Going to Tanzania/Uganda without some basic Swahili written down if not learnt, will definitely affect your experience out there. I learnt some Swahili from You Tube before going to Tanzania which proved to be extremely useful. Swahili is easy to learn as the spelling is phonetic, you can therefore write down a few phrases to take with you without having to worry about getting to grips with the pronunciation. Not only will basic Swahili make you feel more confident on your travels, but the locals will be delighted to hear you speak Swahili, and haggling in Swahili is beneficial for the budget.
When I first began to learn Swahili, I used some great You Tube videos by a brilliant man called Kulmansam. He has produced a series of videos, from greetings to telling the time to getting directions- the first one can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNIGPJPSePo
Here are some Swahili words/phrases I learnt for Tanzania:
Hello- Jambo Reply- Sijambo
Hello to an elder- Shikamoo
Hello to a large group- Hamjambo
How are things?- Habari?
Very good- Nzuri Sana
And you?- Na wewe?
What’s up?- Mambo Reply- Safi, Fresh or Poa
Thank you- Asante
Thank you very much- Asante sana
We shall meet again- Tutaonana
See you later- Badai
Good morning/how is the morning?- Habari za asubuhi?
Good afternoon/how is the afternoon?- Habari za mchana?
Good evening/how is the evening?- Habari za jioni?
Hot water- Maji moto
Large water- Maji kubwa
Small water- Maji kidogo
A littble bit- Kidogo kidogo
I would like- Naomba
Goodnight- Lala Salama
Excuse me- Samahani
Do you speak English?- Unasema Kilingereza?
I don’t understand- Sifahamu
Can I stay here?- Naweza kukaa hapa?
Do you have…?- Kuna
These are essential for shopping (haggling) and for other general things such as arranging transport and accommodation. I have put some phonetic spelling in brackets as knowing the numbers really is important.
Four- nne (unnay)
Eight- nane (nanay)
Ten- Kume (koomee)
One thousand five hundred shillings- Elfu moja mia tano shillingi