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Useful Swahili words and phrases for a Safari in East Africa

We have compiled a handy list of the most common and useful phrases in case you need to use them whilst on your safari in East Africa.

Common greetings

Jambo? –  How are you?

Sijambo –  I am fine

Habari? – How are you?

Nzuri  – Fine

Kwaheri – Goodbye

Tutaonana baadaye (often shortened to baadaye) – See you later

For more casual interactions or to communicate in local ‘slang’ you can use the following:

Mambo – What’s up?

Sema – Speak

Poa – Cool

Other common courtesies

Thank you – Asante

Thank you – Asanteni (to more than one person)

No thank you – Hapana asante

Thank you very much – Asante sana

Please – Tafadhali

Sorry – Pole

Very Sorry – Pole sana

No worries – Hakuna matata

No problem – Hamna shida

Welcome – Karibu

Welcome – Karibuni (to more than one person )

Excuse me – Samahani

What is your name? – Jina lako nani?

My name is XX – Jina langu ni XX

Nice to meet you – Ninafuraha kukutana nawe

Ok – Sawa

Yes – Ndiyo

No – Hapana

I understand – Naelewa

I don’t understand – Sielewi

I like it – Ninaipenda

I don’t like it – Siipendi

Animals

The Big 5 Animals

.

Lion – Simba

Elephant – Tembo

Rhino – Kifaro

Buffalo – Nyati

Leopard – Chui

Giraffe – Twiga

Hippo – Kiboko

Antelope – Swala

Bird – Ndege

Cheetah – Duma

Bug – Dudu

Pronouns

Me – Mimi

You – Wewe

Him/Her – Yeye

Mine – Yangu

Yours – Yako

His/hers – Yake

Ours – Yetu

Questions

What? – Nini?

Where? – Wapi?

Which? – Ipi? (or Gani?)

Who? – Nani?

Descriptive words

Big – Kubwa

Small – Kidogo

Short – Fupi

Long – Ndefu

Color – Rangi

Black – Nyeusi

Red – Nyekundu

Blue – Buluu

White – Nyeupe

Green – Kijani

Key Shopping words

Store/shop – Duka

Price – Bei

Money – Pesa

Cash – Pesa taslimu

How much? – Pesa ngapi?

It is cheap – Ni bei rahisi

It is expensive – Ni bei ghali

Do you give discounts? – Je, Unapunguza bei?

How do I pay? – Ninalipaje?

I have a credit/debit card – Nina kadi

Common words used when Eating out

Dawa cocktail

.

Eat – Kula

Food – Chakula

Menu – Menyu

Bill – Bili

Hot – Moto

Cold – Baridi

Drinks – Vinywaji

Cold drink – Kinywaji baridi

Fruit juice – Maji ya matunda

Beer – Bia

Cold beer – Bia baridi

Tea – Chai

Coffee – Kahawa

Soup – Supu

Chicken – Kuku

Meat – Nyama

Fish – Samaki

Rice – Wali

Vegetables – Mboga

Drinking water – Maji ya kunywa

I am vegetarian – Sili nyama

It is delicious – Ni tamu sana.

Dietary requirements

Nina mzio wa – I’m allergic to:

Mazao ya maziwa – dairy produce

mayai – eggs

kokwa – nuts

karanga – peanuts

vyakula kutoka baharini – seafood

kombe – shellfish

We hope you find this useful.

If you are thinking of going on a safari, we would love to work with you to plan the holiday of a lifetime. For more information on how our safari experts can help you, call Somak Holidays today on 020 8423 3000, or visit our website here:

https://www.somak.com/kenya-safari

Request a free
call-back now.

Contact

Somak Luxury Travel
Somak House
Harrovian Business Village
Bessborough Road
Harrow On the Hill
HA1 3EX

Tel: +44 20 8423 3000
Fax: +44 20 8423 7700
Email: info@somak.com