Nairobi, Kenya > Travel Help > Swahili English Guide

Swahili English Guide

Below, is a free, printable pocket guide of basic Swahili words and phrases (with corresponding English translations), to help you navigate your way in the city and be friendly to locals.

Kenya’s two official languages are Swahili (also referred to as Kiswahili) and English. As a result, most Kenyans are bilingual.

The Swahili language is commonly written using the Latin alphabet — with the exception of the letters “Q” and “X” — making it legible to English-speakers. Pronunciation should also be relatively intuitive. Consonants are pronounced as they would be in English, while vowels are pronounced as they would be in Italian, as in the following:

A – ah (as in “gather”)
E – eh (as in “egg”)
I – ee (as in “broccoli“)
O – oh (as in “blow”)
U – oo (as in “blue”)

Pocket Guide Instructions:

  1. Download the 1-page PDF swahili pocket guide booklet in:
    US Letter Size Phrase Booklet (North America) – File Size: 430 KB
    DIN A4 Size Phrase Booklet (International) – File Size: 296 KB
  2. Print PDF.
  3. Fold into booklet using the following steps:

Folding Instructions