Romantic Tourism in Kenya

15-01-2018, 18:10
In Kenya, the so-called “romantic tourism” is widespread - when elderly Europeans pay young Kenyans for escorting ... and other services.
In 2009, Sophie Amalie Klugart traveled to the Kenyan capital Mombasa as part of the nonprofit organization ActionAid. Her main task was to highlight the problem of poverty in this African country. And in the evenings and weekends, admiring Kenya Klugart traveled in search of interesting stories. Once, once on the beach, the photographer was amazed that older Europeans are flirting with local young people.

When she spoke with one of the tourists, she learned that this is called “romantic tourism” - single men and women arrive in poor countries in search of companions among local residents who are ready to voluntarily become “subordinates” for these people in exchange for gifts, free lunches and sometimes just cash.
For the first time Klugart found out about “romantic tourism” while walking along the beaches of Mombasa. There she saw many elderly white women surrounded by young Kenyans.“Their intentions were so obvious,” admits the photographer.
The hotels in Mombasa were full of European tourists, both men and women, who came here alone to relax. Everyone in the hotel, from administrators to staff, knew about the relationship between tourists and locals.

Her first "object" - Louise - the photographer met on the beach. She told Louise that she is shooting a love story. Louise laughed and said: “Love! She's not here! ”Louise was in a relationship with two Kenyan men and introduced Klugart to many other women in the neighborhood.

Louise started living in Kenya in 1997 when she got a job as a guide here. At work, she saw that many tourists here have love relationships with local ones, and she vowed that she would never be one of these women.

However, shortly thereafter, Louise began dating a Kenyan and became pregnant. The three of them moved to France, but Louise ousted her lover when she found out that he was cheating on her. She returned to Kenya so that her son Joshua could be closer to his roots.

Often women start dating Kenyans because of loneliness. And local men usually live in terrible poverty, so they are not at all against such a pastime.If the Kenyan “contributes”, he is guaranteed a comfortable bed, as well as dinners and gifts from women, which he can keep or sell ...

Most of these tourists come from Germany, Switzerland, Eastern Europe and Britain. Usually it is rich, fat and elderly women.

In many cases, money is not mentioned once again, so that women can preserve the illusion of the novel. Although sometimes women pay men immediately after sex.

One lady, who met Klugart, comes to Kenya from Germany twice a year and each time stays at the resort for three weeks. Every time she goes to the same man.

When she arrives, she gives him enough money to pay for everything while she rests, so as not to look like a “mommy”. Leaving, she also leaves him money.

In many cases, men are looking for a way to move from Kenya to Europe with the help of their “companions”.

Sometimes such novels can grow into a serious relationship that blurs the line between reality and fantasy.

Many women are captured by fantasy, so that when they realize that they have just been used, they begin to suffer or experience anger.

But in most cases, women are well aware that in this resort romance two simply use each other. One - for the company, the second - for the money.

For example, one woman who met Klugart works in the hotel industry in Europe and comes to

Kenya every year to escape from reality. Her husband died of cancer 20 years ago, and she does not want a new father for his children - she just needs a companion who is always ready to listen to her.

Klugart learned that this is happening not only in Kenya. This is quite common in many vacation spots, especially in the Caribbean.

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