Swahili Animal Names: Animals In the Swahili Language

July 29, 2023 3 Comments
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You’ve decided to embark on an exciting new adventure—learning Swahili! What better way to start than by learning the longest animal names of some of nature’s most fascinating and diverse creatures? In this beginner’s guide, you’ll learn over 50 animal names in Swahili, pronunciations included. Before you know it, you’ll be impressing your friends with your knowledge of Simba (lion), tembo (elephant), and kifaru (rhino).

Swahili is a beautiful language, melodic and expressive, and animal names are particularly delightful. Prepare to discover a whole new set of creatures in a whole new tongue. Learn along with us and unleash your inner wildlife enthusiast. This adventure into the animal kingdom and Swahili language will have you exclaiming, “Tafadhali, nipe zaidi!” “Please, give me more!”

Useful Swahili Phrases for Learning Animal Names In Swahili

Learning animal names in Swahili is exciting! This cheerful language uses fun, descriptive words for the creatures we know and love. To start, say “Jambo!” (Hello!) and “Samahani” (Excuse me). Next, learn “Ninaitwa…” (My name is…) to introduce yourself. Now you’re ready to dive into the animal kingdom!

Animal Name In Swahili

Here are some lively phrases to know:

  • Simba is a lion, the king of the jungle! Majestic Simba roars throughout the savanna.
  • Chui is the leopard, the spotted hunter of the night. A silent chui prowls through the darkness.
  • Twiga is a giraffe, the long-necked beauty of the plains. Graceful twigs glide across the grasslands.
  • Punda milia is zebra, the striped horse of the veld. Playful Punda Milia gallops with the herd.
  • Tembo is an elephant, the gentle giant of the bush. Wise tembo wanders the wilderness.
  • Kiboko is the hippo, the plump wallowers of the waters. Noisy kiboko basks by the banks.
  • Kifaru is the rhino, the armored tank of the scrub. Stubborn ndovu charges through the bush.
  • Nyani is a monkey, the mischievous acrobat of the canopy. Cheeky nyani swings through the trees.

Now you know some spirited Swahili for your favorite furry and feathered friends! Keep practicing, and you’ll be chatting with the animals in no time!

As they say in Swahili, “Tutaonana!” (See you later!)

The Swahili Longest Animal Name Word For Common Pets: Dog, Cat, Fish, Bird

Learning animal names in Swahili is fun! To get started, focus on some common pets.

The Swahili Word for Dog is Mbwa

Mbwa is the Swahili word for dog. Say it with me: “m-bwa”! Dogs are popular companions in Swahili-speaking areas of East Africa, just like anywhere else. Some other ways to refer to dogs in Swahili are puppy (mbwa mdogo), stray dog (mbwa mwitu), and guard dog (mbwa wa ulinzi).

The Swahili Word for Cat is Paka

The Swahili word for cat is paka (pronounced “pah-kah”). Kittens are called paka mdogo. Cats are beloved pets and help keep homes free of rodents in Tanzania and Kenya. Some Swahili speakers believe that black cats (paka mweusi) bring bad luck!

The Swahili Word for Fish is Samaki

Samaki (pronounced “sah-mah-kee”) is the Swahili word for fish. Fish are an important source of food and income for people living near lakes and oceans in East Africa. You might hear fishermen talking about catching samaki in their nets or see fish for sale at local markets.

The Swahili Word for Bird is Ndege

The Swahili word for bird is ndege (pronounced “n-deh-gay”). Many colorful and unique bird species inhabit East Africa, like hornbills, sunbirds, weaver birds, and the gray-crowned crane. Next time you spot birds outside, try saying “ndege wanapita!” which means “The birds are passing by!”Learning the names of some common animals in Swahili is a great way to expand your vocabulary. With regular practice, you’ll be conversing comfortably about pets and wildlife in no time!

Farm Animals in Swahili Longest Animal Name: Cow, Pig, Sheep, Goat

longest animal name

Learning animal names in Swahili is lots of fun! Let’s start with some common farm animals.


In Swahili, a cow is called “ng’ombe”. Cows are such gentle, grass-munching creatures. Can you moo like a cow? Ng’ombe provides us with milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream. Yum!


The Swahili word for pig is “nguruwe”. Pigs love to roll around in the mud and make loud snorting sounds. Do you know the story of the three little pigs? Pigs are also smart and social animals. People keep pigs as farm animals all over the world.


A sheep is called “kondoo” in Swahili. Sheep have soft wooly coats and like to flock together in big groups. Kondoo is raised by farmers for their wool, meat, and milk. Do you know what sound a sheep makes? “Baa baa”!


The Swahili word for goat is “mbuzi”. Goats are playful animals that like to climb, jump, and nibble on everything! Their milk and meat are used as food for people. Goats often live on farms with sheep, cows, and other farm animals. Learning animal names in another language is a fun way to expand your knowledge about the world. Now you know some common farm animals in Swahili. Kazi nzuri! (Good job!) Keep practicing and you’ll be chatting about ng’ombe, nguruwe, kondoo, and mbuzi in no time!

Names Of Wild Animals In Swahili longest Animal Name: Lion, Elephant, Zebra, Giraffe

longest animal name

The savanna of East Africa is home to some of the most iconic wild animals. Let’s learn the Swahili longest animal name of these majestic creatures!

Simba – Lion

Simba, the king of the jungle! Lions are powerful predators that live and hunt in pride. Female lions, called Simba mke, do most of the hunting while the males, Simba dume, protect the pride’s territory. Lions are famous for their loud roars, used to communicate over long distances. If you’re on safari, hearing a lion’s roar in the distance will give you goosebumps!

Tembo – Elephant

Tembo are the largest land animals on Earth. These gentle giants travel in herds made up of related females and their calves. Male elephants, called Tembo dume, live mostly solitary lives or in small bachelor herds. An elephant’s trunk is one of the most versatile organs in the animal kingdom. Tembo uses their trunks to grasp food, lift water, and even greet one another. Seeing a tembo in the wild is a truly unforgettable experience.

Punda Milia – Zebra

Punda milia, or zebras, are black and white striped equids that live in large herds. Their distinct striped pattern acts as camouflage to deter predators. Zebras are very social and groom each other to strengthen their bonds. Stallions will defend the herd by barking loudly and showing their teeth. The common plains zebra and the rare Grévy’s zebra can both be found living in harmony on the East African savanna.

Twiga – Giraffe

With their long necks and spotted coats, twiga is one of the most recognizable animals of Africa. Giraffes are the tallest mammals on Earth, some growing up to 19 feet tall! Their height allows them to feed on leaves and buds high up in the treetops that other herbivores can’t reach. A giraffe’s neck alone weighs over 500 pounds but allows it to scan the horizon for predators. What a sight it is to see a tower of giraffes gracefully walking across the savanna!

Learn More Swahili Animal Vocabulary

Learning the longest animal name in Swahili is exciting! Expand your vocabulary and discover fun new words. Here are some common animals to get you started:

Wanyama (Animals)

  • Simba (lion): The king of the jungle! Simba is a popular Swahili name meaning “lion”.
  • Twiga (giraffe): The graceful twiga is the tallest land animal.
  • Punda milia (zebra): The striking black and white striped punda milia grazes on the savanna.
  • Chui (leopard): The stealthy chui is a magnificent big cat that hunts at night.
  • Tumbili (monkey): The playful tumbili swings from tree to tree in the forest canopy.
  • Ndovu (elephant): The majestic ndovu has excellent memory and strong family bonds.

Keep building your Swahili animal vocabulary! Challenge yourself to learn the names of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and sea creatures too. Flashcards are a fun and effective way to actively practice new words. You’ll be conversing about the aina mbalimbali za wanyama (different kinds of animals) in no time!

Don’t stop here – immerse yourself in the Swahili language as much as possible. Listen to Swahili radio, watch Swahili cartoons, read Swahili books, and speak with others. Find what works for you and stick with it. With regular practice, these new words will become second nature. Keep up the good work, you’ve got this! The key is to have fun while learning. Furahia! (Enjoy!)


You’ve now learned the Swahili names of over 20 common animals. With some practice, these new words will roll off your tongue with ease. Keep using flashcards, listen to audio lessons, watch videos online, and engage in conversations. Before you know it, you’ll be chatting about lions, zebras, and giraffes like a pro!

Learning a new language opens you up to a whole new world of possibilities. You can now connect with even more people, expand your mind, and enrich your life in amazing ways. Continue your language journey – there’s an entire vocabulary of nature, food, family, and more to uncover. The wonders of Swahili await you! Pole pole ndio mwendo.

Want to learn more about Animal Names in Swahili? I have activities in my TPT store that are fun, interactive, and engaging, designed to help you learn about Animals in Swahili while having fun! 

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