Swahili in Arabic script—memorial plate at the Askari Monument, Dar es Salaam (1927)
Satellite view of the African Great Lakes region and its coastline.
Although originally written with the Arabic script, Swahili is now written in a Latin alphabet introduced by Christian missionaries and colonial administrators. The text shown here is the Catholic version of the Lord's Prayer.
The African Great Lakes system, in blue.
Swahili in Arabic script on the clothes of a girl in German East Africa (ca. early 1900s)
Map of larger region including the East African Rift and the entire so-called Great Rift Valley
Loxodonta africana elephants frolic in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, 2012.

It is a lingua franca of other areas in the African Great Lakes region and East and Southern Africa, including some parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, the southern tip of Somalia, and Zambia.

- Swahili language

The Swahili language is the most commonly spoken language in the African Great Lakes region.

- African Great Lakes
Swahili in Arabic script—memorial plate at the Askari Monument, Dar es Salaam (1927)

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Tanzania

A 1.8-million-year-old stone chopping tool discovered at Olduvai Gorge and on display at the British Museum.
A 1572 depiction of the portuguese city of Kilwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Battle during the Maji Maji Rebellion against German colonial rule in 1905.
The Arusha Declaration Monument
Wildebeest migration in the Serengeti
Tanzania map of Köppen climate classification
The Masai giraffe is Tanzania's national animal
The semi-autonomous Zanzibar Archipelago
Regions of Tanzania
Tanzanian ambassador to Russia Jaka Mwambi presenting his credentials to the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
Tanzanian Embassy in West End, Washington, D.C., USA
FIB Tanzanian special forces during training
A proportional representation of Tanzania exports, 2019
Historical development of real GDP per capita in Tanzania, since 1950
Tea fields in Tukuyu
Nyerere Bridge in Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam
The snowcapped Uhuru Peak
One of the main trunk roads
Zanzibar harbour
Domestic expenditure on research in Southern Africa as a percentage of GDP, 2012 or closest year. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2015), Figure 20.3
A Tanzanian woman cooks Pilau rice dish wearing traditional Kanga.
Farmers using a rice harvester to harvest rice in Igunga District, Tanzania
Example of a World Food Programme parcel
Researchers (HC) in Southern Africa per million inhabitants, 2013 or closest year
Scientific publications per million inhabitants in SADC countries in 2014. Source: UNESCO Science Report (2015), data from Thomson Reuters' Web of Science, Science Citation Index Expanded
The Hadza live as hunter-gatherers.
A carved door with Arabic calligraphy in Zanzibar
Nkrumah Hall at the University of Dar es Salaam
Development of life expectancy
Tanzanian woman harvest tea leaves
Judith Wambura (Lady Jaydee) is a popular Bongo Flava recording singer.
A Tingatinga painting
National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
St Joseph's Catholic cathedral, Zanzibar

Tanzania, officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region.

The country does not have a de jure official language, although the national language is Swahili.

Rwanda

A reconstruction of the ancient King's Palace at Nyanza
Juvénal Habyarimana, president from 1973 to 1994
Human skulls at the Nyamata Genocide Memorial
Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Chamber of Deputies building
Provinces of Rwanda
The Kagera and Ruvubu rivers, part of the upper Nile
Lake and volcano in the Virunga Mountains
Volcanoes National Park is the home of the largest population of Mountain Gorillas in the world.
Giraffe in Akagera National Park
Estimated development of real GDP per capita in Rwanda, since 1950
Coffee beans drying in Maraba. Coffee is one of Rwanda's major cash crops.
Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park
Rural water pump
Rural children
Children in a Rwandan primary school, using laptops supplied by the One Laptop Per Child program
Butaro Hospital at Burera, Northern Province
Historical development of life expectancy in Rwanda
Roman Catholic church in Rwamagana
Traditional Rwandan intore dancers
Rwandan woven agaseke basket
Adrien Niyonshuti, "one of the most famous people in Rwanda", competing in the cross-country mountain biking event at the 2012 Summer Olympics

Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley of Central Africa, where the African Great Lakes region and Southeast Africa converge.

Swahili, the lingua franca of the East African Community, is also spoken by some as a second language, particularly returned refugees from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and those who live along the border with the DRC.

Uganda

Landlocked country in East Africa.

Landlocked country in East Africa.

A caesarean section performed by indigenous healers in Kahura, in the Empire of Kitara (present-day Uganda) as observed by medical missionary Robert William Felkin in 1879. This incident was recorded long before the arrival of the European missionary doctors and clinics. The kingdom performed a highly developed surgical procedure, the first-ever cesarean section technique that saved both the mother and child.
Flag of the Uganda Protectorate
Construction of the Owen Falls Dam in Jinja.
The Uganda printers building on Kampala Road, Kampala, Uganda
Grey Crowned Crane - a symbol of Uganda.
Belligerents of the Second Congo War. On 19 December 2005, the International Court of Justice found against Uganda, in a case brought by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for illegal invasion of its territory, and violation of human rights.
Uganda map of Köppen climate classification.
U.S. President George W. Bush met with President Yoweri Museveni in Entebbe, Uganda, 11 July 2003.
Protests in New York City against Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Graphical depiction of Uganda's product exports in 28 color-coded categories.
Change in per capita GDP of Uganda, 1950–2018. Figures are inflation-adjusted to 2011 International dollars.
Coffee fields in southwestern Uganda
Workers at a textile factory in Jinja
Entebbe International Airport
Road to Murchison
Mobile operators offer money sending, receiving services, bill payments among many more services.
Students in Uganda
Development of life expectancy
Rwenzori mountains in Uganda
An ethnolinguistic map of Uganda
Cultural celebrations in Northern Uganda
Woman in Rwenzori – Western Uganda
Mandela National Stadium in Kira Town.
Side view of Victoria Nile
Saint Mary's Cathedral Rubaga, is the parent cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala.

Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region.

The official languages are English and Swahili, although the Constitution states that "any other language may be used as a medium of instruction in schools or other educational institutions or for legislative, administrative or judicial purposes as may be prescribed by law."

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Country in Central Africa.

Country in Central Africa.

View of Leopoldville Station and Port in 1884
1908 photograph of a married Christian couple.
Force Publique soldiers in the Belgian Congo in 1918. At its peak, the Force Publique had around 19,000 Congolese soldiers, led by 420 Belgian officers.
The leader of ABAKO, Joseph Kasa-Vubu, first democratically elected President of Congo-Léopoldville
Patrice Lumumba, first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Congo-Léopoldville, was murdered by Belgian-supported Katangan separatists in 1961
Mobutu Sese Seko and Richard Nixon in Washington, D.C., 1973.
Mobutu with the Dutch Prince Bernhard in Kinshasa in 1973
Belligerents of the Second Congo War
Refugees in the Congo
People fleeing their villages due to fighting between FARDC and rebel groups, North Kivu, 2012
Government troops near Goma during the M23 rebellion in May 2013
DR Congo's President Félix Tshisekedi with neighbouring Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso in 2020; both wear face masks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The map of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo map of Köppen climate classification
Ituri Rainforest
Mount Nyiragongo, which last erupted in 2021.
Salonga National Park.
Masisi Territory
Lake Kivu in North Kivu province
Bas-Congo landscape
An Okapi
A male western gorilla
Hippopotami
Joseph Kabila was President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from January 2001 to January 2019.
President Joseph Kabila with U.S. President Barack Obama in August 2014
FARDC soldiers on patrol in Ituri province
A group of demobilized child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
A proportional representation of Democratic Republic of the Congo exports, 2019
Change in per capita GDP of Congo, 1950–2018. Figures are inflation-adjusted to 2011 International dollars.
Rough diamonds ≈1 to 1.5 mm in size from DR Congo.
DR Congo's Human Development Index scores, 1970–2010.
Collecting firewood in Basankusu.
Train from Lubumbashi arriving in Kindu on a newly refurbished line.
Map of rail network
Major Bantu languages in the Congo
Kongo youth and adults in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Amani festival in Goma
Family in Rutshuru, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
The population pyramid of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in Bukavu
A classroom in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Development of life expectancy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Population fleeing their villages due to fighting between FARDC and rebels groups, Sake North Kivu 30 April 2012
A Hemba male statue
Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa.
The Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Lubumbashi

The geologic activity in this area also created the African Great Lakes, four of which lie on the Congo's eastern frontier: Lake Albert (known during the Mobutu era as Lake Mobutu Sese Seko), Lake Kivu (Unknown until late 1712), Lake Edward (known during the Amin era as Lake Idi Amin Dada), and Lake Tanganyika.

Approximately 242 languages are spoken in the country, of which four have the status of national languages: Kituba (Kikongo), Lingala, Tshiluba, and Swahili.

Burundi

Flag of the Kingdom of Burundi (1962–1966).
Independence Square and monument in Bujumbura.
Belligerents of the Second Congo War. Burundi backed the rebels.
View of the capital city Bujumbura in 2006.
Pierre Nkurunziza, President of Burundi in 2005–2020.
Embassy of Burundi in Brussels
Map of Burundi.
Hippos at Kibira National Park in the Northwest of Burundi
A proportional representation of Burundi exports, 2019
Historical development of GDP per capita
Graphical depiction of Burundi's product exports in 28 colour-coded categories in 2009.
Fishermen on Lake Tanganyika.
Bujumbura International Airport terminal in Bujumbura
Bicycles are a popular means of transport in Burundi
Men in colourful dresses and drums
Children in Bujumbura, Burundi
Drums from Gitega.
Football in Burundi.
Carolus Magnus School in Burundi. The school benefits from the campaign "Your Day for Africa" by Aktion Tagwerk.

Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi (Repuburika y’Uburundi, ; Swahili: Jamuhuri ya Burundi; French: République du Burundi, or ), is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge.

Kenya

Country in Eastern Africa.

Country in Eastern Africa.

The Turkana boy, a 1.6-million-year-old hominid fossil belonging to Homo erectus.
A traditional Swahili carved wooden door in Lamu.
Portuguese presence in Kenya lasted from 1498 until 1730. Mombasa was under Portuguese rule from 1593 to 1698 and again from 1728 to 1729.
British East Africa in 1909
The Kenya–Uganda Railway near Mombasa, about 1899.
A statue of Dedan Kimathi, a Kenyan rebel leader with the Mau Mau who fought against the British colonial system in the 1950s.
The first president and founding father of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta.
Daniel arap Moi, Kenya's second President, and George W. Bush, 2001
Uhuru Kenyatta in 2014.
A map of Kenya.
A Köppen climate classification map of Kenya.
Kenya's third president, Mwai Kibaki
The Supreme Court of Kenya building.
President Barack Obama in Nairobi, July 2015
Emblem of the Kenya Defence Forces
Kenya's 47 counties.
A proportional representation of Kenya exports, 2019
Kenya, Trends in the Human Development Index 1970–2010.
Amboseli National Park
Tsavo East National Park
Tea farm near Kericho, Kericho County.
Agricultural countryside in Kenya
The Kenya Commercial Bank office at KENCOM House (right) in Nairobi.
Workers at Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant
The official logo of Vision 2030.
Lake Turkana borders Turkana County
Lions Family Portrait Masai Mara
Maasai people. The Maasai live in both Kenya and Tanzania.
Child labour in Kenya
A Bantu Kikuyu woman in traditional attire
Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Cathedral in Mombasa.
Outpatient Department of AIC Kapsowar Hospital in Kapsowar.
Table showing different grades of clinical officers, medical officers, and medical practitioners in Kenya's public service
School children in a classroom.
An MSc student at Kenyatta University in Nairobi.
A Maasai girl at school.
Kenyan boys and girls performing a traditional dance
Nation Media House, which hosts the Nation Media Group
Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.
Popular Kenyan musician Jua Cali.
Jepkosgei Kipyego and Jepkemoi Cheruiyot at the 2012 London Olympics
Kenyan Olympic and world record holder in the 800 meters, David Rudisha.
Ugali and sukuma wiki, staples of Kenyan cuisine

Kenya has close ties with its fellow Swahili-speaking neighbours in the African Great Lakes region.