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.
- 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.
- 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!
- And lastly, who doesn’t want to be able to add an African language to their repertoire? 🙂
- 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
- Asante – Thank you
- Asante sana – Thank you VERY much.
- Tafadhali – Please
- Samahani – Excuse me
- Pole – Sorry
- Ndiyo / Hapana – Yes / No
- Sawa – Ok
- Rafiki – Friend
- Chakula – Food
- Kahawa – Coffee
- Chai – Tea
- Bia – Beer
- Maji – Water
- Maji ya kunywa – Drinking water
- Benki – Bank
- Soko – Market
- Choo – Toilet
- 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!
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!