How to Tell Time in Swahili

by Julius Muange on Jun 12, 2017

Bird in front of a clockPicture Source

In Swahili, the time is measured from sunrise to sunset (daytime) and sunset to sunrise (night time). This is primarily because most Swahili speaking countries are on the equator and the times for sunrise and sunset are almost identical year-round.

The counting of time starts from 6:00 a.m. on the English clock. 7:00 a.m. is said as Saa moja asubuhi (the first hour in the morning), and so on. Therefore, the Swahili times are offset by 6 hours from their English versions. Below are all the hours of the day in the English clock, their equivalent Swahili time, and how to say them in Swahili.


English Swahili
Morning Asubuhi
Daytime Mchana
Afternoon Alasiri
Evening Jioni
Night Usiku
Minute Dakika
Half Nusu
Time Saa
Quarter to Kasorobo
Quarter past na robo
Less Kasoro

Visit our blog on numbers to brush up on the Swahili translations for numbers, as you will need to know those to understand how to tell time in Swahili. Here is how to say specific time with minutes in Swahili.

English Swahili Time Swahili
6:00 a.m. 12:00 in the morning Saa Kumi na mbili asubuhi
7:00 a.m. 1:00 in the morning Saa moja asubuhi
8:00 a.m. 2:00 in the morning Saa mbili asubuhi
9:00 a.m. 3:00 in the morning Saa tatu asubuhi
10:00 a.m. 4:00 in the morning Saa nne asubuhi
11:00 a.m. 5:00 in the morning Saa tano asubuhi
12:00 p.m. (Noon) 6:00 in the afternoon Saa sita alasiri
1:00 p.m. 7:00 in the afternoon Saa saba alasiri
2:00 p.m. 8:00 in the afternoon Saa nane alasiri
3:00 p.m. 9:00 in the afternoon Saa tisa alasiri
4:00 p.m. 10:00 in the evening Saa kumi jioni
5:00 p.m. 11:00 in the evening Saa kumi na moja jioni
6:00 p.m. 12:00 in the evening Saa kumi na mbili jioni / Thenashara
7:00 p.m. 1:00 in the evening Saa moja jioni
8:00 p.m. 2:00 in the night Saa mbili usiku
9:00 p.m. 3:00 in the night Saa tatu usiku
10:00 p.m. 4:00 in the night Saa nne usiku
11:00 p.m. 5:00 in the night Saa tano usiku
12:00 a.m. (Midnight) 6:00 in the night Saa sita usiku
1:00 a.m. 7:00 in the night Saa saba usiku
2:00 a.m. 8:00 in the night Saa nane usiku
3:00 a.m. 9:00 in the night Saa tisa usiku
4:00 a.m. 10:00 in the morning Saa kumi asubuhi
5:00 a.m. 11:00 in the morning Saa kumi na moja asubuhi

How to say specific time with minutes in Swahili.

English Swahili
9:45 Saa nne kasorobo
11:30 Saa tano unusu / Saa tano na nusu
10:15 Saa nne na robo
12:15 Saa sita na dakika kumi na tano
8:20 Saa mbili na dakika ishirini
7:40 Saa moja na dakika arobaini / Saa mbili kasoro dakika ishirini
6:50 Saa kumi na mbili na dakika hamsini / Saa moja kasoro dakika kumi


2 Responses

  1. Anonym says:

    Great site but please make the following correction above: 12:12 – Saa sita na dakika kumi na mbili.

    January 7th, 2019 at 6:17 AM
  2. Amimo says:

    *12:12 Saa sita na dakika kumi na mbili

    August 1st, 2019 at 9:38 PM

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