Learning Swahili

Luxury Africa Journeys With Master Safari Guides

Call 1(866) ToKenya
1 (866) 865-3692
&
we'll be glad to help
get you started. Or
click the button
below to complete
the contact form & one
of our safari masters will contact you.

Contact A Safari Master

Learning Swahili

Greetings are very important in the Swahili culture. Most social interactions are prefaced by a greeting. It is considered rude not to greet someone you are going to speak to. Women are not required to return a greeting from a man they are not familiar with. Men and women seldom hold hands or show signs of affection in public. Keep this in mind to avoid offending the locals.  

  • Hello - habari                         
  • I am fine - mzuri
  • Fine thank you - mzuri sana
  • Hello - jambo
  • Hello (Reply) - jambo
  • How are you?  -  hujambo?
  • I am fine (Reply) -  sijambo
  • Mister/Sir/husband -  bwana
  • Madam/wife - bibi

Other civilities

  • goodbye - kwa heri
  • please (be so kind as to) - tafadhali
  • thank you - asante
  • thank you very much - asante sana
  • forgive me - samahani
  • sleep well - lala salama


General Conversation, Food & Drink

  • bring - leta
  • let's go - twende   
  • come here - kuja hapa   
  • to eat - kula 
  • food - chakula
  • salt - chumvi   
  • hot - moto
  • cold - baridi
  • drink - kunywa   
  • coffee - kahawa 
  • tea - chai
  • sugar - sukari
  • milk - maziwa
  • water - maji 
  • beer/alcohol - pombe 

Questions and answers

  • where? -  Wapi?
  • how much? -  kiasi gani?
  • how many? - ngapi?
  • what? - nini
  • when? - lini?
  • yes - ndio
  • no - hapana / la
  • good - mzuri
  • bad - mbaya

Time frame

  • yesterday - jana
  • today - leo
  • tomorrow - kesho
  • now - sasa hivi

Getting around

  • slow(ly) -  polepole
  • fast - haraka
  • quickly - upesi
  • ngoja - wait
  • Where is the restroom? - Wapi choo
  • left - kushoto
  • right - kulia
  • to do - kufanya
  • to sleep - kulala
  • to wake up - kuamka
  • buy - nunua
  • shop - duka
  • guest - mgeni

Animals - Wanyama

  • Lion - simba
  • Elephant - ndovu
  • Rhino - kifaru
  • Leopard - chui
  • Hippo - kiboko
  • Giraffe - twiga
  • Antelope - swara
  • Zebra - punda milia
  • Buffalo - nyati
  • Wildebeest - nyumbu
  • Baboon - nyani
  • Monkey - tumbili
  • Ostrich - mbuni

Counting in Swahili - Kuhesabu

  • One - moja
  • Two - mbili
  • Three - tatu
  • Four - nne
  • Five - tano
  • Six - sita
  • Seven - saba
  • Eight - nane
  • Nine - tisa
  • Ten - kumi
  • Eleven - kumi na moja
  • Twelve - kumi na mbili