November 12, 2010  By: Africa Adventure Consultants

When you travel to a foreign country, it is considered courteous to learn a few words (or more) of the local language. It is sometimes hard to do when traveling to Africa, as many of the countries have more than one, if not dozens of official indigenous languages. East Africa is cooperative in that Swahili is widely spoken in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda; with nearly 50 million people speaking it across Africa and some pockets outside of the continent. While you could easily communicate by only speaking English, a little effort can go a long way with local residents.

We’ll look at a few words and phrases in Swahili today that you can practice in advance of a trip. There will be future blogs with additional vocabulary; just search for them with the ‘Swahili’ keyword.

Jambo – hello


Mambo – hello (colloq.)


Kwaheri – good-bye


Ndiyo – yes


Hapana – no


Asante – thank you


Asante sana – thank you very much


Si kitu – you’re welcome


Samahani – excuse me


Hujambo – how are you?


Sijambo, asante – very well, thanks.


Na wewe je – and you?


Nzuri – fine


Practice these words and phrases and check back for more lessons soon!