Local Lingo: 10 Useful Local Phrases in Harare

Travelling to a new destination is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a bit daunting when you’re faced with a language barrier. However, making an effort to learn a few local phrases can go a long way in enhancing your travel experience and connecting with the people you meet. If you’re planning a trip to Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, here are ten useful local phrases that will help you break the ice and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of this beautiful city.

1. “Mhoroi” (pronounced more-roy)

This friendly greeting is akin to saying “hello” in Harare. It’s a warm and welcoming way to start a conversation with locals you meet during your travels.

2. “Ko” (pronounced koh)

Use this word to ask for directions. For example, if you’re looking for a particular street, you can say, “Street ko where?”

3. “Zvakanaka” (pronounced zvah-kah-nah-kah)

This versatile phrase means “good” or “okay.” You can use it to express your approval or satisfaction with something, whether it’s a meal, an experience, or simply to respond positively in conversation.

4. “Ndinotenda” (pronounced ndee-noh-ten-dah)

Expressing gratitude is important in Zimbabwean culture. Use this phrase to say “thank you” when someone helps you or does something kind for you.

5. “Makadii” (pronounced mah-kah-dee)

This is another way to greet people by asking how they are. It’s equivalent to saying, “How are you?” You can respond with “Ndiripo” (I’m here) if you’re doing well.

6. “Ndinovaka” (pronounced ndee-noh-vah-kah)

If you want to say that you’re going to eat, use this phrase. For example, “Ndinovaka sadza” means “I’m going to eat sadza,” which is a staple food in Zimbabwe.

7. “Pane zvakanaka here?” (pronounced pah-neh zvah-kah-nah-kah hair-ray)

This question means “Is there anything good?” You can use it when you’re looking for recommendations, such as asking if there are any good restaurants nearby.

8. “Ndingatadzireiwo here?” (pronounced ndee-ngah-tah-dzee-ray-woh hair-ray)

If you’re not sure about something and want to confirm, you can use this phrase, which means “Can I try it?” It’s a polite way to sample a new dish or experience.

9. “Ndiri kurova chibhakera” (pronounced ndee-ree koo-roh-vah chee-bhah-kay-rah)

If you want to let someone know you’re having a good time or enjoying a meal, you can say, “Ndiri kurova chibhakera,” which means “I’m savouring the dish.”

10. “Ndoda kugara panze” (pronounced ndoh-dah koo-gah-rah pah-nzay)

When you want to request a seat or indicate where you’d like to sit, you can use this phrase. It means “I want to sit in front” or “I’d like to sit here.”

Learning these basic phrases not only makes your travel experience more enjoyable but also shows respect for the local culture and a willingness to connect with the people of Harare. Zimbabweans are known for their warm hospitality, and your efforts to communicate in their language will be met with smiles and appreciation.

So, as you prepare for your journey to Harare, take a little time to practice these essential local phrases. You’ll find that they open doors to meaningful interactions, cultural exchange, and unforgettable experiences in this welcoming city. And who knows your newfound language skills might even lead to some lifelong friendships along the way. Enjoy your travels and the rich linguistic tapestry of Harare!