Nairobi - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

answer - Mar 2024

You can get by with English everywhere, but you can take Kiswahili at the embassy for free or from local tutors. Kenyan people really appreciate when you speak a little bit with them, even if it's just the most basic phrases. - Mar 2024

Most people speak English - Aug 2023

None. - Mar 2022

English and Swahili are the two national languages. Learning a little Swahili helps, but you don't need it. I never took classes so I can't help with this one. - Aug 2021

You don't need Kiswahili, but it's nice to learn some phrases. The Embassy teacher is awesome. I've taken other lessons too which were good and affordable. - Apr 2021

English is spoken everywhere. - Nov 2020

As English is truly widely spoken, you don't really need to learn the local language except for pleasantries to be polite/nice. - Dec 2018

None. You don't need Swahili to get around here, but it can't hurt to learn a little. Post's language program is really good. The little I picked up in classes went a long way with the locals. - Dec 2018

The US Embassy offers Kiswahili and you can also take lessons at the National Museum of Kenya. You can get by with English but if you are outside of the city it is great to know some Kiswahili. People are also more willing to negotiate if you speak the language. - Jun 2018

Kiswahili is not strictly necessary, but it is an easy language to get a basic handle on. There are many tutors available. Again, most Kenyans speak British English. - Jul 2016

Not much. English is official langugae - Sep 2015

None, but it helps if you know some. The locals will be happy with you! - Aug 2015

Not much - greetings, thank you, etc. are enough but more is better. There's an excellent Kiswahili teacher in the Embassy offering lunchtime and evening classes or as-needed. - Jul 2015

None, but speaking Swahili to the locals will give you props. - May 2015

Not much but basic greetings and phrases will be appreciated. - Dec 2014

English is common as is Kiswahili. - Jun 2014

None. Locals appreciate a little Kiswahilli, but everyone speaks English. - Jun 2014

None, although a bit of Swahili helps. - Jul 2013

None. Everyone speaks English. But some Swahili is appreciated by locals. - Jun 2013

None. Everyone speaks English. They might not understand your accent, but that can go both ways. - Dec 2012

English is an official language. Kiswahili is widely-spoken but rarely necessary. - Aug 2012

English will get you by just fine. - Dec 2011

English is one of the official languages of Kenya. It's good to know some polite words in Swahili. - Dec 2011

Very little. - Sep 2011

None. - Dec 2010

Not much, but it is good to know some words of Kiswahili. The kids learn it in school which is nice. - Dec 2009

Not really any. - Jul 2009

None. - Jun 2008

English is fine though a smattering of Swahili is always appreciated. - Feb 2008

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More