There are many ways foreign tourists can travel locally in Kenya. Many tourists travelling to Kenya or any other foreign country usually wish to do more than just visiting. They wish to feel local in all ways and blend in with the new environment in its entirety. Others may be cautious about many things like food which is served outside hotels, the security of other areas which were not on the travel list and maybe the fear of getting lost.
Travelling local helps one make more memories, socialize with the locals even more and maybe know many other places he or she couldn’t have visited on the normal tour package. Here are some of the ways to travel locally in Kenya for foreign tourists.
1. Eat Locally For Cultural Diversity
You can score an invitation to eat in a local family say if you are visiting Mombasa, you can look for a local Swahili family and score an invitation to eat in their home and then later give them some small token of appreciation like money. By doing this, you will get to know the cultural diversity of the Swahili people and Swahili dishes. This way, you will get more information than what a tour guide can give you. You can as well as eat food or snacks on the streets like roasted maize, yams, sweet potatoes, grab drinks from a local joint and even drink roadside smoothies; ensure that these places are clean for your own health safety.
2. Find Local Hang out Places
There are many places where locals hang out if you are in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and many other places which you will be visiting. If you are not sure of which is the best place to hang out with the locals, then consult with your tour guide and go socialize with the locals. You can also attend art exhibits, music festivals, or other events and even join in some local activities like playing football, skating, riding donkeys and even going for boat riding. You will learn a lot too at the local hangout and even make friends.
3. Go Beyond Popular Cities
If you are visiting cities like Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, don’t stay your whole visit there. Leave for other areas outside the city like villages and discover the real treasures outside cities. Enjoy the cool clean breeze of the countryside, its picturesque landscapes and the indelible cultural experiences. You will get a chance to interact with locals too and even know past real-life stories about why the village was named its name, influential past elders and such like stuff.
Homestay is a form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors sleep at the residence of a local of the city to which they are travelling. The length of stay varies from one night, a week, a month or even a year and the visitors can appreciate the host through gifts or money or according to the terms of the stay. Visitors can go for farm stays which is a type of homestay which includes visitors to stay on a working farm and even help in it.
Visitors who wish to homestay in Kenya can use sites like homestay.com to secure accommodation in Kenyan homes.
5. Ask The Locals For Suggestions
Locals can help take you to their favourite local restaurant or some of the ‘hidden’ attractive places within their area. There are some special destinations that only the locals know about. Such travel destinations are so peaceful and secluded that even tours and travel companies miss out on them.
Their suggestions might be more exciting than the actual places you were going to visit. Such places are usually much cheaper than other areas, for example, local restaurants are much cheaper than hotels and local attractive sites are also cheaper than say national parks.
6. Get Lost At-Will
You can wander off from the rest of the squad and explore the neighbourhood on your own. You can also hop into a matatu and travel to a nearby place which you don’t even know and then use Google maps and direction from locals to trace your way back. Many people, especially from upcountry Kenya, will be more than willing to help you.
7. Get Information From More Than One Tour Guide
Kenya’s culture is multicultural and diverse. This means that if you get your information from one tour guide for example from Mombasa or Nairobi alone, then chances of you missing out on the richness of other places will be very high. It is advisable to get your information from more than one tour guide.
8. Shop Locally
If visiting Kenya but you go upcountry or any other place, go and buy from the locals, for example, you can buy Maasai Shukas from roadside shops, shields, wristbands with Kenyan flag from people who make them beside roads, buy fruits and many other stuff from the local sellers. You don’t need to necessarily go to malls and supermarkets to shop for things you can get from the locals cheaply but if you badly wish to shop at malls or can’t get what you want locally then go to malls and supermarkets.