Air travel is still a mysterious culture to many and the limits, when it comes to what you can bring with you to a plane, have never really been quite clear. Travellers the world over have attempted to bring to planes all manner of peculiar items as a result.

You probably may have heard of the South Korean woman who tried to pass through security checks with her mouth full of tadpoles. Apparently, when airport staff spotted her trying to board with a liquid bottle in her hand luggage, they gave her the option to drink the liquid or throw out the bottle – she chose the first option. The bottle was full of tadpoles!

Going by the peculiar list of non-allowable items on the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Passenger Security List, Kenya is no exception. Here we share 10 of the very strange ones in that list.

1. Cactus

We have tried to figure out why someone would include this stingy, sometimes poisonous, plant in their baggage and we thought we had cracked the mystery with the idea of the Aloe plant, which is widely used for health or medicinal reasons.

Unfortunately, to our disappointment, the Aloe is not a type of cactus – it is actually closely related to the Lily or Onion family! So we are still investigating this one.

2. Handcuffs

It is not the item itself that is strange because we can think of a dozen reasons handcuffs might end up on board a plane. It is rather the reason that they would be banned in the first place that is puzzling. Handcuffs are normally the preserve of law enforcement agencies.

How the Kenya Airports Authority expects the immigration police, for instance, to transport suspected convicts on extradition cases or deportees beats us. We shudder then to imagine we may have travelled on the same flight with criminals whose crucially lethal appendages were not kept in check! But we may be wrong – which is highly likely, we hope.

3. Arab and Dragon Swords

We never knew such swords even existed until we saw them listed on the KAA list. Google, or rather, information Google has aggregated is vague. It is not clear why the authority zeroed in on these 2 and whether this means any other type of sword is allowable but just do not show up at any Kenyan airport with these 2 – you will not go far with them as long as the Kenya Airports Authority is still manning our airports!

4. Ice Skating Boots

This is not much of an issue at the moment, however strange it would appear, but we wonder how, when one day we get round to adding Mount Kenya to the world extreme skating championship circuit, international participants will be able to bring in their gear, which of course includes skating boots – probably we will handle that one when we get there – or perhaps Mount Kenya’s fast regressing snow will have all disappeared by then anyway!

5. Bows and Arrows

Two possibilities quickly jump to mind – an international tourist going back home after a memorable wilderness safari trip and thinks these items could make a fabulous souvenir for a friend or family member abroad or, and we are being really wild in our imagination here, a member of one of the hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa wisely thinking he might need to fend for himself while abroad decides to carry his tools of the trade.

Can you think of any other reason a traveller in the 21st century would try to board a plane with these? Do let us know!

6. Throwing Stars

It came as a pleasant surprise to know, deducing from the appearance of these items in the Kenya Airports Authority list, that in Kenya we actually get visited by Ninjas – they are the only ones we know, from childhood Ninja films, that might be in possession of such items.

While we are known to be a hospitable guest-loving country, we kindly ask all Ninjas visiting Kenya to remember to leave their deadly weapons at home – more so for our safety than theirs.

7. Venus Flytrap Plant

The Venus flytrap is a remarkable carnivorous plant native to subtropical wetlands of the East Coast of the United States that catches its prey, mostly insects and arachnids, with a trapping structure formed by its leaves.

When an insect or spider comes into contact with tiny hairs in its leaves, the trap closes and it is meal time! Apparently, people have tried to bring this plant to the country. Well, just know that if you do, KAA will simply trap it at the airport!

8. Steak Knives

Once again we get why any form of the knife should never find its way into a plane, what we cannot figure out is why specifically steak knives – probably there is a historical perspective to the specificity here but since we are ones not to speculate, we shall leave it at that.

Again, just be warned you cannot carry steak knives in and out of the country – after all, if you are visiting Kenya, you will discover that all our steak joints provide adequate cutlery to your taste and preference.

9. Bowling Balls

Why someone would want to bring bowling balls into a flight is a mystery even the legendary Inspector Sikujua of the Tahamaki TV series might find hard to crack but since people do, Kenya Airports Authority says do not dare. You will only end up leaving them at the airport.

10. Pool Cues

Unless you are going or coming for an international pool championship, we wonder why else you would carry a pool cue with you to a plane. By the way, how did the Kenyan pool team carry their cues when they were travelling to the UK for the World-Eight ball Pool Championship? We are itching to find out.

So there you have it – 10 things you must never pack if you intend to travel through Kenya’s airspace. By the way, we also do not take too kindly to travellers who fancy carrying parts of our wildlife heritage such as lion or leopard skins, elephant ivory, rhino horns, coral, and hippo teeth – you catch our drift?

What strange things have you tried to carry to a plane at any of Kenya’s airports that never made it through? We would love to hear from you.