Local laws and customs
The coastal areas are predominantly Muslim. Although there are no strict dress codes, you should dress conservatively away from the tourist resorts and hotels, especially in Mombasa town, during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
In 2018, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 15 May and finish on 14 June. See Travelling during Ramadan
Smoking in all public places (except designated areas) is prohibited throughout Kenya. This applies to areas like hotel grounds, lounge areas and entrances. Smoking outdoors in any public street or on the beach is not banned, but check first and if in doubt don’t light up. Offenders can be fined up to 3 million Kenya shillings or imprisoned for up to 3 years.
The use and trafficking of illegal Class A drugs in Kenya carries heavy fines and jail sentences. The penalty for possession is 10 years in prison.
Taking photographs of official buildings, including Embassies, can lead to detention. If in any doubt, don’t photograph or film around them. Photography is also prohibited at airports.
You must get permission to carry any kind of firearm before you enter the country.
Plastic bags have been banned for environmental reasons.
It is illegal to destroy Kenyan currency.
Homosexual activity is illegal. Public displays of homosexuality like holding hands or kissing in public places could lead to arrest and imprisonment. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
You must carry a form of ID with you at all times. A copy of your passport is normally acceptable, but recently some police officers have been insisting on the original document.
It is illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade any of its parts without a licence. Kenya is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) under which there’s a ban on the international commercial trade in ivory. Those caught purchasing or trafficking banned goods will be prosecuted and receive prison sentences and/or fines.