Kenya: Photographic Safaris, Shopping and … Kizomba I

Very special thanks to Banana Hill Art Gallery in Kenya for its pictures. Cover image by: Shine Tani


Kenya is the essence of Africa. In recent years it has become one of the countries of popular tourism. Photographic safaris that allow access to Africa’s most characteristic animal kingdom: lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses… Add to this the emblematic features of its four great national parks, if only for the movies with scenes and landscapes that are familiar to us: Amboseli’s reserves, the Kilimanjaro, Masai Mara, land of the legendary Masai warriors….

Kenya is also one of the most advanced countries in Africa. Its total population (34 million) and has a literacy rate of 85%, it is also considered the great financial centre of East Africa.

Picture by: Shine Tani - Banana Hill Art Gallery
Picture by: Shine Tani – Banana Hill Art Gallery

Tourism is one of the most thriving industries in Kenya, which already receives one million visitors a year – mostly from the UK and Germany – from Spain, just over ten thousand a year.

Photographic Safaris

Travelling to Kenya is largely a photographic safari. On these safaris, the vans transporting animals characteristic of Kenya are guaranteed to be seen in the nature reserves: elephants, large buffaloes, leopards, rhinos and lions. Obviously, we advise you to follow all the recommendations provided by your travel agency or tourist service if you want to see other species.

Picture by: Salum Kambi
Picture by: Salum KambiBanana Hill Art Gallery

The Masai

The legend of the Masai written by so many writers (Joseph Conrad, Karen Blixen, Evelyn Waugh…) and scholars of anthropology has gone down in history. Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known local populations due to their residence near the many game parks of the African Great Lakes, and their distinctive customs and dress.The Maasai speak the Maa language, a member of the Nilo-Saharanfamily that is related to Dinka and Nuer languages.

Picture by: Salum Kambi
Picture by: Salum KambiBanana Hill Art Gallery

Shopping

Most of the typical objects you will find are specially made for tourism.
The standard business hours are 9 a. m. to 5:30 p. m., Monday through Friday, closing from 1:00 to 2:00 p. m.On Saturdays, stores are open from 9am to 1.30pm. 

In general, prices for tourist goods are high. Prices are higher in Nairobi’s hotels and shops and, above all, in the road’s dukas or curio shops. If you travel in an organized group you won’t get away from the stop at these stores, but keep in mind that prices are generally higher than elsewhere.

Wood carvings are the most popular objects, from the small animal figurines, coarse and worthless but very nice.

In some places you will find clay figures, especially busts of tribal chiefs. The great attention to detail in their details turns them into authentic portraits.

Stone carvings are common, especially representing animals and domestic objects. Malachite, turquoise, coral and soapstone (steatite) are the most commonly used materials. These stones are also used to make jewelry.

The dried and hardened pumpkins imitate those used by the Maasais to make the traditional drink of milk and blood. They can be found everywhere, decorated or not, and are very beautiful. In rural areas of the Maasai country you may find some truly authentic ones.

Picture by: Ssali Yusuf - Banana Hill Art Gallery
Picture by: Ssali YusufBanana Hill Art Gallery

Kiondos are baskets of sisal or plaited pita. They are very popular and are an almost obligatory purchase, especially because of their usefulness to carry the rest of the souvenirs and gifts. Some baskets are made with baobab bark.

The batiks are painted fabrics to decorate the walls. The most modest are monochrome and use cotton fabrics. The most refined and expensive, which can only be found in the galleries

Shopping Centres

The Hub Karen (Nairobi)

The Village Market (Nairobi)

Yaya Centre (Nairobi)

Westgate Shopping Mall (Nairobi)

City Mall (Mombasa)

The West End Shopping Mall, Kisumu (Kisumu)

Picture by: Rahab Shine - Banana Hill Art Gallery
Picture by: Rahab Shine – Banana Hill Art Gallery

More Services

Volunteer Holidays

Would you like a trip without maps or compasses?, Rather.
More and more people want to give a solidary approach to their holidays, especially because this type of action often allows them to get to know countries and realities with the word Welcome in capital letters. Being able to participate on the ground in projects carried out by different Foundations and NGOs, as well as having direct contact with the local population, first-hand knowledge of their situation, their aspirations, their day-to-day life….

Picture by: Bezalel Ngabo - Banana Hill Art Gallery
Picture by: Bezalel Ngabo – Banana Hill Art Gallery

The concept of solidarity holidays is much broader than it may seem at first. It is possible to embark on a sustainable development project almost as if you were just another development worker, to participate in a more discreet way, a few hours a day or even for a shorter period of time. 

Websites:

https://www.movingmountainstrust.org/volunteering-kenya/

https://www.outreachinternational.co.uk/countries/kenya/

https://www.volunteerhq.org/volunteer-in-kenya/

https://www.africanimpact.com/volunteer-destination/kenya/

Travel Etiquette

  • Kenyans tend to dress quite modestly. When travelling through Kenya, women especially should cover their shoulders and upper arms.
  • It is regarded as very poor etiquette to partake in public displays of affection in Kenya
Picture by: Peter Kibunja - Banana Hill Art Gallery
Picture by: Peter Kibunja – Banana Hill Art Gallery
  • Directly pointing at someone with your finger is considered quite rude
  • If you wish to include a person in your photographs, it is considered proper etiquette to politely ask them before hand
  • Eye contact is important to build trust.
  • Treat the elderly people with respect and reverence.

Next week we´ll talk about Kenyan culture and we’ll tell you some places to dance Kizomba in this marvelous country.

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