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Kenyans are used to seeing and coming into contact with tourists from all over the world but our ways and things we take for granted back home can sometimes cause offence to the local population. The list below should help to prevent you from unknowingly causing offence.
When meeting someone it is always considered polite to start the conversation with a friendly greeting. Conversations should always start with by first saying “Jambo” which is Kiswahili for hello. You can also use “Habari gani” (how are things).
Showing affection in public is frowned upon and behaving intimately can cause offence.
When dining in a restaurant during the day men should always wear a top and for the evening long trousers and a shirt should be worn.
Topless sunbathing in public is out as it is illegal in Kenya and you can be arrested if caught. I have seen the occasional topless sunbather in the costal resort hotels but it is generally frowned upon.
Taking photos of local tribes men and women is considered rude unless you first ask permission and a gift of a few shillings normally secures consent.
The costal region is mainly Muslim and therefore it is considered offensive to show too much flesh in public. It is advisable for the men to ware long trousers and for the women to keep covered up with a long skirt and something to cover the shoulders especially when visiting the city of Mombasa.