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Beach boys

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
38 posts
75 reviews
Beach boys

Why are the beach boys still allowed to hassle tourists ? Why do the Kenyan authorities not either employ tourist police to keep the beach boys away, or grant such powers to the hotels' security personnel ?

3 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
1,520 posts
1. Re: Beach boys

A book could be written about that, but here are a few observations on the situation.

- Anyone doing business on the beach is supposed to have a permit from the county, but the police and other authorities prefer enforcement exercises like traffic stops that are profitable.

- Police don't like to be on the beach anyway because of the walking involved and the heat and sun.

- The beach sand up to the high tide mark is public land. Hotel security have no real power to tell anyone to stay off the sand in front of their properties. You will see a few hotels that try to do it, but all the beach boys do (rather than get into dog fights with the security) is stay one foot beyond the imaginary line on the sand.

The situation will never change from what it is now, take it from someone who first visited in 1994. And yes, the beach boys do put some people off the Kenyan beaches forever.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
38 posts
75 reviews
2. Re: Beach boys

Thanks, Phillip1994. I did see the security guard in front of our hotel (Neptune Paradise Beach) speaking to some of the beach boys, but they soon came back.

Edited: 6:19 am, October 24, 2017
Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
Level Contributor
16,578 posts
55 reviews
3. Re: Beach boys

The actual licensed beach boy (and women) traders, the tour agents, the boat owners, the stall holders selling trinkets, carvings, paintings, traditional cloth, etc aren't the problem, they tend to be tied to their stall or spot so can't follow you along the beach, but they are the ones that the Tourist Authorities always refer to and who are always targetted for training.

The ones that cause the problems have no official status, and usually no actual trade. They try and make a few bob by acting as go-betweens by taking you to one of the tour agents to book a safari or tour, or to someone offering glass bottomed boat rides, or fishing trips, etc and then getting a small commission from them for taking you. Some after strolling alongside you and chatting about where you are from, etc will ask you to 'promote' their business, showing you a carved key ring with a name on it, or some other trinket that someone else actually makes. Or they will spin you a hard luck story about a funeral, medical bills or school fees. They are a nuisance, but after you've been there a couple of days some will know they aren't going to get anything off you and leave you alone, but there will still be others. The tourist officials with their training courses and plans to set up designated market areas seem oblivious of these people and the problems they cause.

On the North Coast, Bamburi Beach, which used to be probably the busiest beach, in busier times was patrolled by plain clothes Tourist Police who would periodically send unregistered traders off the beach. I don't know about the South Coast but Bamburi Beach is so quiet these days that most of the unofficial beach boys have gone. Whenever I've gone to the beach over the last few years, I've see the few tourists walking on the beach unaccosted by unofficial beach boys. Though the last time I went a few weeks ago the beach was busier than I've seen it for three years or more. I went down onto the beach and walked the short distance from Yul's to Indiana and Ziwani beach resorts to look at the fire damage. Virtually all the official beach traders I walked past asked me to look at their goods but were good natured when I told them I lived here. I didn't see any of the problem beach boys though a young lady did approach me and to let me know she was very desirous of my company.

I'm told that on​ the even quieter beaches at Shanzu and Kikambala that the beach boys are still around and appear, as if by magic, when any tourists appear and having fewer opportunities are more tenacious. The South Coast was always much quieter than the North and I'm told that it is very, very quiet these days, and I'm told the beach boys there fall into the tenacious category.

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