10 Things You Should Never Do in Kenya (Especially Tourists)

Kenya is known for its hospitality to tourist, safari adventures and vibrant cultures. However, if you’re visiting Kenya for the first time then there are a few things you should never do. Doing these things will most likely seem offensive, cause misunderstandings or even put you at risk.

Things You Should Never Do in Kenya

Below are ten things you should never do in Kenya.

1. Do Not Ask People Their Tribes

Despite the fact that every Kenyan is proud of their tribe and culture, asking them openly about the tribe they come from is utterly disrespectful. If you ask Kenyans about their tribes most will think you’re stereotypic. We advise you to socialize with everyone without mentioning their tribes. It’s okay though to ask more about Kenyan tribes in a way that shows you would like to know more about their cultures.

2. Do Not Ask Everyone If They Run

Most athletes in Kenya come from the Kalenjin tribe, which makes up approximately 12% of Kenyan population. A few other tribes also produce athletes who participate in both short and long distance races. This means if you are to ask a Kenyan whether he/she is an athlete, the answer will most likely be NO. Most people really get irritated and pissed off with this question. Please keep in mind that not everyone has the talents of Eliud Kipchoge, Vivian Cheruiyot or Brigid Kosgei.

3. Do Not Wear Skimpy Clothes

Kenya is the most developed, advanced and liberal country in East Africa. You can wear almost anything you like. However, do not wear clothes that are too revealing, or else you’ll go to some places and find yourself being the subject of attention. Dressing decent is not only appealing but it also make everyone comfortable around you.

4. Do Not Cross Streets While on Your Phone

Apart from the common fact that you should never drive while on the phone, learn not to cross streets while you’re on yoour phone. Doing so might get you arrested or you’ll find yourself in a hospital bed after a serious accident because there are so many rogue drivers within the city who occasionally choose to ignore the traffic lights, especially during rush hours. Most drivers are law abiding citizens though.

5. Do Not Turn Down Hospitality

A very large percentage of Kenyans are very hospitable, especially when the person involved is a stranger. When you visit a Kenyan home you will be served food and drinks, and refusing such hospitality should never cross your mind. Accept their food and drinks and thereafter say Thank You. Most communities will also give a visitor a parting present when they leave, so accept it and show appreciation.

6. Do Not Greet People “Jambo”

Ever since I was born no one has ever greeted me “Jambo”. That should really means something considering the fact that I have lived my entire life in Kenya. I will pardon those travel guides or movies who use ‘Jambo’ as a greeting because here in Kenya we do not. Alternatively, use the terms ‘Habari’ or ‘Habari Yako’ which means ‘How are you’ and ‘Sasa’ which means ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello.’

7. Do Not Buy Items From Endangered Species

In Kenya you will find an amazing pool of souvenir to choose from. However, some of the items you should avoid is anything derived from elephants, rhinos and the big cats. These items include elephant tasks, rhino horns or hides and skins from the big cats, such as leopards, lions and cheetahs. If you’re found with any of these then you will most definitely spend many years behind bars.

8. Do Not Carry Valuables or Dress Flashy

Although you’re not likely to be robbed if you’re a tourist in Kenya, doing some things might just portray you as an easy and perfect target for thugs. This involves dressing flashy, wearing expensive jewelry and chains and displaying expensive gadgets in public.

9. Do Not Take People’s Photos Without Their Consent

In Kenya you can take photos of almost anything or any place. However, when it comes to people some do not like their pictures taken, me included. If you spot a Kenyan with traditional attire don’t just assume they will be comfortable with you taking a picture of them. Ask for their consent to take a photo of them and even with them. Taking a photo with them will make most of them excited due to their welcoming and hospitable nature.

10. Do Not Explore The City Alone

Every capital city of every country in the world has some dark spots. Areas where they are deemed unsafe. And Kenyan cities and towns are not any different. We would advise you take a tour guide with you to be on the safe side, unless you know where you’re going.

There you go. Keep this ten tips close to you when you visit Kenya They might safe you unnecessary trouble and headaches.