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African Culture and Etiquette

When travelling to Africa, you will come to learn that culture and traditions are very important to the people that live there. It is therefore equally important that you understand their language, culture, customs and etiquette.


The official language of Ghana is English. The customs and etiquette include:

  • Travellers are expected to greet people with a smile and a handshake.
  • You must use your right hand to touch and eat food with as using the left hand is considered both dirty and rude.
  • Asking people whether it is ok to take a photograph is considered polite and will ensure that you don’t offend any Muslim parts of the country where some people don’t like to be photographed.


The official languages of Kenya are Swahili and English. The customs and etiquette include:

  • Greet people with a handshake. If the person is known to you then the handshake will be longer than if the person was just met.
  • To demonstrate respect to an elder when meeting them it is custom to take their right wrist with your left hand when shaking hands.
  • It is respectful to ask about someone’s family once you have shaken their hand.
  • You are expected to wash hands before and after every meal and you don not start eating until the eldest male has been served and starts eating.

South Africa

There are 11 official languages of South Africa which includes English. The customs and etiquette include:

  • Greet people with a handshake and a smile. In some areas women will just nod their heads as a greeting so it is best to wait for the women to nod or extend their hand when you meet them.
  • Be punctual if you are invited somewhere as South African’s like people to arrive when invited.