Scroll to see more pictures from our villages in Kenya.
Staying with locals can change the way you see the world
While most tourists head to Kenya for the magnificent wildlife and white beaches, there is a lot more to see. What makes Kenya stand out from the other Duara destinations is the high level of English language spoken in the villages. Here you can truly exchange stories and learn about the thoughts and dreams of your hosts.
There are roughly 40 tribal ethnicities in Kenya, with different languages and customs. Makuyu village is home to people of the Kikuyu tribe. This sweet little village is famous for its mangoes, red dusty streets and warm people.
Gacharageini in the Central Highlands has some of the most idyllic views with endless hills, valleys and tea plantations. This village is great for hikers and outdoors enthusiasts.
Bombolulu village in the Costal Region offers a more urban vibe and a chance to stay near the beach. Here you can learn about the everyday life of modern Swahili people living beside the city of Mombasa.
How to get there?
Makuyu is roughly a 1,5h drive away from Nairobi towards North East. By taxi this costs around 35€. You can also take a bus for approximately 3 hours from the Nairobi Tearoom Station. Your host family will meet you at the bus stop.
The drive to Gacharageini from Nairobi takes about 2,5 hours and costs 50-70€. Ask your Duara Contact to help you arrange a taxi, if needed. By bus the ride is cheap but can take 1-2 hours longer.
If you are in Mombasa, Bombolulu is just 30 minutes away by tuktuk, motorcycle or taxi. You can also take a local bus, matatu, and continue by tuktuk. Reaching Mombasa from Nairobi is easy by train, bus or plane. Book your train tickets in advance, as the trains tend to fill up!
If you are looking for affordable transportation options, check out Uber, which operates in Kenya.
Good to know about Kenya
Food in Kenya is tasty but not spicy. Everything is fresh and locally produced – usually grown in your own garden.
The staple diet consists of Ugali (maize porridge) or rice, together with cooked local vegetables. Roots like sweet potato and arrowroot are very common, as well as chapati, a yummy wheat bread fried in oil.
Chicken, beef and fish are common dishes, but they are not the center of the meal, as meat is a fairly expensive ingredient. Beans are used for protein, as well.
Kenya offers a wide range of truly exotic and cheap fruit – it is a paradise for fruit lovers. Check out what is in season during your trip and head to Makuyu at mango season.
Coffee and tea are the biggest exports of Kenya. However, you rarely meet a local drinking coffee. Tea with milk, however, is something you will most likely be served at least 3 times a day! If you are interested in learning about the tea picking, visit Gacharageini.
RAIN and SEASONS
Climate change is affecting the seasons in Kenya, so strategies for picking the best time to go are no longer bulletproof. The conditions vary greatly within the country. However, some tendencies remain.
There are typically two rainy seasons: the long rains from the end of March until May and the short rains in October–November. The first months of the year tend to be the warmest.
The coastal weather in Bombolulu is tropically hot and humid throughout the year, averaging at 26,7 Celcius.
The higher the altitude, the colder the climate. Nights in Gacharageini can get cold, but days can be very pleasant and sunny, depending on the season.
Makuyu offers a midway between the two above, with an average temperature of 20 Celcius. During midday the sun is hot, but mellows down during the afternoon.
Most often, food is eaten by hand. You can ask for a fork or spoon, if you want. Use your right hand to eat!
Traditional gender roles are still prevailing in Kenya. Don't be surprised to see women being solely responsible for house chores, while men work in fields or offices. Oftentimes men will gather for a beer or two after work, while women meet in each others homes, cooking and discussing daily matters.
Elders are respected in Kenya. If you want to impress an older person, you can greet them by saying "Shikamoo". Children or young people may say this to you, which you can respond to with "Marahaba".
Although Kenya is not the most conservative of cultures, modest dressing is still favourable. Showing a lot of skin is not recommended.
Smiling is the best way to communicate across cultures. Kenyans are a happy lot!
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