Tanzania: A different way of viewing time

Postcard Tales

One of the first few words I picked up in Swahili was pole pole meaning slow or slowly. That is the pace of life in these parts and in Zanzibar the tropical climate probably calls for that. In the Swahili culture there is a different way of viewing time. They use the same clocks but read them differently!


As Tanzania is close to the equator, the sun rises at approximately the same time every day, around 6.00am and sets around 6.00pm. Swahili time starts at sunrise and ends at sunset in a 12 hour block and is repeated at night.

So if you need a cab at 7.00am it would be 1.00am in Swahili time. The tricky part is some of the locals use the `English Time’ while some stick to `Swahili Time’, so always double check!

Well, it’s a matter of time before you get used to it!

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