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How Kenyan Police Welcomes Tourists

by Olesia May 2 2014, 08:15 Kenya

Hello everybody! This post is about Kenyan police and how it treats tourists.

In my previous post I promised to tell you about what happened to us on our way back to Nairobi. Now I am writing this post and I do not know actually where to start.

Shall I start from corruption in the country, or from one evening (app. 9 p.m.) when we were stopped by one policeman asking us to give him "something for a tea because we have a BIG car" (Nissan SUV 2006).

Anyway, this time it was not the first time we had a chance to interact with Kenyan Police, however we could not even imagine what could happen.

How Kenyan Police Welcomes Tourists

In maasai Mara we had a wonderful and unforgettable time. In a good mood we left for Nairobi at about 10 a.m.

Our upcoming trip did not look appealing to us at all, as everybody remembered poor road conditions and scarce sceneries. Majority of the group just fell asleep. As for me I could not sleep. When we left the Reserve our driver drove at first like a mad. My husband and I were concerned about such driving on a dirt road, we even asked him to slow down a bit. But our deaf driver did not listen to us.

So this was basically just outside Mara Reserve, when we crossed near by villages in the middle of nowhere.

Then, thank God, the Tarmac road started. Then,because of some mysterious reason our driver slowed down and started driving 30-40km/hour. I know that for sure because my husband had an app installed on his smartphone that calculated the speed.

A screenshot of speedometer app.

A screenshot of speedometer app.

And this is not a joke. He almost flew through the dirt road, and almost stopped on a Tarmac.

One more time we inquired him about the reason why we were driving so slowly. His answer was not clear.

After almost an hour of "tortoise driving" we were stopped by a policeman (somewhere in Narok county).

Our driver went out of the minibus and proceeded to the so called "police office" which looked more like a small hut. Afterwards, he returned and informed us that he was given a fine for speeding.

We were so surprised, just a minute before the policeman stopped us we were laughing because of our super slow driving.

To cut the long story short, in the parking lot near this "police office", we noticed dozens of minibuses with tourists. They were also pulled over for some reason. Some of these tourists have spent several hours waiting (with children in the middle of nowhere without even toilets nearby). We talked to some tourists from other groups, no one knew what was going on.

When our driver came back he told us that he should pay a fine, otherwise they won't let us go.

I was shocked. Police hostages?!

Other bad news was that our driver did not actually have any money on him (Even though he was working for a tour company). So it was for us to pay. Can you imagine something like this happening in a normal country? To avoid loosing more time, we payed the fine. We had to share it among all of us. I was with a group of humanitarian workers (my husband works for a humanitarian NGO) so they were psychologically more prepared for such evolution of event... As for me it was unspeakable and still is. We booked this trip with a company that provided tourist services for my husband's work. That is why they reimbursed us the fine. If it was an outside tour company, I doubt they would do the same.

P.S. When we arrived in Nairobi, we gave our poor driver the tips we collected for him beforehand. Heavyhearted and damp, he told us that the he would have to go to a Court the following week to pay much more as we had only paid the cashbill for the fine. God, save us from such Police!

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