Swahili, the language of Tanzania

Helpful list of Swahili words

The Swahili phrases, terms and words listed in the table below, were compiled to help you to communicate more effectively during your wildlife safaris and tours in Tanzania. Most of the local population and more specifically those involved in the tourism industry, can all communicate in basic English, but for obvious reasons it is greatly appreciated in Tanzania, if you can master a couple of basic Swahili words and phrases. The Swahili language is also spoken extensively in Kenya and Malawi.

General terms

Child Mtoto
Come in / Welcome Karibu
Fine Nzuri
Good-bye Kwaheri
Hello Jambo
How are you? Habari Yako?
How much? Ngapi?
May I take your picture? Nikupige picha?
Mister Bwana
Madam Bibi
No Hapana
Please Tafadhali
Slow Pole pole
Today Leo
Thank you very much Asante Sana
Tomorrow Kesho
Tonight Leo usiku
Wait Ngojea
What does it cost? Shilingi Ngapi?
Where is …? Iko wapi …?
Yes Ndio

 

Numbers

One Moja
Two Mbili
Three Tatu
Four Nne
Five Tano
Six Sita
Seven Saba
Eight Nane
Nine Tisa
Ten Kumi

 

Animals

Cheetah Duma
Elephant Tembo
Giraffe Twiga
Hippo Kiboko
Lion Simba
Wildebeest Kongoni / nyumbu

 

Food and drink

Beef Nyama
Beer Pombe
Bread Mkate
Chicken Kuku
Coffee Kahwa
Cold Baridi
Eggs Mayai
Finished Kuisha
Fish Samaki
Ice Barafu
Lamb Kondoo
Milk Maziwa
Sugar Sukari
Tea Chai

 

More general terms

Do you speak English? Unazungumza Kiingereza?
Stop Simama
Bring me hot water please! Lete maji moto, tafadhali!
Porter Mpagazi
Rope Kamba
Slowly Pole pole
Drinking water Maji ya kunywa
Toilet paper Karatasi ya choo
Left Kushoto
Right Kulia
Carry on straight Nenda mojakwa moja
I am lost Nimepotea
I want to go down Ninataka kwenda chini
Do you have a map? Unayo ramani?
Where are we? Sisi tupa wapi?
How far is it? Ni umbali gani?
I am thirsty Naona kiu
I am tired Nimechoka
I am cold Ninahisi baridi
My head aches Kickwa kinauma
Diarrhea Kuhara
Nausea Nataka kutapika
Vomiting Kutapika
I feel better Afadhali sana
There has been an accident Pametokea ajali
Don’t move him Usimsogeze
Get a doctor Umwite daktari
Please bring blankets Tafadhali ulete blanketi
He has fallen Ameanguka
He has fainted Amepoteza fahamu