Kilimanjaro Song – “Jambo Bwana” Lyrics & Meaning

On your Kilimanjaro climb, the mountain crews will sing songs, dance and cheer to celebrate the accomplishments of their guests.

You might witness these events when you arrive at a campsite, after a successful summit, during the tipping ceremony, or before you parting ways. There is one song in particular that is most often performed on the mountain.

Jambo Bwana

“Jambo Bwana” was originally a Kenyan song released in 1982 by Them Mushrooms.

The title means “Hello, sir” in Swahili.

Kenyan band Them Mushrooms

Them Mushrooms is a Kenyan band who plays Chakacha – a traditional music and dance style of the Swahili people, Benga – a genre of Kenyan pop music, and reggae – a music genre that originated in Jamaica .

Since its release, “Jambo Bwana” has become a huge commercial success, achieving platinum status in Kenya and Tanzania in five years. It has been covered by other artists such as Mombasa Roots, Safari Sound Band, Khadja Nin, Adam Solomon, Mani Kollengode, and Boney M.

Kilimanjaro Song Adaptation

Ultimate Kilimanjaro crew performing Jambo Bwana

The catchy song “Jambo Bwana” made its way into tourist venues all across East Africa.

As the song spread into different regions, the lyrics were adapted to represent the location of the performer. In the case of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, words of encouragement, trekking advice, and geographical landmarks are infused into the song to fit their particular situation.

A popular version is translated below:

Jambo, jambo Bwana (Hello, hello Sir)
Habari gani (How are you?)
Mzuri sana (Very fine)
Wageni, mwakaribishwa (Foreigners, you’re welcome)

Kilimanjaro, hakuna matata (Kilimanjaro, there is no problem)

Tembea pole pole, hakuna matata (Walk slowly, slowly, no problem)
Utafika salama, hakuna matata (You’ll get there safe, no problem)
Kunywa maji mengi, hakuna matata (Drink plenty of water, no problem)

Many guests love to listen to this song as it reminds them of the fun times they shared on the mountain.

Original Lyrics

Them Mushrooms hit song Jambo Bwana

The song’s creation stemmed from a conversation that the band leader, Teddy Harrison, overheard while performing in a hotel in Mombasa. There were two tourists trying to speak Swahili and practicing basic conversational phrases. Harrison wrote the song using the same simple phrases to teach Swahili to foreigners.

Them Mushroom’s original lyrics are translated below:

Jambo, jambo Bwana (Hello, hello Sir)
Habari gani (How are you?)
Mzuri sana (Very fine)
Wageni, mwakaribishwa (Foreigners, you’re welcome)

Kenya yetu, hakuna matata (Our Kenya has no problems)

Kenya nchi nzuri, hakuna matata (Kenya is a nice country, there are no problems)
Nchi ya maajabu, hakuna matata
(Country of wonder, there are no problems)
Nchi yenye amani, hakuna matata
(Country of peace, there are no problems)

Watu wote, hakuna matata (Everybody, there are no problems)
Wakaribishwa, hakuna matata (
All are welcome, there are no problems)
Hakuna matata, hakuna matata (There are no problems, there are no problems)

_____

See Kilimanjaro Meaning – How Did Kilimanjaro Get Its Name?

See The True Meaning of Uhuru Peak

Are you interested in climbing Kilimanjaro? See our Dates & Prices.