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A Beginner's Guide To Learning Swahili Phrases And Words


Are you willing to adapt and integrate into the culture of the place you visit? Do you think it is appropriate for you to study the Swahili language of Tanzanians, which we will explore here?

Traveling to this area, Tanzaniawill be happy and it will benefit you from knowing their language. You will be happy and your life will be made easier if visitors who speak your native language arrive. And so they are. So let me show you some Swahili phrasesand words.

Helpful List Of Swahili Words

There are a lot of Swahili phrases, terms, and words in this article that you can use when you go on wildlife safaris and tours in Tanzania. Most of the people in Tanzania, especially those who work in the tourism industry, can speak basic English.

However, for obvious reasons, learning a few basic Swahili words and phrases is a big help. People also use the Swahili language in Kenya and Malawi.

General Terms In Swahili

List of general terms in Swahili, such as greetings and questions
List of general terms in Swahili, such as greetings and questions

English to Swahili:

  • 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 co - Shilingi Ngapi?
  • Where is โ€ฆ? - Iko wapi โ€ฆ?
  • Yes - Ndio

Numbers In Swahili

List of numbers in Swahili
List of numbers in Swahili

English to Swahili:

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

Animals In Swahili

List of animal names in Swahili
List of animal names in Swahili

English to Swahili:

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

Food And Drink

List of words in Swahili language
List of words in Swahili language

English to Swahili:

  • 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

List of words in the Swahili language
List of words in the Swahili language

English to Swahili:

  • 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
  • Donโ€™t move him - Usimsogeze
  • Get a doctor - Umwite daktari
  • Please bring blankets - Tafadhali ulete blanketi
  • He has fallen - Ameanguka
  • He has fainted - Amepoteza fahamu

What Language Is Swahili Similar To

There are a lot of Swahili words that come from the local Bantu languages and Arabic. It was the result of years of trade on the East African coast. English, Persian, Portuguese, German and French have all been used in trade with Swahili.

Is Swahili An Easy Language To Learn

An English speaker is said to be able to learn Swahili, which is an African language, very quickly. If you speak English, you know that there is no vocabulary tone, just like there is in English. It also makes it easier to read because you read Swahili words out loud the way they are written.

Swahili Language Learning

Learn Swahili - Swahili in Three Minutes - How to Introduce Yourself in Swahili

The best Swahili courses available online include:

  • SwahiliPod101. Cost:Starts as low as $4 a month.
  • Pimsleur Swahili. Cost:$14.95 a month subscription (or $119.95 per level)
  • Memrise. Cost: Free.
  • italki. Cost:Prices vary widely.
  • Transparent Language. Cost:Pricing varies.
  • uTalk.
  • Mango Languages.
  • Glossika Swahili.


When traveling to Tanzania, knowing the basics of the language will make your life a lot easier. The words I've translated and listed here are the most common ones that you'll come across on a regular basis in this country.

This is not a difficult understand the concept of Swahili phrases and words. As you can see, I've also included images so that you may save it to your phone and look to it directly if needed. Take your time to examine the info!

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About The Authors

Tara Weaver

Tara Weaver- I love Tanzania Wildlife Safaris. ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ ๐Ÿฆ

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