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Kenya is arguably Africa’s most epic safari destination, if not in the world. Here you can witness the Great Migration and explore four of Africa’s best wildlife-viewing spots on one epic itinerary: the Serengeti, Maasai Mara, Lewa and Ngorongoro Crater.

If you are lucky enough to visit Kenya alone or on a cross-country safari, here are a few basic local language and travel etiquette tips.

Kenya is a multilingual country of over 45 million people. The official languages are Swahili and English, but there are actually several dozen languages spoken in the country, including tribal African languages as well as a minority of Middle-Eastern and Asian languages spoken by descendants of foreign settlers (i.e. Arabic, Hindi, etc). The African languages come from three different language families – Bantu languages (spoken in the center and southeast), Nilotic languages (in the west), and Cushitic languages (in the northeast). Most Safari destinations will include Swahili, the first and main Bantu language.

Below are some basic Swahili phrases that may evoke smiles of appreciation that you are trying to learn their mother tongue (if not friendly laughter at your pronunciation!).

English                                    kiSwahili (Swahili)

Hello (General greeting)        Habari (inf) Hujambo (sg) Hamjambo (pl)

Welcome                                Karibu (sg) Karibuni (pl)

How are you?                         Habari (inf) Hujambo (sg) Hamjambo (pl)

Reply to ‘How are you?’         Nzuri (reply to Habari) Njema (reply to Habari)

Sijambo (reply to Hujambo)   Hatujambo (reply to Hamjambo)

What’s your name?                Jina lako ni nani?

My name is …                         Jina langu ni …

Where are you from?             Unatoka wapi?

I’m from …                              Natoka …

Pleased to meet you              Nafurahi kukuona; Nimefurahi kukutana nawe

Before you head out on an amazing Kenya Safari, you can learn more useful phrases here.