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African Greetings

How to say "Hello" in Africa

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Below are some African greetings that will help you establish a friendly rapport with local people while you're traveling in Africa. Since there are thousands of languages spoken in Africa, I've had to narrow down the choices quite a bit. I've sorted it out per country and since some languages cross borders, the greeting may be repeated. E-mail me if you know of more and I'll be happy to include them!

Note: unless indicated, the greeting should work for most of the country.

How to say "hello" in:

Angola
Portuguese: Bom Dia (Good Morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

Botswana
Setswana: Dumela mma/rra (to woman/man)
English: Hello

Burkina Faso
French: Bonjour
Dioula: in-i-che

Cameroon
French: Bonjour
English: Hello (in the west of Cameroon)

Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
French: Bonjour
Dioula: in-i-che

Egypt
Arabic: salaam aleikum
English: Hello

Ethiopia
Amharic: teanastellen
English: Hello

Gabon
French: Bonjour

Ghana
Twi: ete-sen
Ga: meeng-gah-bou (spoken in the capital Accra)
Dagbani: Kawula (good morning - desibah, good afternoon - anteray, good evening - ana(w)ula
Hausa: sannu (spoken in northern Ghana)
English: Hello

Kenya
Swahili: Habari/Jambo
English: Hello

Lesotho
South Sotho: Lumela
English: Hello

Libya
Arabic: salaam aleikum

Madagascar
Malagasy: Salama
French: Bonjour

Malawi
Chichewa: Moni
English: Hello

Mali
French: Bonjour
Bambara: i-ni-cheh
Tamashek: met-al-ee-khah(Tuareg language)

Mauritania
Arabic: salaam aleikum
Hassaniya: sa-la-mah ah-lay-kum

Morocco
Arabic: salaam aleikum
French: Bonjour

Mozambique
Portuguese: Bom Dia (Good Morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

Namibia
Afrikaans: Hallo
Damara/Nama: !gai//oas (spoken in the south and southeast)
Herero/Himba: Tjike (spoken in the north central and northwest)
English: Hello

Nigeria
Hausa: sannu
Igbo: ee-bow-lah-chee(southeastern Nigeria)
Yoruba: bah-oh
English: Hello
French: Bonjour

Rwanda
French: Bonjour

Senegal
French: Bonjour
Fulfulde: no ngoolu daa
Wolof: na nga def

Sierra Leone
Krio: How de body?

South Africa
Zulu: Sawubona
Xhosa: Molo
Afrikaans: Hallo
English: Hello

Sudan
Arabic: salaam aleikum

Swaziland
Swati: Sawubona
English: Hello

Tanzania
Swahili: Salama/Jambo
English: Hello

Togo
French: Bonjour

Tunisia
French: Bonjour
Arabic: salaam aleikum

Uganda
Luganda: Oli otya
Swahili: Salama/Jambo
English: Hello

Zambia
English: Hello
Bemba: Muli shani

Zimbabwe
English: Hello
Shona: Mhoroi
Ndebele: Sawubona

Source: Lonely Planet Guide Books

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