Useful Swahili Phrases for Your East African Adventure

Knowing a little bit of Swahili before you set off to Tanzania, or any other East African adventure will start your trip off right.

And no matter where you go in East Africa, or how little you know, local people will always appreciate your effort to learn  basic phrases and words in Swahili. We can assure you that your most shyly-whispered;"Jambo Rafiki…" will be met with smiles and sheer delight.

And, if you're still not entirely convinced, we have 3 more reasons to get you on board.

  1. Swahili is one of the easiest African languages to learn for a native English speakers. You simply pronounce the words as they are written. We can almost hear your sigh of relief.
  2. Swahili is the national language of Tanzania, Kenya, and the DRC. Even Uganda has a large number or Swahili speakers. So, you really can get around!
  3. And lastly, who doesn't want to be able to add an African language to their repertoire? :)


Greetings

  • Jambo - Hello
  • Habari - Hello, but generally used when speaking to older people.
  • Habari Gani? - How are you?
  • Nzuri - Fine/ Nice / Good
  • Kwa heri - Goodbye
  • Tutaonana - See you later


A few extra

  • Asante - Thank you
  • Asante sana - Thank you VERY much.
  • Tafadhali - Please
  • Samahani - Excuse me
  • Pole - Sorry
  • Ndiyo / Hapana - Yes / No
  • Sawa - Ok
  • Rafiki - Friend


Food

  • Chakula - Food
  • Kahawa - Coffee
  • Chai - Tea
  • Bia - Beer
  • Maji - Water
  • Maji ya kunywa - Drinking water


Places

  • Benki - Bank
  • Soko - Market
  • Choo - Toilet


Just In Case

  • Unaongea kiingereza - Do you speak English?
  • Sielewi - I don't understand
  • Hatari - Danger

If there are any other words that you have found to be very useful during your time in Tanzania, please leave a comment and let us know what it was. We'd love to know!



Getting there?

Interested in visiting Tanzania — but not sure which tour, or agency to take? Easy Travel pride themselves on their 30+ years of experience providing amazing encounters, from safari tours to hiking tours as well as day tours. Check out our selection of tours here!
DISCOVER NGORONGORO TORTILIS CAMP

Our Ngorongoro Tortilis Camp is a Special oasis nestled under a forest canopy at the end of a Valley.

THE HONEYMOON SAFARI WITH EASY TRAVEL

As a visitor who has selected this Romance and Honeymoon-style safari, you can expect some special experiences, such as an intimate Bush Dinner!

MAGICAL ZANZIBAR

Discover its narrow streets and patchwork of architectural styles, before dropping the pace even further with a three-night stay by the beach.

8 DAYS MIGRATION OF WILDEBEEST

This eight-day safari will take your breath away, filling you with lifetime memories of Tanzania’s outstanding wildlife encounters in its most extraordinary locations.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST KILIMANJARO OPERATOR

What signs do you need to look for when choosing a tour operator to take you on a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro?

Recomended Tours

Whether you are on the search for “The Big Five”, or wanting to see the majestic Wildebeest Migration, we will make sure your holiday is unforgettable!.

popular tour
culture & history
9 Days Expereince Tanzania Culture & Safari:
Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Lake Eyasi, Manyara
Grading:
Moderate
Tour:
Private Tours
Level:
Comfort
popular tour
migration safari
12 Days Discover Wildebeest in Serengeti:
Arusha, Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro, Central Serengeti, Western Serengeti, Northern Serengeti
Grading:
Moderate
Tour:
Private Tours
Level:
Comfort
popular tour
culture & history
4 Days Tanzania Safari and Culture:
Manyara, Lake Eyasi, Ngorongoro
Grading:
Moderate
Tour:
Private Tours
Level:
Comfort