Hi guys Im thinking about heading out to Kenya for a month or two this summer and doing some volunteering. I’m not hearing great things at the moment about being a female traveller there though- can anyone reassure me? I’ve been to se asia and peru alone before and got a lot of hassle in peru for being blonde, which is fine (ish) but peoples stories of kenya do seem a bit more serious than just the ocassional comment from locals. any girls been alone? cheers
I spent 3 months living in Nairobi back in 2005 so this isn’t exactly the most recent story, but I had no problems at all as a solo female. I was working at a school in one of Nairobi’s suburbs, using public transport (alone) every day and meeting (local) friends in Nairobi at the weekends.
Being white I stuck out but I didn’t feel threatened or vulnerable when I was on my own. I had plenty of people (admittedly mostly men) approach me to talk to me, but I think it was more genuine curiosity and wanting to talk to someone ‘unusual’ than anything more sinister than that. Often people would offer to walk me to my destination, or one time when it was getting dark, a lady went out of her way to walk me to my stop and put me on the matatu safely.
I had been given a really good orientation by the local guys who worked with the volunteering company, which I’m sure helped a lot, but I also always made sure I was dressed respectfully, didn’t wear jewellery and made sure I looked like I knew where I was going (even if I didn’t).
Going to Kenya was a life-changing experience for me, and even though I didn’t get as much out of the volunteering as I had expected (due to fault of my own by not being prepared), meeting the local people and being in the country far exceeded my expectations. Kenyan people are so welcoming, caring and genuinely decent people.
NB. Some of the other Western girls who were in Kenya at the same time as me did have problems - jewellery being snatched, money going missing etc. This kind of thing can be prevented by being vigilant.
I was in Kenya this summer for a month volunteering, and I spent pretty much all my time in Mombasa apart from visiting Tsavo for safari. I worked at a Primary school and to get there I had to travel through what was supposedly a particularly dangerous part of Mombasa, I couldn’t have felt more safe! Obviously there are a few exceptions but I think you can get the few exceptions anywhere you go!
In my opinion it is no different many other places where blonde females get a lot of attention anyway particulary being white! I’d go for it, it’s a stunning country and i’m actually planning on going back there next year for slightly longer!
I went to Kenya with a friend (also femail) when I was 17 y/o for a month volunteering in an orphanage and didn’t have any problems.
I returned alone a couple of months later when I was 18, as a solo femail and again had no problems. I spent most of my time in the suburbs of Nairobi and a little while working in an NGO just outside the coastal town of Mombasa.
I spent around 6 months on my second trip.
As long as you use your common sense and don’t do anything silly - I’d say you’d be fine and have an amazing trip.
I am a kenyan who has a backpacker in Nairobi. Mkenya backpackers. Kenya is very safe but also depends on which part you go to.Usually in the rural area you will have people staring at you but mostly because they haven’t seen a lot of white people.
The city Nairobi is safe depending on which areas you are. Ofcourse there are some places that aint safe but generally you will be safe.Where exactly are you going?
Thankyou for all your advice. I’m torn between Kenya and Tanzania (or both), how long would you advise travelling for? I want to volunteer for at least a month then travel around a bit. Thanks!
I’d say book tickets that you can change the return date so you can extend your stay if you want to! Start with 2 months and see how you get on! Tourist visas last 3 months for both Kenya and Tanzania.
Definitely depends where you’re headed - there are plenty of overland operator’s offering short stints covering Kenya and Tanzania - hard to choose between - I’d do both =) that would give you a good grounding if you still feel unsure - have agreat time in Africa =)