Africa is a vast, beautiful land whose names result from a rich history influenced by everything, from the European settlers to traditional Yoruba and Zulu inhabitants. Choosing an African baby name for your baby could be a great way to honor your child’s roots and your family’s culture. The names on this list are rare and exotic to the English ear but commonly heard throughout Africa; if your looking for a name that’s special to your heritage then this list is for you.
African Baby Names for Girls
The name Aba means “born on Thursday” and is of African Ghanaian origin. If you are looking for a popular name like Ava or Ada but want something with a little bit of flair, this name is for you (or rather, your future child)
The name Adanne means “resembling the mother, mother’s child” and is of African origin. Adanne is a perfect choice if you’re hoping your daughter resembles you.
The name Adhra means “apology” and is of African Swahili origin. While it fits in with modern sounds, Adhra has never ranked on the US top 1,000, making it relatively uncommon.
The name Afryea means “born during happy times” and is of African Ghanaian origin. All-around happy and cheerful vibes for this girl!
The name Bandele means “follow me home” and is of African origin. It is a great choice that’s exotic, elegant, pretty, and distinctive.
The name Desta means “joy, happiness” and is of African origin. Your daughter will bring happy and positive energy to your world.
The name Efia means “born on Friday” and is of African Ghanaian origin. Efia offers an exotic alternative to names like Sofia and Fia and is perfect for a girl born on a Friday.
The name Hadiya means “guide” and is of African Swahili origin. This unique and pretty name maintains a refined air.
The name Jendayi means “give thanks” and is of African Zimbabwean origin. This name inspires feelings of love and gratitude, and dare we say, sounds way cuter than the traditional “Jennifer.”
The name Kacela means “a great huntress” and is of African origin. Fierce and fiery, Kacela is an excellent choice for your brave and fearless girl.
The name Kenaya means “glory to God” and is of African origin. It’s a fun, unique twist on the super trendy names Kendra and Kenna.
The name Makeda means “greatness” and is of African origin. I’m sure we’d all like to think our child will be great, but if we go with Makeda, your literally ensuring it.
The name Nia means “purpose mother of Shaka” and is of African Swahili origin. Nia is a small name that makes a significant impact!
The name Nyala means “mountain goat” and is of African origin. Nyala has a lovely ring to it and may suit you if you’re looking for something a little different.
The name Omorose means “beautiful child” and is of African Nigerian origin. This name is extremely rare stateside though its meaning is undoubtedly fitting for your newborn.
The name Raziya means “agreeable” and is of African Swahili origin. We love the sound of this name for a girl. It’s strong yet sweet, everything you’d wish for your daughter.
The name Saada means “helpful” and is of African Swahili origin. Saada is a perfect name for a selfless, loving, and strong girl.
The name Ife means “slippery” and is of African origin. Teleza is a gorgeous and unique namesake for your future daughter.
The name Waris (WAA-ris) means “desert flower” and is of African Somalian origin. Waris is a cool and edgy choice for your baby girl.
The name Zuwena means “good” and is of African Swahili origin. A name with a benevolent nature to bestow on your future daughter.
African Baby Names for Boys
The name Addae means “morning sun” and is of African origin. A name that was traditionally given to babies who were born around the break of daylight.
The name Adio means “be righteous” and is of African Nigerian origin. If you’re looking for a unique name with an incredible message, Adio is a great choice.
The name Adwin means “artist, intellectual” and is of African origin. So maybe you want to bless your baby with some natural brainpower and creativity.
The name Ayize means “let it happen” and is of African Zulu origin. For any bohemian parents looking to give their son a name that radiates positivity, Ayize is the way to go.
The name Dakarai means “happiness” and is of African Egyptian origin. Start your son off with strong positive vibes at a very young age.
The name Dalmar means “versatile, adaptable; many-sided” and is of African Somalian origin. Your little one will surely have a bright future ahead of him with this name in mind.
The name Ghedi means “sojourner; traveler” and is of Somalian origin. Perfect for a future little traveler.
The name Ibrahim means “father of multitude” and is of African Nigerian origin. A name that’s a high bar to live up to from the moment you were born—but it’s handsome!
The name Jabari means “brave one” and is of African Swahili origin. Exotic and powerful, Jabari is a suitable name for parents looking to honor their heritage.
The name Jafari means “stream” and is of African Swahili origin. Your future son is bound to be a water-lover with a name that brings to mind cool, calming waters.
The name Lekan means “my wealth is increased” and is of African Yoruba origin. So, while a different sounding at first, the name begins to grow on us, and we begin to associate it with wealth and success.
The name Mazi means “sir” and is of African Nigerian origin. Mazi has a cool nonchalance to it while sounding totally adorable, it’s definitely a name we would like to hear more.
The name Okello means “born after twins” and is of African origin. This unique and robust name could be perfect for your son born after twin.
The name Omari means “God is exalted” and is of African Swahili origin. Omari sounds approachable and relatable but is nevertheless distinctive.
The name Othieno means “born at night” and is of African Luo origin. It is a name that will undoubtedly grow with the little boy who’s wearing it.
The name Rudo means “love” and is of African Zimbabwean origin. If you’re looking for a short and strong name, then Rudo would make an excellent choice.
The name Salim means “safe” and is of African Swahili origin. It’s a unique name with a beautiful and delicate sound.
The name Talib means “seeker of knowledge” and is of Arabic African origin. Little ones with this name are sure to be independent, headstrong, and determined, just like their namesake.
The name Zesiro means “firstborn of twins” and is of African origin. Zesiro is another exotic pick that feels totally unique, so your son would be one of a kind.
The name Zuberi means “strong” and is of African Swahili origin. A name that means your son will be victorious in everything in life, right?