How To Blend In With Kenyans As A Tourist

Being a tourist and being known to be one can be very nerve-wracking. You get treated differently from everyone else and more often than not, you get sold things for almost triple its true price. While there can be some blessings to being spotted out of the crowd, some travellers just want to experience daily life like everyone else. Well here are a few tips and tricks on how to be an instant Kenyan.

Dress code

Tourists can easily be picked out in Kenyan streets thanks to their dress code. Most go for shorts, flip-flops and tank tops Monday to Monday. While we understand that this may be normal back home, it is quite unusual in Kenya, especially on weekdays. Therefore, as much as you may want to blend in, without a change of wardrobe, your mission might not be possible. You do not have to be in dress pants and shoes to be Kenyan but maybe try full trousers, sneakers, and a t-shirt when going for comfort. This way, no one will bother you with questions and stares as you go on about your day.

Avoid the humongous Backpack

The easiest way to spot a foreigner in Kenya is to look for the individual walking with the half tonne backpack on them. Most tourists feel that Kenyan hotels are not safe enough for their items and so they choose to walk around with them everywhere they go. The great news is that Kenyan hotels, like any other, have 24-hour security surveillance and will keep your things safer than you having them out on the streets. All you have to do is keep your valuables such as cash, jewellery, cameras, phones and computers on you. Your clothes, toiletries and other items can always stay in your hotel room or at the reception area if you are not too sure about your room’s safety.

Change your Money

Walking around Kenya with dollars, Euros, Rupees, Francs and the like, is like walking with a target on your head. People, especially retailers will try to get as much money from you as possible. They can sell you a $1 item for $20 and convince you that it is the best bargain they could offer. The trick is to change your money into Kenyan Shillings and in small denominations. Then keep this cash in different pockets and wallet compartments. Your money will not only be safe, but people will not get a chance of taking advantage of your foreignness.

Learn a few Swahili words

When speaking Swahili, no matter how faulty, you automatically warm Kenyan hearts or at least get them curious enough to want to be your friend. Swahili is among the simplest languages to learn thanks to straight word pronunciations and words that are just variations of the English language. You can use “Jambo” when saying hello, “Asante” when saying thank you and “Kwaheri” when saying goodbye. These few words will take you a long way because Kenya is big on courtesy.

Blending in a new place can be somewhat difficult, but Kenyans are not only open-hearted but easy to win over. There is also quite a number of us so do not lose heart when a few are not so friendly. We guarantee you that by the time your visit is over, you will have so many friends than you know what to do with.