Safety level of Kenya travels
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Nov 21, 2013 8:24 PM Last Post By: Algunaid
Jan 23, 2013 2:53 AM
Safety level of Kenya travelsHello. I read a travel warning/alert regarding the risk of travelling to Kenya.
Would travelers who are already in Kenya please give some input on Nairobi, its airport, and traveling within Kenya.?
How unsafe is Kenya for a tourist going to Nairobi, then to a safari to see the wildebeest migration? Would anyone care to comment on the safety issue of traveling to and visiting Kenya? Any comments on overlanding from Tanzania to kenya? Would appreciate advice on bus connections and train connections .
Jan 23, 2013 4:23 AM
1This could depend on whether you plan to be in Kenya during the election, which will be March 4th.
Jan 23, 2013 7:24 AM
2I was in Kenya for several weeks in October and from what we experienced, it was quite safe. I was honestly very surprised with Nairobi. We found it to be a delightful city and never had issues. From what we were told, back in the 90s, it was much much much more dangerous than it is today. That isn't to say you should be out late by yourself walking around, but the crime is rampant in all parts of the city as it once was.
Doing what you are looking at doing is quite common and you wouldn't be putting yourself in any real danger. There are many reputable companies that could help facilitate the safari to see the migration.
Overlanding from Tanzania is quite an easy affair. The roads are quite good and you have a direct shot from Arusha to Nairobi. I think it takes about 4-5 hours or so.
The areas of Kenya where there ARE issues are in the east along the Somali border and up north along the Ethiopian border. WIth Somalia, you have a lot of refugees and the largest refugee camp in the world. You will be nowhere near that area. The coastal areas of Kenya...near the Somali border...have also seen some piracy and kidnappings, publicized by the media. Again, this isn't where you will be. As far as the northern parts of Kenya, there are some dangers for travelers in the way of armed robbery and banditry, but many of the local tribes there fued amongst themselves over water and grazing rights. Generally best to avoid putting yourself between them. This is mainly on the road from Moyale to Marsabit...and the road along Lake Turkana. Like with Somalia, you won't be anywhere near these areas and should not have any issues.
Jan 23, 2013 4:49 PM
3Jpyrek is spot on.
It is safe enough in the areas you will go. But again around the election, trouble can flare up, with the odds high that it will.
I will just add on that with you are going for the Wildebeast migration, book ahead. It is very popular and a lot of the good tour companies book out well in advance
Jan 23, 2013 9:00 PM
4Elections on March 4, 2013 could be an issue, but even if you're in Nairobi it will be more a problem of inconvenience rather than a threat to personal safety. The violence is largely tribal and is stoked by opportunistic politicians. Accordingly, foreigners are not really "targets," so again its really more of an inconvenience, for example, deliveries are made less to markets due to disturbances, so milk, bread and other items become hard to find after a few days and travel around town is limited as you don't want to necessarily go strolling around and find yourself in a demonstration or clash which turns ugly.
Aside from that, Nairobi is a very cosmopolitan, increasingly modern, urban environment, with lots of restaurant options, shopping, sites, good parts of town and bad parts of town, like any big city. Walking around during the day in the areas whereby most tourists/ex-pats reside is quite safe, you might be asked for change occasionally, but otherwise you'll be fine. Would not advise walking at night, and most kenyan or non-kenyan abide by this rule, but taxis are easy to get and reliable.
The embassies are constantly issuing threat warnings, but they are largely overblown and are really a reaction to events transpiring in the northern part of the country along the border with Somalia. There are have been a few isolated events in the last year in areas of Nairobi not frequented by tourists/ex-pats but otherwise Nairobi has been safe. Don't let the moniker "Nai-robbery" fool you, Kenya and Nairobi are wonderful places to visit, if you're in town check me out at: www.moving2nairobi.com
Jan 24, 2013 12:34 AM
5Thanks to everyone who took the time to give input re the travel-in-Kenya safety issue. And may I ask another question. Is it difficult to get vegetarian food in Nairobi? Pls. comment on food items available in supermarkets? Are there plenty of supermarkets , or produce markets in Nairobi?
Anyone care to recommend a safe budget to mid-range hotel (ensuite) in Nairobi? And safari companies for the wildebeest migration? Any safari company that accepts booking from single traveler? Most safari companies have a min. requirement of two pax for booking. Appreciate any advice and help. Thanks.
Jan 24, 2013 1:43 AM
6I'd avoid traveling to Kenya during the elections if you can. if you do, make sure you have the number of your Embassy in Nairobi.
Kenya is not a safe place like Europe. The probability that something happens is low but you still need to follow a few rules: do not travel on the road outside cities at night; always lock the doors of your car (applies to taxis as well); close the windows of your car any time you're driving slowly (applies to taxis as well); in case of car jacking get out of the car immediately and do not try to resist; at night never walk on the street, always take a taxi even for a few meters; do stay in a hotel which has reasonnable security.
Security is an issue in Nairobi and major cities. The coast is generally safer. Game parks are very safe (of course you should not leave the lodge or tented camp without a guide who knows how to deal with wildlife).
Veggie food is widely available in Nairobi as some members of the big Indian Kenyan community are vegetarians. There are several major supermarkets, you will find products there, nothing as sophisticated as in Europe but there's still plenty of choice.
Feb 1, 2013 4:27 PM
7I would avoid Kenya in March, like all others have said.
Exercise high common sense and you will be fine, don't walk at night (especially alone) and travel in groups if possible. Kenya, for the most part, is safe but it is becoming worse every year. Game parks are generally very safe, Nairobi has been getting worse this year but like I said common sense and you will be fine! Don't walk around flashing jewerly or a large camera. Do some research on the areas you should avoid (around Somalia border, Tana River Delta, certain streets in Nairobi) and you will be fine!
Veggie food is available mostly everywhere! Lots of choice.
Feb 2, 2013 12:49 AM
8Official election campaigns start on February 10. While it's true there is a high probability of trouble in March (during the elections, and particularly when the results are announced), I have also been told there is a potential for problems when the major parties start actively campaigning. We may just have to sit tight and see.
Further re problems for foreigners... it's true that the main cause of political violence in Kenya is tribal. HOWEVER, two prime political aspirants (Kenyatta and Ruto) are facing ICC charges for accusations against them relating to 2007 post-election violence. If charged, I have been warned that their tribal communities may respond with violence again (White in particular) foreigners, as they see the White community as an extension of the Hague.
Obviously, this is just speculation until things actually unfold; but it wouldn't hurt for travelers to at least consider the possibilities, so they can be better prepared for a range of potential outcomes.
Let's hope it's not as bad this time around as it was five years ago.
Apr 9, 2013 6:27 AM
9We just came back, it seemed safe enough to us and we travelled around a fair amount of the Country, also drove into Nairobi twice and had no issues there.
I would suggest its not any more dangerous than any other of a large list of countries where Tourists need to be careful with there posessions, we must of had at least 40 Police road blocks we went through in 2 weeks and everytime the Police waved us through, so they have obviously been told not to Harass the tourists which was my biggest concern as they are
considered extremely corrupt ( again Hearsay ).
I`d be just as careful in Paris or Rome as I`d be in Nairobi and I`ll bet Tourists have more issues in those cities than Nairobi, wehad more "Security Problems" on the French Island of Corsica than in Africa.
Nov 21, 2013 8:24 PM
10Kenya is as safe as any other country, theft could be in USA, UK or any where, it depend on how atractive you look to theives !!! we beleive that Kenya has been targeted for some reasons, for such an insecurity reputition!!!
I happened to travel and stay in different parts of Kenya (northeastern parts, Nairobi and others) for months >> I had never had issues away from the normal things I hear from time to time ( walets, mobile etc..) at crowdy areas.
It is always advisable everywhere ( Not only in Kenya) to avoid walking a lone in the evenings at dark or poor lighted areas, keep your doors locked at night and do not travel at nights un-necessarily. OTHERWISE, Kenya is safe and people are well educated, friendly and cooperative .
Take things in the normal range and that will help you . best stay in Kenya
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