Kenya is among the most beautiful and welcoming countries in East Africa.
The country, which speaks English and Swahili as its official languages has always attracted a good and still attracts a good number of visitors annually. Some of these visitors are westerners who came to explore the natural aptitude of the beautiful country.
Kenya has a vibrant tourism industry and to date, tourism remains one of the top revenue generators for Kenya. Eco-tourism, sports tourism and cultural tourism are all parts of the Kenyan tourism sector, providing any visitor to the country a variety of fun-filled experience.
Museums In Kenya
Kenya is blessed with one of the most beautiful and historic museums in Africa. A good example is the Gede Ruins and Museum (located a few kilometres from Malindi town) which houses the remains of an ancient Kenyan town traced down to the twelfth century.
Image: Gede Ruins, Kenya
The museum has a magnificent palace, mosques and houses nestled 45 acres within the forest. Another museum in Kenya, the Fort Jesus Museum was formally constructed by the Portuguese during the colonial days, an attempt to secure the safety of Portuguese nationals living on the east of the coast of Africa. The fort was turned to a barrack for soldiers and later converted to a prison when the British protectorate was proclaimed.
The fort is now managed by the Kenyan National Museum and serves as an important national treasure.
The Karen Blixen Museum also plays a significant role in Kenya’s tourism. Built in 1912, this was the former home of Danish author cum poet and artist “Karen Blixen’’. Blixen won an Oscar for the film he made: “Out of Africa’’. His former house was established as a museum in 1986 by the Kenyan museum authorities.
How friendly are Kenya people?
Yes, they are. Kenyans are known to be friendly towards foreigners and are willing to help their visitors with any issue they may be having. There is no history of xenophobia or any war against foreigners in Kenya.
Nevertheless, there are few things that are very important to look out for.
Street scammers, beggars and professional pickpockets unavoidably exist on the streets of Kenya and this can be a threat to a visitor’s convenience as they prey more on foreign faces.
To be safe, guard your belongings and expensive items cautiously especially when in crowded places. Also, avoid wandering alone too late into the night.
Kenyan cuisine is just as diverse as the country’s history. Some native meals can be too spicy and weird-tasting for foreigners to try.
Street food should also be completely avoided as some of the local spices and ingredients used to prepare them can leave one’s stomach in a sorry state.
It is better to always inquire about the quality of food before you eat them and also, in cases of eating what your stomach did not accept, make sure to contact a healthcare facility as quickly as you can.
Another important thing to note: Be ready to eat with your bare hands in Kenya. That is the culture.
Here top Kenyan delicacies to try when visiting the country:
a. Nyama choma
This is Swahili for roast meat. The meat can be beef or goat meat, roasted with tomatoes, a splash of lime juice, onions and chili.
This is a Kenyan cornmeal slab that closely resembles the Italian polenta. Ugali is one of Kenya’s most popular meals.
Kenyan food blogger Kaluhi Adagala advises visitors to “have ugali with some vegetables and a very rich meat dish, like well-cooked tilapia or matumbo, to bring everything together.”
c. Mutura sausage
When a goat is slaughtered for the nyama choma, its blood might find its way into a mutura sausage, a spicy delicacy of offal, garlic, ginger, chili and coriander, all bound together by the red stuff.
Visitors in Kenya will also find the country’s fried tilapia, matumbo (tripe stew), uduvi (shrimp) and kamba (prawns) super delicious.
Staying safe in Kenya
These are some important safety tips for anyone travelling to Kenya in 2020:
1. Guard your travel documents with extra caution. You can make several copies to be on the safe side.
2. Make sure to visit or have a session with a medical professional at least seven days before proceeding for your journey.
3. Make sure to vaccinate yourself against rabies, malaria, yellow fever, bird flu, chickenpox and other transmittable viruses that are rampant in Kenya.
4. Avoid staying out late at night, always make sure to return to your hotel before it gets completely dark.
5. Stay only in recommended hotels and lodges.
6. Avoid engaging in any business transaction with anyone you don’t trust as some of these transactions might not be genuine.
7. Get a tour guide and try as much as possible to follow up with the person.
8. Avoid walking into crowds that are mostly locals as it might be a gathering of a local religious group.
9. Make sure to take a taxi from door to door after dark, especially in Nairobi.
10. Never travel close to the Kenya-Somalia border (except Lamu and Manda islands) as rebels and combatant groups operate in these places.
11. It is recommended to carry padlocks for your suitcases and backpack as an extra carefulness against burglary.
12. Avoid travelling to anywhere near South Sudanese border, there are ‘’Kenyan shifters’’ (bandits) and also cross-border problems in the north of the country.
13. Avoid wearing too flashy and valuable pieces of jewellery as local thieves can be easily attracted to them.
14. Avoid carrying anything valuable when you’re walking around cities and towns, most hotels provide a safe or secure place for valuables.
15. Avoid night travels, a full-sized bus is usually safer than a minibus in cases of travels.
16. Make sure you get a health insurance before travelling and also make sure it’ll cover a bed space in a hospital in case of emergencies.
17. You can hire security personnel if you can afford it, as it is inevitable to encounter one or two security issues while touring the country.
18. Report any crime to the rightful authorities at once. The Kenyan law enforcement agencies are steadily at alert to maintain orderliness and law.
Although crime rates have gone up in Kenya in recent times, that shouldn’t spoil your fun. There are only a few unscrupulous ones – the sweet, honest souls you will meet will far outnumber the crooks.