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A woman's dress in Kenya?

New York City, New...
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A woman's dress in Kenya?

I've read around a bit that women in Kenya customarily cover arms and legs. I'll be in the Nanyuki/Mt. Kenya area from September-October/November, and am not quite sure how to go about dressing respectfully...I have lots of sundresses but am now regretfully thinking otherwise.

Thoughts/advice?

Edited: 26 March 2012, 05:34
Nairobi, Kenya
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1. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

Sundresses are fine! Just nothing micro-mini :-)

The only places we tend to be a bit careful are where there are large Muslim communities but a nice pair of shorts and t-shirt/sun top are absolutely fine. It's more about being feminine than anything... what's considered inappropriate is slutty or provocative dressing - very short skirts or shorts, or low-cut tops, beach wear off the beach etc. You will fit in just fine in sundresses - very practical, cool and comfortable :-)

Mombasa
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2. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

With a decent dress you are fine anywhere in Kenya.....

manchester, United...
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3. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

We visit rural Kenya frequently and I always tell people to dress modestly - i.e. not to wear anything too revealing - no strappy or short sundresses; no shorts, no bare midriffs. Its not a Muslim community but revealing clothes would really be frowned on. Its OK to wear less on safari and at the Coast where they are more used to Western standards of dress but not in the country.

The other thing is that the place we visit is at 8000ft and near the Equator so I always tell people to cover up or risk burning. Despite my warnings - everyone burns first time!

Nairobi, Kenya
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4. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

Shorts are perfectly fine :-)

Masai Mara National...
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5. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

Halo Adriana,

have no fear, sundresses are also won locally within the country so be free to bring them along. People are also slowly adapting to the cultural differences that exist. Just a point to note, Nanyuki/Mt. Kenya area can be cold at times so carry also something to keep you warm, just in-case the weather turns cold. Otherwise, Welcome to Kenya.

manchester, United...
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6. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

I've just read your earlier posts and now realise that you are visiting an orphanage. The place that I take visitors is also an orphanage. The directors especially stress the "dress modestly" code because they have had problems with their girls emulating the dress standards of volunteers/visitors. Bare midriffs if I recall!

Despite what the chaps above might say - I would err on the side of caution!

But good point about something warm - being so high up it can get quite cool especially in the evenings.

Pickering, United...
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7. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

Easy compromise. Avoid sun burn, wind chill, mossie bites in the evening and embarassment (mainly other people's?) by carrying a long sleeved shirt to pop on over your lovely dresses. It will come in handy many times over.

Bungoma, Kenya
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8. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

Where I live, dress which may be suitable for towns and the Coast is not really acceptable.

Val H is talking a lot of sense.

We ask our visiting ladies to wear skirts below the knee and reasonably covered at the top - not strappy tops or showing cleavage. Not shorts for ladies (or even trousers, except when on safari, away from the village or orphanage)! Do look at Post 6, please. Our girls copy what they see. Even these long dangling earrings so common with visitors are a big temptation to our young girls. Try not to wear things which would make the local girls covet what you have and also be careful that what you wear isn't such that people don't listen to what you say.

As Val says, you may be on the Equator, but away from the Coast, you may be high and find it cold!!

Edited: 26 March 2012, 11:53
Nairobi, Kenya
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9. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

Gosh, I must be setting a terrible example... I wear (knee-length) shorts everywhere! ;-)

No Pat Butcher earrings though...

manchester, United...
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10. Re: A woman's dress in Kenya?

I thought you were male FL410. I thought only boys wore shorts in Africa.......