Presidential Etiquette:

It is an integral part of Kenyan tradition that the head of the community should enjoy huge status. The president therefore, is always treated with deference and visitors should not take his photograph without prior permission from members of his entourage. It is also forbidden to photograph State House or any military institutions.

When travelling, the president is usually transported in fast moving cavalcade of gleaming official cars, usually preceded by police outriders, often heralded by flashing lights and sometimes sirens. The moment this cavalcade appears, everyone is required to pull as far off the road as they can manage and to remain there intill the cavalcade has passed.

The Flag and Anthem:

In deference to the Kenyan flag, visitors are required to stand when it is either raised or lowered within their field of vision. The same is required for the national anthem is being played.

Dress Codes:

In the cities and towns, Western business convention prevails, and tailored suites, shirts and ties or smart casual wear for men is the norm. Smart suites, dress and jackets or elegant seperates, and heels are normally worn by office workers and businesswomen.

At the coast or areas of more prevalent Muslim culture, women are still veiled (the black cover – all is known as a buibui, which means ‘spider’), and the Asian community is fairly equally divided into those who wear the traditional forms of dress, and those who don’t.

When at the Coastal region, visitors should avoid skimpy shorts and vests in public and bear in mind that public topless sunbathing is illegal.

Swearing:

Swearing in not considered polite among men and is unheard of among women. Blasphemy is highly offensive.

Smoking:

Cigarette smoking is relatively common in Kenya, though not among women. Cigarettes are exceptionally cheap and of good quality. Smoking however has been banned in public places hence poses heavy fines or prison sentences will be imposed on those who smoke publicly.

Alcohol:

A nice cold bear, a few drink and some nyama choma is a favorite meal for most Kenyans as they unwind from a hard day at work or when they socialize. The new Alcoholic Drinks and Control act prohibits the sale of alcohol before 5pm on weekdays and 2pm on weekends and after 11pm all week. When you visit a restaurant or pub please look out for the relevant notice.

Gestures and Body language:

Pointing with your finger is considered very rude, as is summoning with a crooked finger or beckoning with the pal up(beckon with the palm down).Finally, the left hand is traditionally reserved for unhygienic acts and the right for eating and touching or passing.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

To get the latest special offers and Travel news sign-up to our Newsletter