Laws in Kenya | Travel advice from Adventure Alternative

Kenya laws

The following advice is intended to provide a brief outline of any laws in the desination country that are directly applicable to travelling there. This is not intended to be exhaustive or complete and laws do change from time to time so we strongly advise visiting the UK Foreign Office website and checking for their current advice.

In general the laws of any country will be based on the same values as at home but significant differences can be present subject to the prevailing cultural, religious and political environment in the country. These four basic factors can be your main guide to how to act in unfamiliar situations. If you are any doubt as to what to do in a given situation it is usually possible to identify the "safest" fallback option and go with it. For example, not buying something, not taking a photo of a government building etc.

This information should also be read in conjunction with our relevant pages dealing with Cultural Awareness and Visa Requirements.

Religion
Although there are no strict dress codes, you should note that the coastal areas are predominantly Muslim in tradition. You should dress conservatively away from the tourist resorts and hotels, especially in Mombasa town, to avoid offending local sensitivities. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

Smoking
Smoking in all public places (except in designated areas) is prohibited throughout Kenya. This applies to areas such as hotel grounds, lounge areas and entrances. If you wish to smoke in your hotel room please confirm first with hotel management that it is permitted. Smoking outdoors in any public street or on the beach, is not banned under the Act, however, it is advisable to check before doing so or, if in doubt, to refrain from smoking. Offences attract fines ranging from 50,000 to three million Kenya shillings and/or imprisonment for six months to three years.

Drugs
The use and trafficking of illegal Class A drugs in Kenya carries heavy fines and jail sentences. The penalty for possession is ten years imprisonment.

Work
You must obtain a valid work permit before taking up any paid work in Kenya; the penalties for not doing so can be a fine, jail or deportation depending on the nature of the offence.

Photographs
The taking of photographs of official buildings, including Embassies, is not recommended and can lead to detention. If in any doubt about what a building is used for, do not photograph it or film around it.

Money
It is illegal to destroy Kenyan currency whatever the denomination.

Relationships
Homosexual activity is illegal in Kenya.