Places in Kenya
Kenya is one of the Swahili-speaking countries in North Africa, along the coast of the Indian Ocean. There are some Spectacular Places in Kenya Just south of Ethiopia, Kenya served as a major port of trade that connected the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, and India. Spices, gold, silver, and even (unfortunately) slaves were sold or exchanged along the entire coast of Kenya, making it the center of East African trade on the African continent.
Because of its vast exposure to many cultures and speakers of different languages, Kenya not only became a nucleus of trade but also the cultural hub of Eastern Africa. Where there are goods bought and sold, there are cornucopias of people. Where there are people, there is culture, many cultures. So, to study Kiswahili is to study Kenya.
The two official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili. English is typically used in formal settings such as business meetings, post-secondary education, and even government. Swahili, locally referred to as Kiswahili, is a language that has many dialects, and even subdialects, making it fantastically unique.
Origins of Kiswahili
Kiswahili was a language created to serve the trading industry around the 14th Century. Because Kenya has a history of British, Portuguese, and Arabic influence, the creation of Swahili is a functional, yet beautiful, way to communicate.
To break down the word Kiswahili, one would discover that Sahil (plural: Swahili) means coast in Arabic. Placing “ki” at the beginning means coastal language.
In fact, Kiswahili is a combination of local Bantu languages and Arabic.
What better way to show off your command of Kiswahili, than to travel to Kenya and practice it in the heart of where it originated and flourished? To help guide you, I want to offer just a couple of places you must travel to when visiting Kenya. These two places have deep connections to ancient trade routes and the creation of Kiswahili.
Lamu in Kenya
Probably the most popular, and maybe even underrated, location to visit in Kenya is Lamu Island. The Lamu Archipelago is an early Swahili settlement on the northern coast of Kenya. Founded in the 14th century, it boasts various chic guest accommodations, and a thriving art community, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can also visit Mombasa, which is also on the coast along the Indian Ocean. It is the country’s oldest city and second-largest, next to Nairobi. Unlike Lamu, Mombasa is a larger tourist area to visit. Like Lamu, Mombasa has roots in Portugal, British, and Arabic regions.
While traveling to Kenya, whether to these two sites or others, try out some of the easiest beginner Kiswahili phrases such as Jambo! (Hello!) and Habari gani (How are you?) For a more extensive list of phrases, visit my post on Key Phrases in Swahili and even Swahili Proverbs!
Besides the products linked above, I have many other activities in my TPT store that are designed to teach Kiswahili while having fun!
Want It All?
Check out The Great Ultimate Bundle, which has 34 products for learning Kiswahili!
I hope you have found this helpful! If you have questions or are looking for something in particular, please comment or reach out to me!
Tutaonana baadaye! (See you later!)