Kenya : Safety by City
Kenya is a country located in Eastern Africa. Apart from having a coastline along the Indian Ocean it shares its borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan to the north and Uganda to the west. Although, it may come as a surprise to some, Kenya is the most powerful economy of East Africa, and although tourists have lately become more common in many parts of Kenya, you can expect hearing children shouting “Mzungu! Mzungu!” (which in Kiswahili means: “white person”).
As for sights and attractions in Kenya, what you shouldn’t skip in this country are some world-class reserves where you can see some of the finest African flora and fauna. Kenyan national parks offer safaris unmatched in the entire world, and are famous for lions, giraffes, elephants and huge herds of zebras, wildebeests and buffaloes. Apart from safari, Kenya offers gorgeous beaches for the lovers of summer activities, and several of them are located along the coastal regions and the city of Mombasa.
Warnings & Dangers in Kenya
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
After 2008 post-election violence that emerged in Kenya, things have quieted down and the situation is now safe for tourists. However, it is still a rather dangerous country and it is highly advised that you remain extremely vigilant at all times.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
Armed robberies on freeways, and roadway robberies are common occurrences in Kenya. This is why it is best to avoid public transport in Kenya. For anything you need, you can order a taxi, and by no means should you walk on the streets at night.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
By all means, avoid any displays of wealth in public. Never flash anything valuable, your money, credit cards, hi-tech equipment or jewelry. Pickpockets are regular in this country.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Kenya is susceptible to many natural hazards, out of which the most common that hit this country hard have to do with the weather. Floods, droughts, landslides, lightening/thunderstorms, wild fires, and strong winds regularly cause substantial damage to Kenya. You should also be aware of the widespread existence of HIV/AIDS.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Violent crime such as robberies, muggings, armed car-jacking, armed road-blocks are all regular occurrences in this country. If you get mugged a good tactic is to wave your arms and scream at the mugger. This is not a good advice for situations where the muggers are armed. In such a case, surrender all your belongings immediately and don’t resist. Kidnappings are common in areas around South Sudanese, Ethiopian and Somali borders.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Kenya, as it has been the target of many attacks in recent years, particularly in Garissa, Lamu and Mandera counties and other areas close to the Somali border, most of which were attributed to Al Shabaab. Remain vigilant at all times.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are no known scams specific for Kenya, but you should still be very cautious when it comes to street vendors or people offering you any kind of help that you didn't ask for.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Kenya isn’t the safest option for women traveling solo. If you do decide to venture into this country, be prepared as there have been reports of women being assaulted. Avoid walking anywhere unaccompanied, especially at night.
So... How Safe Is Kenya Really?
Kenya, generally speaking, isn’t the safest destination in Africa. Although it is the most powerful economy of East Africa, you should be aware that petty theft and violent crime are a serious issue in this country. Merely walking or driving through Nairobi may have its severe dangers, so it would be best to have a guide with you at all times. You shouldn’t relax even during the day, as daylight robberies and muggings in the crowdest of places occur commonly, particularly in the CBD (Central Business District, Nairobi).
When it comes to violent crimes, robberies and muggings aren’t the only things to watch out for. There are carjackings and home invasions, burglaries with fatal consequences and they can occur any time, any place. Avoid walking around during night and always take a taxi or a bus if you can’t afford a taxi. Of course, as an experienced traveler, you know by now to avoid open displays of wealth and property, and flashing objects such as hi-tech equipment, mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players, etc. Kidnappings are also common in Nairobi, so keep an eye out for anyone, at any time.
Violence that ensued after the elections in 2008 is certainly adding to the altogether discouraging rise of crime, with thousands of unemployed and displaced Kenyans are turning to crime in order to make for a living on the other side of the law.
- Visas - Many countries do not need a visa to enter Kenya, while there are many that may enter Kenya without visa for stays shorter than 30 days, and others - shorter than 90 days. Visas can be purchased on entry at international airports. . If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Kenyan shilling is the official currency in Kenya. ATMs can be found in most medium-sized towns, so it may be wise to have a cash stash and a debit or credit card.
- Weather - Kenya has tropical climate along the coastline, with plenty of rainfall and higher temperatures throughout the year. Climate in other locations varies due to the size of this country.
- Airports - Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is an international airport in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It is located in the Embakasi suburb 15 km southeast of Nairobi's central business district,
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Kenya since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.