Kenyans are world-renowned for their hospitality, vibrant cultures, and safari adventures in the country’s wilderness. When visiting Kenya, however, there are several things you should not do, in order to avoid unnecessary offenses or misunderstandings.
When visiting any country, it is essential to educate yourself on a few do’s and don’ts to assimilate easily with the locals. It makes moving around so easy and many people are pleased to know you took pains to know something about them or their culture.
Here are Six things you should never do in Kenya in order to enjoy your safari, cuisine and entire stay
Do not ask people’s tribe
Being from a certain tribe is considered a thing of pride but it does not define a person from Kenya. This is especially so among young people, who prefer to define themselves as Kenyans first. Since there are many stereotypes surrounding tribes, asking people about it can be misconstrued to mean you are stereotyping them, even when you are not. You can, however, ask about the different tribes in the country.
Resist the urge to take pictures without consent
It is not uncommon to see Maasai Morans walking the street, adorned in their traditional red shuka (robes). Tempting as it may be to snap a photo, ask first to avoid offending anyone. Usually, locals they are friendly and proud to show off their regalia.
Refusing hospitality in Kenya
Kenyans are groomed to be hospitable from birth as it is ingrained in their culture. It is not uncommon for any visitor to be offered food and drinks wherever they go. It will be in bad taste to refuse to have a bite or a drink and many consider it rude. When you strike acquaintances, expect a random invitation to dinner or lunch at home or in restaurants and be sure not to turn it down.
Do not treat art and crafts the same
Buying art is different to shopping at the crafts market. Art takes time and is very unique to individuals and, in some instances, cultures. It takes resources, creativity and energy, and the price tag tends to reflect these sacrifices. Haggling too much can make you appear cheap and the artist feel unappreciated.
Kenyans have a conservative streak to them. What may be appropriate in high fashion may not be suitable on the streets of Nairobi and other cities. If the disapproving stares don’t get to you, then do not be surprised if a random woman slides up to you and offers you a leso(wrap) to cover up. However, do not show up underdressed for an event either.
Do not buy items derived from endangered species
Ivory from elephant tusks, hides from big cats or rhino horns are some of the things you should avoid buying. While they are not sold out in the open, unscrupulous individuals may try to sell you items made from ivory or rhino horn, placing you at risk of being locked up.