LGBTQIA+ travellers are those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, plus queer or questioning, intersex or asexual individuals. It also includes those who identify beyond these commonly used sexuality and gender expressions. Kenya is considered to be a fairly safe destination for LGBTQIA+ travellers, but there are certain situations and issues that may present themselves to queer couples or travellers who identify with one or more of these terms when visiting Kenya.
Is Kenya safe for LGBTQIA+ travellers?
Like many countries in Africa, homosexuality is still illegal in Kenya. The criminalisation of same-sex relationships was acquired from Britain before Kenya was granted independence in 1963, and it has never been reviewed. The majority of Kenyan society is religious and conservative, and trans and non-binary gender identities are also considered taboo. The legal issues surrounding Kenyans who identify as trans or non-binary are ambiguous, but they may experience public discrimination and there are no protections against housing or employment discrimination.
Kenya is not considered to be an 'LGBTQIA+ friendly' destination when compared to western countries due to the laws and attitudes towards the queer community, but it's still relatively safe for LGBTQIA+ travellers. Despite the criminalisation of homosexuality, there is more tolerance of travellers who identify as LGBTQIA+ due to the importance of the country's tourism industry. Queer travellers and couples are unlikely to experience any issues if they avoid public displays of affection such as kissing, hugging or holding hands. That said, public displays of affection for hetero couples are also frowned upon. As long LGBTQIA+ travellers display some discretion and respect the local culture, they will have no problem visiting Kenya.
Queer travel in Kenya
Many hotels, lodges and public sites have private or all-gender bathrooms, but there may be occasions when the only option is to use a gendered bathroom. Same-sex couples can usually book a room with a double bed without being questioned, and LGBTQIA+ travellers can expect the same attitudes as hetero travellers when staying at one of the big, globally recognised hotel chains. There isn't an established queer scene in Kenya, but Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, has a vibrant nightlife scene and there are more and more bars introducing queer-safe zones or rooms for the LGBTQIA+ community. This is a much safer option than going to a regular club or bar.
We recommend you visit Equaldex and/or Smartraveller before you plan your Kenya trip for up-to-date advice and information about LGBTQI-related laws.
Solo travel and room sharing
If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know when you're booking your trip and we’ll arrange the rooming accordingly. There is also the option to book your own room on some tours if you don't wish to share a room.