Monday, 31 October 2016

5 myths you’ve been told about Kenya

From infamous wildlife to the stunning coastline, Kenya is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa. With a diverse culture and some of the friendliest people you could wish to meet, it is an incredible place however unfortunately, still falls victim to misconceptions. There is a lot of misinformation, and much of the attention they receive is unfortunately negative despite having so much to offer to so many people. Having been in Kenya for the last month and absolutely loved it, I thought it would be useful to put together a little list of the myths we are told about this incredible country…

 Everywhere is dangerous
Prior to arriving in Kenya, both my friend and I were asked why we were thinking about going to a place like that, because, you know it’s really dangerous, right? Whilst there are areas which you are told to either try to avoid or be extra careful in, for the most part it is a safe place to visit and you will be very welcome here. With such an interesting and diverse culture, and some of the friendliest people you could wish to meet, there’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular countries to visit on the continent. After spending over a month here so far, I haven’t felt unsafe or in danger at any point so don’t let false misconceptions stop you from visiting.

2. You should avoid Matutus at all costs

When reading about Kenya, much of the online advice was to avoid matutus completely as tourists are not welcome on them and they are far too dangerous, particularly without the company of a local. Whilst you have to exert caution and make sure your bag is secure by your side throughout the journey, catching a matatu is part of daily life and are an extremely affordable way of getting round. In over a month of catching matatus almost every day, there has only been one guy who sent us in the wrong direction purposefully and aside from that, whilst it might be a bit of a squish sometimes, my experience of them has been good. Look like you know where you are going, be firm but fair with the guys running them and you will be absolutely fine.

3. Wild animals roam around everywhere

Kenya is home to some of the most incredible animals in the world and it’s one of the many reasons they receive so many visitors. These animals though, including the big 5, are not simply roaming around the city and built up areas because funnily enough, they aren't really fancying a Burger King and a look round the shops. They have their own beautiful homes within National Parks and Game Reserves and their homes they will stay.

4. Nairobi city centre is too unsafe for tourists

There’s no doubting that Nairobi city centre is intense and it’s not the prettiest you’ll ever see, but as for being too unsafe for tourists to visit? Not so much. Just like in any city across the world, there are the chancers who are hoping you’ll be daft enough to leave your iPhone in your back pocket however for the most part, it’s people going about their daily business, working, shopping, eating and drinking. There have been people I have met in Nairobi who haven't visited the city centre despite being here weeks and my only piece of advice is to just go. Visit the KICC and view the city from the rooftop, go for cake and coffee at The Mug, explore the Nairobi Gallery - there are places to visit and experience that you don’t want to miss out on so go, do, see!

5. You’ll never get dirty feet

Whilst walking around it is inevitable that you will end up dusty ankles and toes and (if you’re a lazy like me), you can just tell yourself there is nothing you can do about it and get over it.

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