Short introduction to swahili

Kenya is a multi-ethnic state home to more than 40 tribes.  Each tribe speaks its own unique dialect such as ‘Maa’ by the Maasai. Despite having so many different languages, Kenyans use English and Kiswahili as their official languages, with Kiswahili also being the National Language. The ability to speak some basic Swahili can win you many smiles, not to mention the fact that it is a fun language to speak and learn! The following guide will help you try out some basic Swahili.


Greetings are important in East Africa

Hello = Jambo

Fine (response) = Nzuri

How are you? = Habari gani

Fine (response) = Nzuri

Goodbye = Kwa heri

Goodnight = Lala salama


Yes = Ndiyo

No = Hapana

Thank you = Asante

Thank you very much = Asante sana

Please = Tafadhali

OK = Sawa

Excuse me = Samahani

What is your name? = Jina lako nani?

My name is = Jina langu ni …

Where are you from? = Unatoka wapi?

May I take a picture? = Naomba kupiga picha

Friend = Rafiki

Getting Around

Is it near = Ni karibu?

Is it far = Ni mbali

Airport = uwanja wa ndege

Taxi stand = stendi ya teksi

Plane = ndege

Ticket = tikiti

Bank = benki

Market = soko

Toilet/bathroom = choo

Hotel = hoteli

Room = chumba

Today -Leo

Tomorrow – Kesho

Yesterday- Jana

Now- Sasa

Later- Baadaye


0-  sufuri/ziro

1-  moja

2-  mbili

3-  tatu

4-  nne

5-  tano

6-  sita

7-  saba

8-  nane

9-  tisa

10-  kumi


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