Kenya Local Custom Tips by Myndo Top 5 Page for this destination
Kenya Local Customs: 60 reviews and 92 photos
spider - maybe poisonous?
The medical system in Kenya is not too bad (one of the things that accounts for the high growth of the population. The people did not get it until now, that they don't need to have many children, because some of them won't survive).
Anyway I would not want to go to a hospital down here. I also always take syringes and needles with me, knowing that in some places they only have one syringe for the whole hospital and desinfection is done by cooking it out from time to time. As a tourist you have a good change to be treated better than the average inhabitant, sometimes even getting medication when the others don¡¦t anymore because of a shortage.
Then there is the problem of getting medicine. There are pharmacies around, I saw some of them during the safari. The problem is only that you can´t know if you buy reliable medicaments or not. Statistics show that about 40% of the medicaments are being falsified, meaning that they don´t content the drug at all or it is not enough in it for working. That is one of the reasons I would not buy Malaria Medication there even if it is so much cheaper: I like to know that mine works. So take with you what you need.
We had to consult a doctor when in Kenya, because I did not want my husband to go on safari with an infected toe. In the ASC hotels they have a doctor (an indian one) visiting every morning between 11 and 12 (plus minus an hour)10 minutes consultation and an antibiotic for 5 days cost 86 Dollars. I would like to have an income like that ....
The link below contains real extended information about all possibilities you may encounter in Africa. The important word being "may". Don´t let yourself be put off travelling there.
As for Malaria: see my tip on that in the danger section.
Internet Cafe is too nicely put.
There is an Internet Cafe in the Flamingo Hotel (I guess in other hotels as well- not in the Dolphin, though). The ?Cafe? actually consists of two computers, connected with the internet over an analogue modem.
It works, but is really really a test for ones patience (which is not far as it concerns me).
To get the PCs to operate, you have to buy a code at the hotel reception. There are 3 possibilities: For 1 Euro you can ?surf? the net for 10 Minutes (which is hardly enough to check your mail, so sloooow it is), for 5 Euro you get 55 minutes, for 10 Euro 120 minutes. That is the theory, in my case they did not have any 5 Euro codes anymore ƒº... Well.
At least the Pcs do seem to have their own connection to the electricity, because even when we had a big black out (no more lights and air conditioning) they were still running.
a friendly Kenyan
The official language of Kenya is English and Kishuaheli. It is a good idea to learn some of the phrases in Kishuaheli, brings you more sympathy, too. 50 Million of people speak Kishuaheli not that many do speak english here.
So here are some useful phrases, A small guide of tourist Kishuaheli:
Jambo - hello, good day
Habari (yako) how are you?
Mzuri sana - very good
Karibu - wellcome
Ndiyo - Yes
Hapana - No
Asante sana- Thank you
Tafadhali - Bitte
Sawa sana - okay
Daktari - doctor
Hatari - danger
Kwa heri - goodbye
Pole pole - slow, slow
Hakuna matata- No problem
The last two things you will hear especially often, it seemed to me. It is a thing of mentality. Only tourists haste and everything will work out, no problem – hakuna matata – never mind.
Beach with Beach boys
Reading through other Tips about that theme I sometimes think that I may be doing them wrong, but in my opinion they are a real nuisance.
When I am having holidays and trying to get some quiet days at the beach, I do not want to be bothered with literally dozens of people trying to sell me something which I mostly won’t need nor want in any case. If I want to buy something, I will go look on my own, I don´t need nor want to be pushed.
Yes, i know they are only trying to make their living with this, but i am trying to have some quiet, and maybe even have a swim in the sea.
You should know that the beach is divided in two areas. The hotels and the beach boys (though they do not have to be boys, there are also woman). The line is mostly made by a rope. You may want to step over that rope and lazily walk up the beach or have a swim in the water, but what you actually do is step into their bureau or shop. Which seems to give them allowance to flock around you and get you to buy something from them: souvenirs like wood cuttings, clothes, key chains, trips and safaris. They are very very persistent. There are several ways to react on this. Since I am really not interested in more useless stuff and do have my safaris booked in advance and generally think they are wasting only time with me and my one, I try it with a polite „No, I am not interested“ and if that does not help with no reacting further.
Plugs in Kenya
Kenya has plugs with three points to it (see picture). You may need an adapter. If you don’t have any, most hotels will rent you one for a small fee or depot.
The ones we normally use (the 2 point one in the picture, a swiss plug) sometimes works with the plugs of the shavers in the toilets without an adapter.
If you go on safari, make sure to take enough batteries with you for your cameras etc. Although most of the Camps we were on do have electricity (from generators), they sometimes only have it at special times (5 p.m. to morning in the Crocodile Camp), or no plugs (but you can give your batteries and chargers at the reception and they will do that for you).
Voltage is 230 V. (220 - 240 Volt)
Kenya is a country that suffers- like many other African countries from having few water. Of course there is the sea and some bigger lakes, but most of this is not drinkable.
In the hotels at the coast they use water from the sea that has been de-salted for showers and such. The water is still salty, though, which is somewhat irritating if you are not used to it.For brushing the teeth you should use the water that they have next to the sink in a bottle. That is of a little better quality- but still not good for drinking. Drinking water is available everywhere. The ASC hotels do even have their own brand (see picture) with or without gaz. It is quite good and up to the newest standards.
Back to the few water: show a little ecological finesse and use water with brain. That means not showering 3 times a day, even when it is hot. (Yes, I mean you, fellow swiss tourist – it is also irritating for your co-travellers if we don’t have any water anymore!).
Many hotels have their own cat colonies. As one is told right in the beginning, they should not be fed. They have a job to do, which they will not, if they get lazy. They are here to catch the mice and rats. If they don’t the snakes will come to do that.
But don’t worry, the cats are quite good looked after. The ones in our hotel are being fed once a day. My guess is, that they are also being neutered. The ones that belong to the hotel are recognized by the missing top piece of one of their ears.
I thought it always interesting how the cats and the monkeys interact with each other. Mostly they tend to ignore each other, but sometimes, well ... (screech, mrow, ...)
Beach boys and customers - well, maybe
Be it the beach boys or the vendors on the street or any souvenir shop - they do have several ways to ?trick? you into conversation and hopefully then buying something from your new ?friend?.
Most used would be to ask "Where are you from?" - this is not only a good conversation starter, this is also a first hint how much to charge you for their ?service? or goods. Also they often will proceed with what knowledge they have from your language.
Also a good thing is asking about your name. Say it and before you know they quickly finish carving a key chain with your name on it. Now you just can?t refrain for buying it, can you? After all if you don?t buy it, they cannot sell it to anyone else...
Next comes the "just look, you don?t have to buy anything", and lets not to forget the "I have x kids that depend on me", the "It is really cheap, it?s good quality".
A lot will also ask you for pens or socks as a means of trade. I heard several opinions about that. Pens are needed at schools on Kenya, but giving them to the beach boys (that will most probably just sell them on) does not help. It is only another way to get you to buy something if you think you may do a better trade when counting the socks or pens in.
A final word about the trips some offer you on the beach. There may even be some reliable trip organisators, but how do you know that? We were warned about some tourists losing money when the guide for the trip never showed up at the meeting time. Also they will most probably use not very good maintained vehicles to transport you or you end up sleeping on the bare ground in a hut somewhere. I guess it is something for the adventourous people out there. In any way, do not pay them money in advance ? not if you can?t afford to loose it.
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