Welcome to Morogoro.

The ELCT Language and Orientation School maintains a reputation as a top language and orientation program in Tanzania, and has helped to prepare hundreds of ministers, missionaries, aid workers, and students for life and work throughout Tanzania and East Africa.

As part of the Lutheran Junior Seminary, an educational center owned and run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), the Language School provides endless opportunities for developing confidence and competence in Kiswahili in a welcoming community environment. We thank you for your interest in learning this beautiful language, and encourage you to explore our website and our school.


Accommodation is available for all students who attend the language school. Room and board are offered at reasonable rates so that the language learning experience can progress without the encumbrance of many of the concerns of day-to-day living. This also means that while learning Kiswahili at the Language School students can share in the unique experience of living and learning with a diverse community of people from all over the world. In one recent Long Course, for example, there were students from Germany, Italy, Argentina, USA, Poland, South Korea, India, and New Zealand all living and learning together. It is our goal to make your stay at the Language School a pleasant one so that learning can be maximized.


The Language School has seven housing units, each with several rooms of various sizes. Single students are provided with private rooms while families are assigned room “clusters” according to family size. Each room has electricity with a British specification of 13 amps, 240 volts, and 3 square-pin sockets. Our electricity is available 24 hours a day but because of occasional power cuts, it is useful to bring a torch (flashlight). Candles can be bought on campus if desired.

The bathrooms have flush toilets, showers, and hot water. There are only showers, however, so if you need baby baths and buckets you should either bring them or buy them in Morogoro. Bed linens, towels, and mosquito nets are provided for the dorm rooms. Laundry services are weekly, reliable, affordable, and necessary, though you must wash your own underpants. There is a TV and VCR in the Common Room and you are welcome to bring your own videos to watch.


Board at the Language School includes 3 meals a day as well as morning and afternoon tea breaks. The friendly kitchen staff prepares fresh meals using only locally grown foods. A diverse and international menu contains some of the favorites of home while introducing students to the food of Tanzania and other places. Soda is available for a small price. There is also a common refrigerator available for students to store food if they purchase it in town.


At the time of independence in 1961, the Christian churches were responsible for over 60% of the education in the country. One of the stated goals of the newly independent nation was to place the education of its youth under national control. The churches that had been in the forefront of the educational scene suddenly found themselves with only their Bible schools and theological seminaries. In their dialogue with the government they were advised that they could continue with secondary education in preparing workers for the church by establishing junior seminaries that would be entirely under church control, but following the national syllabus and doing national exams. And so, the Lutheran Junior Seminary was born.

The secondary school that began with only Form I to IV (9th to 12th grade) now has Forms V and VI as well, which are the equivalent of first year of junior college. There are 40 students per class in the first four classes and 120 in Forms V and VI, making a total of 558 students. There are more advanced level students because they study for only three examination subjects in various combination groups such as physics, chemistry, and biology; history, English, and divinity; and geography, economics, and math. The great variety of combinations offered enables the church to prepare people for service in a wide number of fields. At present there are about twenty teachers including two missionaries.

The centre serves the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, (whose membership is spread throughout Tanzania), as well as the Anglican and Moravian churches represented in the leadership department, and most Christian groups in its language department. With the combination of all of the departments, the Lutheran Junior Seminary community averages 800 to 1000 people, and is made up of the secondary school students, teachers, leadership training students, language school students and their teachers, and other workers.


On campus you can participate in a variety of activities including soccer, basketball, Frisbee and volleyball. Students and teachers are able to go on hiking trips in the nearly Uluguru Mountains, travel to Dar es Salaam, and visit the nearby Mikumi National Park. Also, there are numerous opportunities to worship with others on campus at the Swahili services on Sunday and the English service on Wednesday night. You are also welcome to join in on Sunday evangelism trips to nearby villages.

Near the Language School housing there is a Common Room where students and teachers can meet together to play games, watch movies, socialize, and hold Bible studies. In the Common Room, students have full access to the telephone, the library, computers with affordable internet, a TV/VCR, and a refrigerator. Local newspapers are also available in both English and Kiswahili.

Recently the Language School has been equipped to provide reliable wireless internet services for students with laptop computers in addition to the service offered in the Common Room. The wireless signal easily reaches the housing blocks, allowing private access for educational or personal internet use. The rate is Tsh. 2000 per hour, internete cards can be bought at Language School office.


As strangers in a new environment you will experience culture shock in one way or another. Visitors will also experience a great deal of stress as they transition from being in charge of their own affairs and work to the more structured life of a student. Life in Tanzania moves slowly, and people from heavily industrialized countries often find it difficult to adapt. More importantly, Tanzania (and all of Africa) is a place where relationships are valued above all things. This means that to Tanzanians it is worth spending the time to greet each other for several minutes before beginning to discuss matters at hand, worth the time to discuss prices for goods, and appropriate to take time to complete tasks while enjoying the company of co-workers. It also means that established preferences of personal space and privacy must be adapted to suit what is for most a new way of living and interaction. Please bring a sense of humor, a positive attitude, and the ability to laugh at mistakes. Come with a willingness to work and learn with others, and pray that the Lord who calls us all may grant us a joyful period of learning and adjusting together.


Be sure to bring enough cash or traveler’s cheques to take care of your personal needs while you are in the school. You can change both cash and traveler’s cheques at banks in Morogoro, although there is a large fee and a lot of paper work for exchanging traveler’s cheques. ALL Banks in Morogoro have ATMs that accept only Visa and Mastercard. For the best exchange rate, use a bank.
Banks in Morogoro include Exim Bank, Barclays, (foreign) CRDB Bank, NBC,BOA and KBC.


The climate around Morogoro is warm and humid most of the year. November through February is very hot, with temperatures occasionally exceeding 40°C (104°F). June through August is the cooler months and you might need a light sweater. Evenings this time of year are cool and pleasant, but not cool enough to deter mosquitoes. The small rain season is from mid October to December and the longer rains are from March to May. It is advisable for both children and adults to bring lightweight, practical, colored clothing because Morogoro soil is reddish and easily stains.


The Lutheran Junior Seminary is situated at the foot of the beautiful Uluguru Mountains about 10 km east of Morogoro town along the main road from Dar es Salaam. Regular and frequent buses run between the two cities. Buses will drop off students at the Seminary on request. By private car it takes about three hours. Please note that transportation to the language school is the sole responsibility of the students and their sending societies. If you plan to drive in Tanzania, make sure to bring an International Driving License so that you can drive while waiting to get a local license.

If you do not have a car of your own, it is easy to catch a daladala (passenger van) to Morogoro. They’ll stop to pick you up and should cost 500 Tsh. You can get off anywhere you want to, but it will stop at the daladala stand in the middle of town. Finding the right daladala to take you back to the school is a bit more difficult, but their destinations are painted on the front of the vehicle. Look for one that goes to Mikese, or just ask the folks standing around which one goes to the Lutheran Junior Seminary. They’ll know where you want to go and how to get you there, but be ready to tell the driver when to stop, otherwise he won’t. It is much easier to take a taxi back to the Seminary, and most drivers know where it is. They shouldn’t charge you more than 15,000 Tsh (or 17,000 Tsh at night). It is advisable to get the phone number of a taxi driver you like so that you can call and have him pick you up on occasions when daladalas are undesirable (like after dark).


All students have access to the campus dispensary free of charge which is staffed by a medical assistant, a nurse, and a nurse assistant. The Morogoro area has a high frequency of malaria cases, and the clinic is able to perform simple blood tests for diagnosis. It is expected that each student bring an adequate supply of prophylactic drugs for the duration of their stay, though malaria medicines and other drugs are available in the pharmacies in Morogoro, often at less cost than they are available abroad. Recommended vaccinations include yellow fever, typhoid, tetanus and polio boosters, and hepatitis A.

The best way to avoid contracting malaria is to avoid getting bitten. Use mosquito nets or mosquito coils whenever possible. After dark, keep your limbs covered and consider using a repellent. Before leaving consider starting a prophylactic.


The first thing that catches you as you approach Morogoro is its strikingly beautiful location, nestled at the foot of the rugged Uluguru Mountains. In the morning, as the sun rises above the mist and bathes the town in warm tone of orange and gold, even the bus station is momentarily graced with a certain charm. In the town center, the passage of time is marked by the five daily calls to prayer from the mosques, and Morogoro is one of very few places on the mainland where you’ll see women wearing the black buibui veils which are so common in Zanzibar.

The cultural mix is completed by a thriving Indian community, a sizeable group of European and American missionaries and development workers, as well as a few Maasai warriors with their braided hairstyles, hunkered down in the town’s bars in their traditional red shuka cloths, spears at hand. The town has an instantly likable and bustling feel and an enjoyably lively nightlife too, though its lack of obvious attractions means that it receives few visitors. Morogoro Region is Tanzania’s second largest producer of coffee, cotton, sunflower oil, millet and maize, and sisal. The town’s population is growing fast, having doubled in the last decade to almost 300,000.


Morogoro’s continued existence stems from its location on a major crossroads whose importance dates from before the arrival of the Arabs. Nineteenth century Tanganyika was in a state of considerable chaos, allowing wily local leaders to carve out empires for themselves. The most unusual of these was not a tribal chief like Mirambo or Mkwawa, but Kisabengo, the leader of a group of fugitive slaves, who acquired power and eventually land through force of arms and the kidnapping of neighboring tribespeople. Kisabengo’s domain, although small, included part of the major caravan route from the coast to the Great Lakes region. His capital, a settlement near modern day Morogoro which he modestly called Simbamwenni (the “Lion King”) inevitably became an important base for traders.

When Stanley passed through in 1871, en route to his historic encounter with Livingstone, he found a “walled town at the western foot of the Uruguru mountains, with its fine valley abundantly beautiful, watered by two rivers, and several pellucid streams of water distilled by the dew and cloud enriched heights around.” Estimating the population at up to five thousand people, Stanley was most impressed by the town’s solid stone fortifications and towers.

The Germans transformed Morogoro into a military base, using it as an infamous “hanging ground” during their military conquest of Tanganyika and subsequent repression of the Abushiri and Maji Maji rebellions. After Independence, Morogoro became famous, in South Africa at least, as a major base for the African National Congress, whose fighters were trained in the Uluguru Mountains.


Spanning 100km from north to south and 20km from east to west, the Uluguru range is part of the Eastern Arc mountain chain. The great age of the mountains and the forests that cloak them, together with high rainfall, side altitudinal range and a climate that has remained remarkably stable over the ages, have all favored the development of some of the word’s richest and most species-diverse rainforests, containing eleven endemic reptilian and amphibian species and over a hundred endemic plants. Mammals include yellow baboons, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, wild pugs and duiker antelopes. But where Uluguru really comes into its own is its birdlife, which includes fifteen rare or unique species.

*Most information contained in this section is from Jens Finke, The Rough Guide to Tanzania. London: Rough Guides Press, 2006.