Swahili is spoken in many East African countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the democratic republic of Kongo, Malawi, Sambia, Ruanda, Mosambik, Comoros, and Mayotte. Swahili is one of best known and most frequently spoken Bantu language.

Is knowledge of English sufficient to travel Tanzania?

There are about 125 different spoken languages in Tanzania. While there is not one official language, Swahili is without a doubt the national language. Swahili is the language of political and social life. When we traveled we realized that locals often experience difficulties speaking English, especially when they are not working in the tourist industry. Tanzanians are very friendly and always eager to help despite language barriers. They get excited when you try to speak Swahili so it’s really nice to know the basics. Often an honest welcome and thank you is already enough to break the ice. Try it!

 


Our top 15 helpful phrases

Hello (polite) – Shikamo

Good morning – Habarigani

How are you? – Jambo

Good – Poa

Very good – Vizuri sana

What’s your name? – Jina lako nani?

My name is …. – Jina langu ni…

Nice to meet you – Vizuri kukutana

Have a nice day – Siku njema

I’m hungry – Nina ngaa

What’s that? – Nini hicho?

Excuse me – Samahani

No worries – Hakuna matata

How much is it – Ni bei gani…?

Thank you very much – Asante sana