| Virtually the whole tourist industry, and many urban East
Africans, speaks English. As long as you stay on the beaten track, you will do
fine speaking a little English. In general, East Africans aren't the least stuck-up
when it comes to language, but will try words they know in any language, from Finnish
to sign language, to communicate with you.
Most driver guides speak English, but some also speak other languages, such as German,
French, Italian or Spanish.
Swahili and tribal languages
Most tribes in Kenya
have their own language, but most Kenyans and Tanzanians also speak Swahili, a language
originating from Bantu and Arabic, and today the lingua franca of Tanzania,
Kenya and Uganda. The language
is sometimes referred to as 'Kiswahili', which is the name of the language in Swahili.
If you want to have a go at Swahili during a tour to East Africa, both phrase books
and more comprehensive textbooks can be found in well-stocked bookshops.
Swahili for beginners
Jambo (dju'mmbo) means "hello".
Habari (hubbaa'ri) means "how are you?".
Answer Nzuri (nzuu'ree), "fine".
Karibu (kurree'bu) means "welcome".
Answer Asante (assu'nnte) or Asante
sana (assu'nnte saa'na), "thank you"/"thank you very
Kwaheri (koahe'ree) means "goodbye".
Ndiyo (ndee'u) means "yes".
Hapana (huppaa'na) means "no".