How to Say Hello in Several African Languages

African Languages Herdsman Waving Hello
••• A herdsman in Morocco. Stanislav Solntsev/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Part of the thrill of foreign travel is experiencing another country's culture, and the best way to do that is to interact with the local people. Communicating can be difficult in Africa, a continent with between 1,500 and 2,000 African languages. But even a few words or phrases go a long way, and the best place to start is at the beginning - with 'hello'. In this article, we look at some of the greetings used across the continent, organised by country to make the list easy to navigate.

 Most African nations employ countless different greetings, with each one representing a different race, people or tribe. Here, we've listed the most commonly used greetings, some of which may be repeated from one country to the next. 

Note: Where there are multiple native languages, only the most prominent will be included. If there isn't one native language that is more prominent than the others, only the greeting of the country's official language will be given. 

How to Say "Hello" in:

Angola

Portuguese: Olá (Hello), Bom dia (Good morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

Botswana

Setswana: Dumela mma (Hello to a woman), Dumela rra (Hello to a man)

English: Hello

Burkina Faso

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Mossi: Ne y yibeogo! (Good morning)

Dyula: ​I ni sogoma (Good morning)

Cameroon

French: Bonjour (Hello)

English: Hello

Cote d'Ivoire

French: Bonjour

Egypt

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

Ethiopia

Amharic: Teanastëllën (Hello, formal), Tadiyass (Hello, informal)

Gabon

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Fang: M'bole (Hello to one person), M'bolani (Hello to several people)

Ghana

English: Hello

Twi: Maakyé (Good morning)

Kenya

Swahili: Jambo (Hello), Habari (How's it going?)

English: Hello

Lesotho

Sesotho: Lumela (Hello to one person), Lumelang (Hello to several people)

English: Hello

Libya

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

Madagascar

Malagasy: Salama (Hello), M'bola tsara (Hello)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Malawi

Chichewa: Moni (Hello)

English: Hello

Mali

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Bambara: I ni ce (Hello)

Mauritania

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

Hassaniya: Aw'walikum (Hello)

Morocco

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Mozambique

Portuguese: Olá (Hello), Bom dia (Good morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon), Boa noite (Good evening)

Namibia

English: Hello

Afrikaans: Hallo (Hello)

Oshiwambo: Mwa lele po (Hello)

Nigeria

English: Hello

Hausa: Sànnu (Hello)

Igbo: Ibaulachi (Hello)

Yoruba: Bawo (Hello)

Rwanda

Kinyarwanda: Muraho (Hello)

French: Bonjour (Hello)

English: Hello

Senegal

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Wolof: Nanga def (How are you?)

Sierra Leone

English: Hello

Krio: Kushe (Hello)

South Africa

Zulu: Sawubona (Hello)

Xhosa: Molo (Hello)

Afrikaans: Hallo (Hello)

English: Hello

Sudan

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

Swaziland

Swati: Sawubona (Hello)

English: Hello

Tanzania

Swahili: Jambo (Hello), Habari (How's it going?)

English: Hello

Togo

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Tunisia

French: Bonjour (Hello)

Arabic: As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you)

Uganda

Luganda: Oli otya (Hello)

Swahili: Jambo (Hello), Habari (How's it going?)

English: Hello

Zambia

English: Hello

Bemba: Muli shani (How are you?)

Zimbabwe

English: Hello

Shona: Mhoro (Hello)

Ndebele: Sawubona (Hello)

Article updated by Jessica Macdonald on August 12th 2016.