How are you in Swahili: Your #1 Best Guide.

Traveling to Kenya to see the rare zebras and explore the beautiful landscape? Or are you traveling to Tanzania instead? Whichever Swahili-speaking country you are traveling to, you must know how to greet the people and say how are you in Swahili. Africans are naturally respectful people that won’t mind greeting anyone they see passing across the neighborhood, so long as you are not fighting them.

In their culture, it is ideal for younger ones also to greet the adults and other people they see around. So, if you are planning on traveling to any Swahili-speaking countries, you must know some popular greetings and how to ask how someone is in their native language. Fortunately, we will be taking a look at that today. So, let’s dive in.

How Do Swahili Speakers Greet?

As I mentioned earlier, it is normal for Africans to greet each other at home and even in the immediate neighborhood. The younger ones are supposed to greet the older people and then extend the greetings to their age mates. A firm handshake or a slight bow is generally accepted as a greeting.

how are you in swahili

How To Ask How Are You In Swahili

Let’s take a closer look at how to ask how you are in Swahili in both the formal and casual aspects.

U hali gani

U hali gani which means how are you is the correct and formal way of asking how are you in Kenya or Tanzania. It is generally acceptable when greeting superiors or strangers. Also, when you are unfamiliar with other Swahili culture greetings, then U hali gani is a great word. However, it is not the commonest phrase in daily conversations between friends and family. They’d rather stick to Habari Gani.

Take note: Mhali gani should be used when talking to two or more people.


Hujambo is another way to ask how are you in Swahili and is known as the most common translation for this question. You will hear friends and relatives asking Hujambo or Jambo (the shortened form of Hujambo). The common response to this question is Njema which means I am fine.

Take note: Hamjambo is the plural form of Hujambo and is used for more than one person.


You may have heard that habari za asubuhi is good morning and habari za mchana is good afternoon, but Habari is also a common way to ask how are you in Swahili countries. Habari literally means “any news?” which technically also passes as how are you. The common response to Habari is Nzuri which means fine. So, if you want to be casual and speak like a native, you can throw a few Habari around.

Ways To Reply To ‘How Are You’

Mimi ni mzima

Mimi ni mzima means I am fine, and it is a good response to U hali gani. Use this when you are truly fine or the how are you was just a part of greeting. If the person is asking for a genuine answer, then you will have to say more than Mimi ni mzima.

Mimi na hisi vibaya.

This literally means I am feeling bad, and this is only used if you are not feeling well and you would love to share with your friend or relative. The other person may ask Mbona? which means why.

Niko salama

An alternative to Mimi ni mizima is Niko Salama which means I am okay. You can also use Sina ubaya which means I am not bad instead of Niko Salama.

Other ways to reply

  • Njema – Fine
  • Salama – Peaceful
  • Naendelea vyema – I am doing fine

How To Ask How Are You In Return

black lady smiling

What if you are the one at the receiving end of this greeting? Finding out if the other person is also doing fine is only polite. Here are some useful phrases to ask how are you return

Na wewe: Na wewe means “and you?” and this is the shortest way to find out if the person is doing okay without repeating the how are you Swahili words. The person may choose to reply with Mimi niko mzima pia which means “I am fine too,” and Asante kwa kuuliza which means “thanks for asking.”

Other Useful Swahili Greetings

Now that we’ve explored the popular ways to ask how are you in Swahili, let’s also take a look at other greeting words and popular phrases that will make communication easier and more fun.

Habari za asubuhiGood morning
Habari za mchanaGood afternoon
Habari za jioniGood evening
Habari za kutwaHow has your day been
AsanteThank you
Jina lako nani?What is your name?
Jina langu ni…My name is…
UnakuwajeHow is it going

Learn More Greetings With Ling

Swahili is an official language too more than three countries and is one of the most spoken languages in sub-Saharan Africa. Besides that, the Swahili language is an easy and interesting language to learn. So, if you are still wondering how to say Hello in Swahili or happy new year, and you want to become a fluent Swahili speaker, then you should check out the Ling App.

Learn Swahili With Ling

learn swahili with Ling

Ling App is a language learning app with amazing loads of effective resources and features targeted at teaching Swahili language learners the core skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It comes with thoughtful grammar lessons, interactive quizzes, games, a chatbot to improve speaking, and loads of resources to teach you the culture and lifestyle of Swahili speakers.

In addition, the Ling App teaches more than 60+ languages aside from Swahili. Through the app, you can move from a beginner to a fluent speaker in a short period as long as you dedicate at least 15 minutes to learning daily. So, what are you waiting for? Download the Ling App today and learn a new language in the comfort of your home.


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