Take a Swing at Swahili

How do you say “lion” in Swahili? Or how about “elephant”? Swahili is one of many languages of the African savanna. Some Swahili words seem like tongue twisters! Luckily, we have Wilson to show us the way. Wilson is originally from Kenya in Africa and used to be a farm attendant at the Milwaukee County Zoo. He cared for the cows, goats, horses and pigs. Wilson speaks Swahili and pronounced several animals’ names for us. 

Listen to this recording that introduces you to Wilson.

Then click on each Swahili name to hear how it is pronounced. Then try to say each name just like Wilson does. Congratulations! You’re speaking Swahili! You can find more fun activities about the African savanna in the January 2011 Kids Alive. (Zoological Society members can access that issue by clicking here.)

  1. Lion – Simba


  2. Hyena – Fisi


  3. Giraffe – Twiga


  4. Zebra – Punda milia


  5. Elephant – Ndovu
    (Note: there is more than one word for elephant in Swahili.)


  6. Rhinoceros – Kifaru


  7. Impala – Swala pala


  8. Wildebeest – Nyumbu


  9. Ostrich – Mbuni


  10. Cinereous Vulture – Tai

Savanna Maze

Click here for the answer to the wildebeest Great Migration maze in the January 2011 Kids Alive.

Savanna Maze

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