In order for your stay to be as good as possible, so you could bring back only good memories and vibes, there are some basic ‘starter tips’ you should keep in mind while visiting this country. Especially, if you are coming from a totally different part of the world.
Respond and greet
People in this country are very social and open. It is a totally normal thing that they are going to greet you on the streets, ask how are you doing and wish you a pleasant stay in Kenya. Therefore, be polite and appreciate their kindness as it comes naturally from them.
Never say no
Regarding to previously mentioned kindness, Kenyans really want to make sure that your stay and experience in Kenya is nice. Therefore, always try to accept their help (escorting from place to place, booking, advices on trips etc.) as it can be assumed rude if you say no.
While technologies in Kenya aren’t developed in that high level, it is very important that you talk with people here and expand your network, when looking for something. Kenyans really know better and they will always find someone, who knows someone. Therefore, don’t feel ashamed to ask for help from them!
Tips are considered as a part of their salary, if working in the tourism, hospitality and service industries. As well, it is a way how you are showing respect to the person and appreciate their work . It is advised to leave around 10% of the total amount and, when staying in the hotel around 10-20$ per week, depending on the level and conditions of the hotel. This applies for any provided service to you – taxi, tour guide, house keeping, dinner, hair dressing etc.
Kenya is considered as being one of the most expensive countries from the East Africa. If willing to do shopping and to buy some fruits/vegetables, I advice you to do that one the street markets. They are the same quality and tastes as good (if not better) as from the shop. Furthermore, they are cheaper. Avocado costs around 0,30$, banana, orange and passionfruit around 0,10$ and pineapple – 0,80$ per piece.
Choose reliable driver
If planning to go around with a car, make sure your driver is reliable and won’t charge you, as a foreigner, too much. For taxi I suggest Uber or Taxify (approx. price from 2-10$ within Nairobi). There are some other companies offering driving services, so make sure they don’t overcharge you. Waiting time costs around 3-7$ per hour, full day trip around 30-50$, depending on the distance.
There is a no fixed price (except in shops) in Kenya, therefore, you can always try to negotiate it, if you feel like you are being overcharged or simply not satisfied with it. Especially in the Maasai market. There you will have to negotiate a lot, as they will charge up to 10 times more than the actually price is. If you are not feeling comfortable with negotiations, I suggest you to buy your souvenirs from the souvenir shops. There they will be in an affordable prices without negotiations.
Traffic and the way how Kenyans drive is crazy. Make sure you are leaving from place to place in advance, because you can never know how long it is going to take you.
These are only few tips I came up with during my first days in Kenya! To be continued…