it's a great way to share with other people elsewhere in the world. Mine caused considerable hilarity. And if you can learn a few words of Swahili it will be incredibly welcome. It's been a few years since I spoke much Swahili, so a phrasebook will be much more useful than I am, but if you pick just two go for "Asante" -thank you- pronounced As-ant-ay, "Habari" -how are you- Hab-ar-ee.

Have a fantastic time, lucky you!

Alexandra Matts- Travel Director- Extraordinary Africa

Chicago
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7. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

The most important rule with Swahili is to accent the next to last syllable in all words-give it a try-it really does impress with just a little effort.

Houston
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76 posts
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8. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

Great feedback! We will look up some Swahili words before we leave home... And tea towels are so easy to pack. Thank you!

9. Re: Village Visit Etiquette

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