While many people in the tourist industry speak English, it’s very polite if you make some modest attempts to speak the native country language, Swahili. Many of your porters, cooks, bus drivers and others might not have a good command of English. It’s good to know the basic greetings and be able to show respect for their language. And, it’s a great way to break down barriers if you attempt to converse.

Here are the basics. Try them. They are fun. Most people will enjoy that you tried.

Yes = Ndiyo

No = Hapana

Okay = Sawa

Maybe = Labda

How are you? = Habari Yako?




Good = Nzuri

Thank you = Asante

Hello = Jambo/Hujambo

I am fine = Sijambo

Please = Tafadhali (the dh is pronounced like a th)

Goodbye = Kwaheri

What is your name? = Jina lako ni nani?

My name is …= Jina langu ni …

I don’t speak Swahili = Sisemi Kiswahili