Kenyans are naturally friendly people and knowing a bit of Swahili will not only make the locals love you but will make things easier for you throughout your stay in the East African country.

Although there are many English speakers in Kenya, it’s appropriate to know these Swahili words below in case you find yourself in a village.

  • Jambo– meaning HELLO. It has to be the most popular word in Swahili. When you meet a local just say JAMBO and you will sure get a smile back.
  • Nzuri– meaning FINE/GOOD/BEAUTIFUL. Nzuri is the reply you will get when you say Jambo.
  • Asante– meaning THANK YOU. This is also a very common word and it will come up often in your conversations.
  • Sana– meaning VERY. The word is used in ASANTE SANA which means Thank You VERY much.
  • Pole– meaning SORRY. You can use the word when you mistakenly drop something, someone falls or he/she sneezes.
  • Nydio– meaning YES. Used to answer in the affirmative.
  • Hapana– meaning NO. If you don’t want to say Yes, make use of ‘hapana’.
  • Rafiki– meaning FRIEND.
  • Maji– meaning WATER. You are on a safari and you need some water, you now know the right word to use.
  • Chakula– meaning FOOD. Throughout your stay in Kenya, you will want to try out their cuisine. So there you have it- Chakula, Swahili for food.

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