Tourist Attractions in Kenya

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Most Viewed Tourist Traps in Kenya

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    Fake Maasai

    by croisbeauty Updated Aug 5, 2013

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    They are trying to look alike to Maasai by dressing their cloths and seling their souvenirs but, this are only some local Mombasa guys. All of this "original" souvenirs are produced in the nearby factory and you can buy them their for cheap.
    Moreover, it is hard to imagine a real Maasai wearing a mustache as an ornament of the face. I've visited several villages where Maasai people live, mostly in Samburu, and I have not seen any one man to wear a mustache.

    Unique Suggestions: When in Kenya never buy any souveniers in your first days, check other wendors compare the prices and than buy. Never pay the price before burgaing because the first price asked is probably tripled.

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    The Famous Thorntree Cafe

    by Buckz Updated Aug 21, 2009

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    If you ever log on to Lonely planet you will hear about the The Thorn Tree, which is Lonely planet's message board. It is named after the famous Thorn tree in the Famous Thorn tree cafe in Nairobi, where Cape to Cairo overlanders would stop off to leave messages, on the thorns of the tree.
    Oh how fabulous.
    You can imagine this bohemian hangout of independent overland travellers sharing experiences. These are the REAL Travellers, the ones I admire and envy. This is the sort of café that should be in your top ten travel experiences. There was no way I would have missed this cafe.

    The Tree Died.
    So did the soul of the cafe.
    The tree has been replaced.
    The atmosphere of the cafe is gone forever. All that is left is a sterile soulless coffee shop like you will find in any shopping centre or hotel from Hamburg to strasburg to Milton Keynes to Pittsburgh.

    Unique Suggestions: Look at the tree, buy a coke, keep a note card as a souvenir.

    Fun Alternatives: BUT Then-

    Go out the door, turn right. Look for the Kenya or Nairobi Coffee shops (in amongst book shops) The one the opposite side of the road is the winner (but it was very close) in the competition for best coffee, best lunch, best value, best cake. They tied on atmosphere.
    This was the only place in Nairobi where we could chat with locals without fearing a scam.
    I bought the T Shirt.. 6 years later I still wear it and rmember the great coffee shops of Nairobi.
    This is what I hoped the Thorn Tree would be.

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    Hotel prices

    by croisbeauty Written Oct 4, 2008

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    Actually this might be considered as non tourist trap but to me it is the biggest trap I've noticed during my visits to Kenya. Besides the prices for the admissions, which are in some cases 8 times higher than what the locals paying, there are different prices in the hotels too. Just for a record, double room in the Holiday Inn hotel at Nairobi costs 200 dollars per night for the tourists from abroad, while at the same time that room costs 100 dollars only for the citizens of Kenya! The same goes for the all other hotels in whole of Kenya.
    My question for the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism is, why am I discriminated in the Kenyan hotels?

    Unique Suggestions: In case of knowing somebody local, reliable of course, ask him/her to book a room for you and pay it. It is what I did in Holiday Inn and the room cost me 100 dollars only.

    Fun Alternatives: The most cheaper way for staying in Kenya is to rent an apartment or the house. Householded apartment, in both Nairobi or Mombasa, could cost around 20.000 kes per month, which is around 200 euros. In addition, you need to pay a deposit (in around the same amount), which will be returned back to you. Non householded apartment cost half of that price.
    To rent a house, with 3-4 bedrooms, pool and security, could cost around 300-400 euros per month.

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    Tour operators = jokers

    by croisbeauty Updated Mar 28, 2008

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    What is the main problem a traveler might have if going to Africa over one of European tour operators? According to my own experiences a couple of unpredictable surprices can be expected, but all of them should be accepted with the cold head. Instead of four stars hotel, as written in the program, the accommodation could be bellow it, the beach resort you saw in the picture is there but not right in front of your hotel as indicated, and many other small things of less importance but enough to spoil the whole picture you got about back home. All of that, however, should be considered as a minor problem.
    According to my program, (paid in advance), I was supposed to visit the Maasai Mara game reserve. Instead of what I paid for, my tour operator proposed the other game reserve but only after I already arived to Mombasa. It is why I felt betrayed but all of my complains were in wain. A certain small compensation was promiced to me but I never got it, not even when I came back home.

    Unique Suggestions: Since such a things happens all the time I quit of tour operators and my next trip to Kenya and Uganda, in the following year, I made on my own. The biggest cost was plain ticket, which I paid 850 euros, but all other expensies were more cheaper.

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    Taxi ride

    by croisbeauty Written Sep 17, 2007

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    When in Kenya, you cannot know wether the car authorized taxi service or the guy who want to earn some extra money. First because there isn't any visible inscription outside the car and the second, they never use taxi-meter.

    Unique Suggestions: In my experience it even doesn't matter, tourist might expect to be traped by both authorized and unauthorized taxis. What you need to do is this; never enter inside the car if the price for a ride isn't agreed. Insist on change, even if small money, because after two or three weeks of staying small money becomes big. Ten kilometres of ride should cost you maximum 800 to 1000 shillings, no matter if day or night. Never give more than 500 shillings for a drive inside the town.

    Fun Alternatives: Use city buses or matatus, the same ride or even longer cost you about 10 to 20 shillings.

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    Ballooning Safaris

    by bpwillet Written Jul 4, 2007

    To some this wouldn't be much of a trap at all. It is romantic, exciting, thrilling and a great way to see the animals at a game park. The good thing is there are a number of companies to choose from. If you are in the Masai Mara you have many different options to choose from. Your hotel can help sort you out best with the company they work with or have worked with in the past. One company in particular is not the greatest to use. Transworld Safaris does balloon safari's just like everyone else and their price tag is still $385. However the one pilot we were around was not only rude, but verbally abusive and very condescending to the other passengers as well as to his own employees. This is a lot of money for a trip like this make it memorable and do not hesitate to change your mind if you do not feel comfortable.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • National/State Park
    • Safari

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    Ballooning Safaris

    by bpwillet Written Jul 4, 2007

    To some this wouldn't be much of a trap at all. It is romantic, exciting, thrilling and a great way to see the animals at a game park. The good thing is there are a number of companies to choose from. If you are in the Masai Mara you have many different options to choose from. Your hotel can help sort you out best with the company they work with or have worked with in the past. One company in particular is not the greatest to use. Transworld Safaris does balloon safari's just like everyone else and their price tag is still $385. However the one pilot we were around was not only rude, but verbally abusive and very condescending to the other passengers as well as to his own employees. This is a lot of money for a trip like this make it memorable and do not hesitate to change your mind if you do not feel comfortable.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography
    • Safari

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    Beware of Masai village trip

    by Argawana Written Nov 25, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The visit to Masai Village itself was a nice experience. However, I decided to put this topic under tourist trap because I couldn't forget how these people forced me to buy "their hand made handicraft/ antique" at the end of the visit at one of Masai village. It's not entirely wrong but at least they could sell "their hand made handicraft" at legitimate price. You can find the same commodity at Tuesday open market in Nairobi at much cheaper price

    Unique Suggestions: Politely refuse to buy the handicraft and tell them that you already bought them in Nairobi. Or if you want, you can just buy one or two.

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    Carnivore-don't buy the hype

    by Osmun79 Written Mar 24, 2006

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    Carnivore is immensely popular with tourists, but if your looking to NOT run into yuppies and drunken europeans, there's not much to help you here. The food, while being ok, is SERIOUSLY over-priced and it costs almost $500 just to see a show. The bands tend to go on late and are nothing special. Don't be suprised if you find yourself spending 5,000 Ksh on a meal!

    The real Carnivores are the people who run this place.. they'll eat up all your cash!

    Unique Suggestions: Take alot of money with you. Visa and Traveler's checks will help cushion the blow to your wallet. Drink beforehand so that you can skimp on the hefty charges for beer and cocktails.

    Avoid the temptation to smack the guy next to you yelling "Bollocks!" at the TV.

    Fun Alternatives: Black Cotton club holds House and Techno nights, as well as reggae and are located on the outskirts of Karen, a bit farther from Carnivore. The DJ's are supposedly top-notch and the drinks are reasonably priced. Outside Inn in Karen has relatively the same but tends to be bleached white in culture.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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    the Masai businessman

    by Thumbee Written Feb 26, 2006

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    When you reach your first national park (ours was the Masai Mara), chances are, you will have been asked to shell out about 1000Ksh for a tour around the nearest Masai village, see their dances, etc. and this you will do because you are curious and it's all new and everything is happy-happy and exciting. But be sure that the next Masai area you visit (it was Amboseli N.P.), in all likelihood, some Masai from a nearby village will ask how you have liked your trip so far, and a friendly lot they are, so your natural instinct is to respond likewise. I would advise caution in what I would say in response though, because we realised the hard way that, sadly, they are out to make a buck where they can. We were asked if we had seen a Masai village, so we responded in the affirmative, and about ten minutes later, they showed up at our camp-site with an invitation to a wedding that was about to take place in their village. Unbelieving of our luck, we set up a time when one of them would pick us up from our camp-site and take us to see the ceremony. Well, they turned up. First, there was the token tour around the village, and the dances, by the end of which we were beginning to get the idea that maybe we'd been had...and our fears began to ring softly true when at the end of our village tour, we were told that the wedding is a little later and that someone will come around to our site to pick us up yet again for the trek to the village to see the wedding ceremony. Then, about half an hour later, we saw someone familiar but not the main guy, coming hurriedly but sheepishly to our campsite with the news that the wedding has been cancelled. All this after another 1500Ksh have been shelled out , the 500Ksh surcharge being the wedding premium. So while the situation is a tricky one, I am not sure I would like to go to another 'Masai wedding ceremony'. Sadly, we heard later from our guide that this was their newest tactic to attract visitors to their villages and that means at least another 1000Ksh per person per visit.

    Fun Alternatives: Go to ONE Masai village, see all of it that you have to, the houses, the dances, the beer, the hoods and spears and the masks, ask all the questions you have to, and leave it at that.
    Unless you're feeling extremely generous and philanthropic, politely decline any invitations to any ceremonies that are going to be held in the village, because in all likelihood, as a foreigner, you probably wont be called for an actual ceremony, unless you're researching the Masai tribe and/or they know you well. I have read that it's uncommon to be invited as a stranger, unless you happen to be by at the right time and they like you. At least that is what I gathered from the book "Barefoot Over The Serengeti" by David Read.

    Related to:
    • Safari
    • National/State Park
    • Budget Travel

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    The Equator

    by luddinra Written Nov 10, 2005

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    Being on the equator is really cool but they will try to get tourists money and you can let them if you want. There is a huge gift shop there where you have to haggle like usual. But the worst part is that they try to 'give' you this green paper that says you have crossed the equator. To get it 'certified', you must pay them 6 or 8 bucks and they will just stamp the paper with a little stamper and write your name.

    Fun Alternatives: Or you could do what we did and just take a picture of one of the peoples we were with! You can only keep saying "Well, it's for a good cause" so long!

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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    Promises

    by beccyandjohn Written Sep 27, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    What ever you do dont make any promises, they wont forget. Make sure to look around first before buying anything, we actually found that the hotel shop was very reasonable for gifts. But its worth remebering that your money is appreciated more by the locals.

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  • Early morning flights......and visa charges

    by ClareinDubai Written Sep 18, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We booked our trip with "Jambo Safaris" and their sister company "Duma" travel. They assured me that they had taken care of the flight and hotel bookings for Zanzibar about 3 months before the trip, oh and I didn't need to worry about the Tanzania visa.

    They booked the wrong flight back to Nairobi, (the one where you have to get up at 04.00) as the one we wanted was full. They didn't book the hotel we specifically requested, the one we wanted was full, but then they were booking 5 days before we were due there........
    and we had to pay $50 entry visa and $20 departure tax, each.

    Not fun when you have a connecting flight to Dubai at 19.30 the same day, that gets in at 03.00 in the morning, so instead of the 3 hour wait you had planned, you now have 10 hour wait. The visa bill left us with little cash to pay for the re-entry visa to Nairobi, and they don't take visa.

    Just some little things to avoid.....

    Unique Suggestions: Entry to Kenya was $50 for single entry, $70 for multiple entry. Exit tax was included in the flight.
    Entry to Tanzania was $50 for single entry and $20 on the way out, this is a general charge.

    Oh, and if you do use Jambo Safaris, or Duma, find a way of confirming that they have actually made the reservation when they say they have.........

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    Try not to get trapped here...

    by TracyG Updated Jun 14, 2005

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    The town of Naivasha very near to (the much more internesting) Lake Naivasha is a waste of time - there is absolutely nothing there. Unless you simply have to go there it is best to head straight for the lake.

    Unique Suggestions: Go to a local bar and try and talk to the locals, the bars are pretty grim though.

    Fun Alternatives: Head straight for Lake Naivasha if at all possible.

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    Beach boys

    by joolssss Written Apr 14, 2005

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    Theseboys are not as bad as I was lead to believe. They are just trying to make a living and are very friendly, but! - they will use all the tricks to get you to buy something, " just come and look" " please just a little business for some food" etc,

    Unique Suggestions: We bought all our stuff from them, Just obviously haggle, they will charge an abominable price for everything,but only end up paying what it is worth to you, no matter how insulted they try to be! They will respect you for it in the end! Honest!

    Fun Alternatives: The alternative is to buy everything at a fixed price in the shop and have the fat cats get even richer. We chose to support the locals and made some friends while we were at it.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Safari
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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Kenya Tourist Traps

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