Supercharge Your Safari: Top Swahili Phrases You Need to Know!

October 20, 2020 1 Comment
Jambo (Hello)!

Welcome to Swahili Magic! Many people inquire about how to learn Swahili phrases they should know in order to converse in Swahili. So I decided to write about it! When you’re done, you will be able to walk away with a handful of basic phrases to spark conversations!

Whether you are teaching young learners how to speak and read Swahili or want to learn some key phrases for an upcoming trip, you are in the right place!

Swahili Phrases


Why do I use Kiswahili instead of Swahili? I’m glad you asked! Kiswahili is actually the more accurate term when describing the language. Swahili is what is most often used; however, Kiswahili is preferred. People who speak Kiswahili as their mother tongue refer to themselves as Swahili. 

Learning a language isn’t just about learning the sounds and words. It’s also about learning the origins. Knowing where it comes from helps develop a love for the language!

The Kiswahili language has diverse derivations, including Arabic, English, German, and Portuguese, which is the result of colonization and increased trade with these countries. Not only is Kiswahili the most widely used language in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, but it is also the official language (alongside English) of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. It is also spoken in Burundi, Rwanda, Mayotte, South Africa, Somalia, Congo, Mozambique, and Zaire!

How to Teach Kiswahili and Swahili Phrases

One of my favorite parts of teaching the Kiswahili language is that it’s relatively easy to learn and that it sounds so beautiful! What makes it so easy to learn is that the words are pronounced as they appear, phonetically.

Learning key phrases you can use when speaking Swahili will go a long way, especially when meeting locals on your travels. Demonstrating your knowledge of the language, even if it is limited, shows that you want to learn about another culture, that you are trying, and that you are respectful of another culture.

Below is a short list of basic or key phrases you can quickly learn and use right away! Try to memorize as many as you can; however, it will also be handy to have a short cheat sheet to help if you forget anything.

English and Kiswahili

Hello – jambo

How are you? – habari gani?

Goodbye – Kwaheri

Nice to meet you – nimefurahi kukuona

Yes – ndiyo

No – hapana

Thank you – asante

Please – tafadhali

Okay – sawa

Excuse me, – samahani

Can you help me tafadhali – naomba msaada

My name is – jina langu ni

Bathroom – bafu

I don’t know, – Sijui

I enjoy teaching Kiswahili to my students and strive to make my lessons as engaging as possible. Besides learning the basic phrases, students will also benefit from knowing the basics of the words themselves.  To help students understand the basic foundation of Kiswahili, I created a series of products that help students understand consonants, noun classes, verbs, and vowels in Kiswahili.

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 teaching 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!) 

Swahili Magic

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1 Comment

  • Travel to Kenya - Swahili Magic December 11, 2020 at 10:53 am

    […] (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 […]

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    I'm an elementary school teacher who loves what she does! I enjoy creating resources in my Native language "kiswahili". My goal is to spread the beautiful language of "Kiswahili" inside and outside the classroom. Thanks for stopping by! Read More

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