13-01-2023 di redazione
With tourism reopening with fewer and fewer restrictions, direct charter flights have also started up again since last August, and European tourism is ready to resume the holiday discourse that was abruptly interrupted in February 2020.
In inviting you to discover or rediscover this beautiful country, we invite you to read our ten 'golden rules' that in our opinion of Watamukenya.net should be followed to spend your holiday in Kenya without any inconveniences.
1. Remember that Kenya is a foreign country, a young nation on the African continent with a history, laws, customs and culture very different from ours. Never think, not even for a minute, that you are on the Emerald Coast, in Formentera, or in Greece. Apart from Malindi and Watamu, where those accustomed to Italian tourism have learned our language well or poorly, it's best to know a few basic words of English and never assume that the locals can understand you, even if they give you that impression. Rather, make the effort to learn a few idiomatic phrases or bring along the google translator app.
2. Always carry your Passport, and possibly a photocopy. If you are asked, show the photocopy so you are never blackmailed with the fear of being left without an ID. If you are going to drive, as well as being aware that in Kenya there is right-hand drive as in England, you must have an international driving license. Seat belts are mandatory in Kenya.
3. If you take a boda-boda, the moto-taxis, take them individually even if the driver tells you that two or three people can ride in them at the same time. You will spend a few euros more, but you will be within the law. The driver should wear a helmet, but if he doesn't, let him know that if the police stop him, he will be guilty and not you. IT DOES NOT MATTER if the locals ride in 4 on a boda-boda and no one stops them, or if they ride motorcycles without helmets. Let's say that with their own countrymen, who often would not have the money to pay any fines and would end up directly in jail, law enforcement is more lenient. But we are foreigners in this country and we have (on paper) much more disposable income than they do. Never forget that.
4. Always respect people and be nice to them. Language can be a source of misunderstanding. This does not mean that you can blindly trust Italian speakers. In Italy you would hardly become friends with a foreigner you have known for half a day, just because he speaks your language. Apply the same rule in Kenya, especially since you are the foreigners and often those who speak Italian, especially if they are "beach boys", do it for a living. Be friendly but naturally wary, guided by common sense, rather than by the enthusiasm that tells you that "everything is great on vacation".
5. On the coast of Kenya there is a significant Muslim minority, it is advisable to be morose in the way of dress. And 'absolutely forbidden topless on the beach or while bathing. Excessive effusions, even just "petting" can be punished by law.
6. Always ask for a receipt for every purchase you make, especially if you pay in advance or give a deposit for safaris, rental cars, apartments, or anything else.
Being on vacation often gives the impression that you can move around lightly and do things you would never do in your own country. Remember that you are not in the third world, Kenya is now an advanced nation where there are more or less the same laws that we have. At the limit they are not respected by everyone and controlled. But foreigners are often the first to have to respect them, in order not to incur penalties, misunderstandings and the possibility of deception or requests for sums to get out of alleged trouble.
7. In Kenya it is forbidden to collect shells, corals and any other kind of fossil, carapace or other from the sea or the coast, absolutely forbidden to possess ivory or objects made from animals of any kind. There are some stores and stalls that are allowed to sell objects made from animals of land or sea, and also shells. If they do, they must issue you a receipt bearing the name or stamp of the dealer. If you purchase shells or even fruit, you must have a receipt from the local Health Office that inspected the goods in order to travel back with them.
Do not take starfish from the sea or puffer fish! Even two minutes of exposure out of the water could cause these specimens to die of stress. Even if your chaperones or beach boys do, it doesn't mean it's not deadly for them.
8. Carefully avoid telling anyone the exact date of your departure. It is a good rule of thumb (as recommended by the Kilifi County Prefecture) not to give too many details to people you just met about your whereabouts and the date and manner of your return to Italy. Most of the robberies and burglaries that occur during the high season (fortunately not many, but there are some) happen just before departure and often the perpetrators are people to whom you have given this kind of confidence.
9. In the case of an encounter with a person with whom you have an emotional or sexual relationship, try to be clear from the first time that it is a casual encounter. If the encounters continue during the course of the vacation, in addition to following the advice in point 6, avoid getting your hopes up. In Kenya prostitution is legal because there is no direct exploitation of the commodity of the body. There are no "pimps" but people are free to manage their profession. Precisely for this reason they often do not present themselves as such, but as possible friends and company. This can confuse those accustomed to the figure of the prostitute or gigolo in European culture.
10. Kenya is a beautiful country, but it is also one of the most corrupt countries in the world. If you are the victim of a bribe request for something you did not do or a situation you are certain you are not guilty of, do not panic.
Take yourself to the police station if this is the "threat" and know that by law you are entitled to the presence of a legal representative before you are detained. Always carry the phone number of a local contact person who can help or assist you with law enforcement.
If you are in violation of the law, you should know that Kenyan law requires you to appear before a judge to explain your reasons, and there is always an alternative fine to imprisonment, as well as bail.
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