Kenya Tourist Traps

  • Nairobi
    Nairobi
    by lotharscheer
  • Nairobi
    Nairobi
    by lotharscheer
  • Nairobi
    Nairobi
    by lotharscheer

Kenya Tourist Traps

  • Fake Maasai

    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...

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  • The Famous Thorntree Cafe

    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...

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  • Hotel prices

    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...

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  • Tour operators = jokers

    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...

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  • Taxi ride

    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. In my experience it even doesn't matter, tourist might expect to be traped by both authorized and unauthorized taxis. What...

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  • Ballooning Safaris

    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...

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  • Ballooning Safaris

    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...

    more
  • Beware of Masai village trip

    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...

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  • Buying souvenirs

    Shopping in Massai Village can be very funny because of bargain with the Massai women, but the same souvenirs are cheaper if you buy it on the streets of Mombasa

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  • Carnivore-don't buy the hype

    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...

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  • the Masai businessman

    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...

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  • The Equator

    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...

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  • Promises

    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...

    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...

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  • Try not to get trapped here...

    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. Go to a local bar and try and talk to the locals, the bars are pretty grim though. Head straight for Lake Naivasha if at all possible.

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  • Beach boys

    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, We bought all our stuff from them, Just obviously haggle, they will charge an abominable price for...

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  • Mini Bus Safari

    A mini bus safari is billed as a cost-effective way to see the wildlife parks, but the experience itself isn't worth it, no matter what the cost.If going to Masai Mara, you will leave Nairobi, and for five hours you will drive on rugged dirt roads crammed into a small van with 7 to 8 other passengers. Most of the buses aren't air conditioned, and...

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  • We are not alone

    Kenya is a very popular tourist destination, and you will often find that you are not alone once some game has been spotted. The poor animals may be surrounded by as many as 20 safari vehicles. As you can see from this picture, the majority of the vehicles obeyed the rules and stuck to the tracks. Our driver didn't - he drove right up to the lion....

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  • Dual pricing

    As you can see from the sign, foreigners pay almost ten times as much to enter the park as locals do. However you may feel about dual pricing, it is a fact of life in Kenya. There are many ways of looking at this issue:As tourists we are naturally wealthier than the locals, so we should pay more. In that case, should someone from the Scandinavian...

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  • Karen Blixen Ranch

    The Karen Blixen Ranch/Estate, was the former home of Baroness Blixen, who wrote the book "Out of Africa", which subsequently became a movie starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. While it's very inspiring to see the house and be able to see what life was like, the inside of the house was...well, pretty dull. When Karen Blixen left her Nairobi...

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  • Maasai Markets

    You'll find these almost EVERYWHERE in Kenya. The Maasai markets are where you find the warrior shields, the spears, African jewelry, soapstone carvings, and the famous ebony and rosewood carvings. They are where you go to get your souvenirs for great prices. Admittedly, these markets can have the IDEAL thing you may be looking for to show you've...

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  • Beware of high exchange rate

    In Kenya Duty Free Complex in the Nairobi Airport, if products are listed in US$ but you would rather pay in Kenyan Shillings, make sure you ask the exchange rate first. The exchange rate should between US$1 = KSH7x - 8x (check the bank rate). Some 'black' shops, especially those small shops, charge US$1 = KSH100 or more. You would suffer lost if...

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  • Foreign money in exchange of better...

    A shop-keeper will tell you that he collect foreign money and would ask you to give him your country's bank note in exchange for a better price for buying goods from his shop. Just ignore his request. It's another trap in making you buying things from his shop. Suggest that you'd rather pay using Kenyan Shillings or US dollars. Ignore the asking,...

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  • Ball pen to exchange for goods

    When asked for ball pens, it is a trap to get you into his shop. There is no need to use ball pen in exchange for a better price or any special price. Merchants who collect these ball pens may sell them at high price later. (http://www.infohome.dk/kenya/scamscri.html.en) Suggest that you don't have a ball pen. If like to buy anything from the...

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  • Bargaining

    I really hate bargaining... it's so exhausting, especially if you're on the road a long time and need some rest.But, well, it's their prefered system, so deal with it. Don't pay to much, try to pay 60 % or less of the first price they ask.What works always? Have the exact amount of money that you want to pay in your hand, go to your car and when...

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  • Maasai life

    A visit to a maasai village is almost always included between game rides in the Masai-Mara area. They welcome the tourists with their traditional chants and dances and even let them spy into their simple homes. All that prior to the required fee, agreed with the guide. They will even show them how they get the blood of a calf's neck, as they have...

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  • look down and watch for the potholes

    Walking the streets of all Kenyan towns made me very aware of the need to look down and keep aware of where my feet where being placed. Wear good shoes and just stay alert. take a tour if your fragile, but then you'll miss all th street fun.

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  • hippo & rhino

    They also are hard to get close since they are too cautious.In the pic I added, you will see a dark rock like matter on the center of it. Before the flamingoes, by the water. That is it indeed.

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  • Carnivore Restaurant

    When booking a Kenyan safari, most tour operaters will include lunch at Carnivores as part of your stay in Nairobi.This place is the biggest tourist trap in Kenya. Most people don't realize until they get to the restaurant that they have killed and are serving up those same beautiful animals that you saw on safari!! Ask for the Vegetarian...

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  • Curio Shopping!!!!

    Anywhere and everywhere.... Village Market on Fridays, Curio market in centre of town every day, Masaai Market in town on Tuesdays, Curio Shop near the National Park Ok, they quardruple the prices for tourists. If you can get it down to half what they ask by bargaining (which can be fun) you are doing well. a quarter? you deserve a medal! Take a...

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  • butterfly farm in Gedi

    The butterfly farm I visited was very near the ruins of Gedi: it's quite a small place with some interesting and colourful butterflies - but still it's far from being a palce that provides you a truly unforgettable and moving experience. Entrance was 100 kenyan shillings Go as an add-on after having visited the ruins of Gedi: they really are...

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  • crocodile and snake farm in Malindi

    In Malindi there's a snake and crocodile farm which could be worth visiting if there's absolutely else you can do (e.g it's raining). There's a cute giant turtle named Maria who loves bananas - and two very large and nasty crocodiles called George W. and Saddam. There's also 2 wild cats, several snakes, including the black mamba - which isn't black...

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  • Organised tours

    The hotel will warn you not not to use the beach boys for any organised tours. They will talk about people who have been ripped off. However, this is a way to make you spend double the money on the same trip with them. Ask other tourists in your hotel who they booked their trips with. We booked ours with 'Marcus' a beach boy at Tiwi Beach and not...

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  • Lion

    You will too much expect to face a wild lion when you go safari. But they rarely come out to see you. It is hard to find them because they usually are taking a nap behind bush. Are you gonna go into it?

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  • revival impossible syndrome

    Safari trip is totally a tourist trap because you will hardly be able to revive to your society quickly after going there.In the case of me, as it was just before employment when I went there, I have been thinking for almost a year long it foolish to continue work by the inner side of Tokyo like a tiny concrete jungle.

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  • "CHARCOAL UP AND DOWN THE HIGHWAY!"

    Another person this way. There was anotherperson the other way. We were in the middle!Which do you go to? Who knows!?! There are plenty more we can't see here. All you can do is listen to your driver! But, sometimes they do make a mistake! Thats the SAFARI thing for you! Not everything goesby the numbers!

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  • "FAKE-CHARCOAL?"

    There are many CHARCOAL sellers alongthe MOMBASA HIGHWAY going from TSAVO WEST, to NAIROBI! The guys needed to stopand pick up a bag. All it is, and it's too bad. It'sWOOD-CHUNKS halfway burned! We needed some for cooking, and heating up water! It's too bad, because they are cutting down good trees all over KENYA. But, the TRAP is. sometimes it's...

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  • Tribe Visits

    Be careful how much you are charged to visit some of the local Masai / Samburu tribal villages. We ended up parting company with $50, plus a $20 contribution to the school building fund and a $10 tip for our guide. $80 and all for 45 minutes. Understand the price and the fact that you will be harrased when you get there.

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  • Street Crime

    Be very careful while out and about in Naiobi and Mombasa. The Kenyan people are, by and large, lovely and very friendly, yet some target tourists as easy pickings. It's similar all round the world, but don't walk around with flashy watches, cameras, etc. as they may be removed from you - forceably.

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  • When you want to buy something...

    When you want to buy something (handicraft or so) the code word is BARGAIN! Let the guys do a price proposal, start at 1/4th and end up at about 1/2 the price. You might try to 'exchange' things, for instance an ebony statue for a small amount of money and a pair of sports socks or worn out shoes (Nike's are very much appreciated!!)Speaking about...

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  • avoid any scams - people...

    avoid any scams - people trying to exchange your money, trying to sell you something...getting reliable transportation can be a hassle and very overwhelming. Don't let them talk you into anything and set a price before you leave.

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  • be careful as always when...

    be careful as always when buying curios, bargaining is the done thing, i'd start by offering half the asking price and then work it out from there. a good place to do last minute shopping is the maasai market at the village market shopping centre (limuru road) on fridays...there is also a maasai market in nairobi city centre every tuesday but...

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  • Bargain for all

    Bargain first the price of yr safaris, you can save up to 50%...do not deal with english,french agents or photographs...visit many local Tours Operators and bargain...For my Masai Mara trip from Ukunda Mombasa with airstrip, 2 nights and 3 days, i have paid 750 usd for 2 people in a top 4 stars lodge instead of 1200 usd proposed by hotels to or...

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  • I found as in most , dare I...

    I found as in most , dare I say ,poorer countries , that a westerner and a white man to the local people , is to be fleeced for all he can be taken for . I always tipped when appropriate , but always in relation to the economic differences between our countries , it may sound mean but taking advice from my cousin I was staying with who lives there...

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  • We looked for the best...

    We looked for the best souvenir prices. We found three places. One was our high priced hotel! It had better prices than many of the places our tour company (Pollmans and Ranger) took us. The very best place was at the border crossing into Tanzania. Avoid the shops there. Their prices are too high. But when you go through passport control on the...

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Kenya Tourist Traps

Reviews and photos of Kenya tourist traps posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Kenya sightseeing.
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