How Safe Is Nairobi for Travel?

Nairobi, Kenya
Safety Index:
42

Nairobi is a huge city located on the Nairobi River, with a population of three million people. It is considered one of the largest cities in Kenya and Africa.

The city was founded in 1899 as a swamp area, but grew very fast due to administration and tourism businesses. What tourists visit most are numerous churches, mosques, temples, such as the Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family, All Saints Cathedral, Ismaili Jamat Khana, and Jamia Mosque. They can also enjoy in a range of restaurants offering nyama choma, which is a local term for roasted meat.

Today, Nairobi is an active and modern city that tends to meet everyone’s taste.

Warnings & Dangers in Nairobi

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : HIGH

The capital city of Kenya is not a safe place to travel, especially if you are not vigilant enough. You can easily become pray of robbers, muggers or pickpockets. The city is generally safe during the daylight, however going to some parts at night alone is too risky. Be ready to protect yourself from violent robbery, car-jacking and kidnapping throughout Nairobi.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH

What you need to know when coming to Nairobi is that Matatus, the mini buses that people use to travel around the city are frequently stopped by criminals. If you decide to drive, be aware that Nairobi has bad traffic, due to the lack of road signs. Only use a licensed taxi which is the best way of getting around the city, since walking is not generally considered safe for foreigners.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Once in Nairobi, prepare yourself to encounter pickpockets everywhere, especially in public transport. Bag snatching is common and armed robbery occurs regularly. Even though travelers are rarely targeted, there have been reports about incidents of violent crime against foreigners.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

There are not too many dangers related to naturals disasters in Nairobi, but the rainy seasons might cause flooding can occur. Earthquakes are also possible in Nairobi. However, they are not too severe.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : HIGH

Violent crime is usually followed by kidnapping and mugging. Nairobi is a city where you can easily be kidnapped in order to give them money and valuables. You need to get familiar with the dangerous zones in order to know what to avoid. The kidnapping of westerners became more common in Kenya. Kidnapping is usually operated by the armed groups based in Somalia.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Even though, terrorism is a worldwide threat, Kenya has a moderate probability of a terrorist attack. The threat from extremists linked to Al Shabaab exists and a number of attacks in Kenya happened in recent years. The police are patrolling the city and it prevented numerous attacks. Usual targets are the places like churches and mosques.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

Unlike violent risks, scams risk almost does not exist in Nairobi. You may not encounter beggars, but there are some people who will try to talk to you, so as to distract your attention and steal something from you.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Women cannot feel completely safe in Nairobi since there were numerous reports of sexual assaults against women. High safety precautions are advisable and solo females should never walk through dangerous areas, especially at night.

So... How Safe Is Nairobi Really?

Nairobi is a city full of thieves and robbers. The level of overall crime is high, which thus leads to importance of being vigilant and practice common sense while in Nairobi.

The best advice for a tourist is to stay in the city center, not to carry large quantities of money while on the street, and do not accept help or drinks from strangers. Also, slums should be avoided and make sure that you do not need to walk alone after nightfall.

Police is doing its best to protect tourists, but still the level of crime does not decrease.

Useful Information

  • Visas - When traveling to Kenya, you need to obtain a visa. You should know that entry and exit requirement can change at short notice. A visa can be obtained on arrival at the airport, or before you travel. If the purpose of your coming is not tourism, you will need to apply for that type of visa at the nearest Kenyan High Commission or Embassy. There are certain nations that do not need to have a visa when coming to Kenya. All the information about it can be found on the Internet.
  • Currency - The Kenyan shilling is the official currency and the best advice is to exchange your money in reputable banks. ATMs are widely available but be aware that thieves operate around it. Credit card fraud is frequent, so it is better to use ATMs at large shopping centers.
  • Weather - Nairobi has two rainy seasons, from October to November and March to June, which is followed by severe flooding and mudslides. Nairobi has a subtropical highland climate, which includes the sunniest and warmest part of the year from December to March.
  • Airports - Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi belongs to the most frequently used airports in Kenya. Kenya Airways is the national airline and has international flights everywhere in the world.
  • Travel Insurance - A travel insurance policy is a need when traveling to Kenya since numerous accidents and incidents might happen to you. The level of crime makes it even more necessary due to the fact that theft and lost of possessions can never be predicted.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Nairobi Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 21° C
Feb 22° C
Mar 22° C
Apr 21° C
May 20° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 18° C
Aug 18° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 21° C
Nov 20° C
Dec 21° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
262727252423222225262425
Low
°C
161616161514131313151616
High
°F
798181777573727277797577
Low
°F
616161615957555555596161

Where to Next?

23 Reviews on Nairobi

  1. A
    Anonymous says:

    Not accurate at all and very negative!

    1. It is true..

      People in the center might feel like it’s safe..
      But go out at night in the neighborhoods as a white female and I am not envy of you and what might happen to you…….

    2. I mean, it is a negative review but quite true. Crime is prevalent all over the city. Best option walk in a group if you’re walking alone. Avoid crime hotspots. All crime aside, the city is fun and has a very vibrant nightlife scene!

  2. True

    Very true, you need to know where you’re going, don’t walk around at night and not alone in places without a lot of people.

  3. a
    anonymous says:

    not accurate/true at all. . . Nairobi is a city that has always attracted tourism due to the nature of the city, its people and the history it holds.

    1. The article is correct.

      You fail to understand statistics… Nairobi might not seem high in crime, but the crime it has per the population is quite high compared to other big cities, thus, the article is on point on their advice.

      1. W
        Withheld says:

        What statistics?? are you from Nairobi?? or you are one of those Fake writers born with self-hate. I can bet you are one of many Africans(not Kenyan of course) ready to smear mud on matters you know little about. State which big cities!?, crime per population??? Nairobi has 3 million people, less than cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Dareslaam, Addis Ababa.

        1. Your vitriol betrays your motive in your “review”.

  4. A
    Anonymous says:

    Lie

    This is absolute nonsense. Not accurate.

  5. Falsehood

    This WRITER needs to be condemned with the highest level of Falsehoods ever. Nairobi is generally safe, how is it full of thieves and robbers and yet hosts world organizations. Paris has pickpockets, Joburg, Cape town is crime infested with regular carjacking. This Article is pure NONSENSE.

  6. E
    Elizabeth says:

    Pure lies against our city

    Who is the writer? in fact, if I am to rate Nairobi city, its the best in the world, Kenya is the best place to live in the world, the writer is not a Kenyan or Africa his/her lies should be condemned in the highest order, we are not the way you have described.

  7. Surely you jest

    Nairobi city is “the best in the world”? Surely you jest. Or have never traveled anywhere outside of Africa.

    1. p
      patriot says:

      FALSE

      excuse me? you do not even live in africa. you shold not even be talking.

  8. Nairobi is safe… Matatus are not stopped by thugs… Contrary to the review it is not a bandit state.They have Uber, Bolt and Little Cab if you need to move around as a tourist. The tourist circuit in Nairobi is very secure… Any areas with insecurity are generally to the east of the city in Eastlands, far from the tourist beat, again these are generally safe if you’re with a local. Major international brands are available in Nairobi catering to a burgeoning middle class and a large expatriate community.

  9. Nairobi

    This is not a completely accurate review. The writer makes it seem like you can get jumped at any time. You are not at risk of getting mugged unless you visit a slum area but that is the same in all other cities I’ve been to. Also, avoid wearing flashy jewellery when in the CBD and be mindful of your phone. Also, avoid walking aimlessly at night or using public transport past 8pm, just use a cab and you’ll be okay.

  10. p
    patriot says:

    FALSE

    very true. if you do not live in nairobi then you shuold even be speaking. its a wonderful city with beautiful sceneries.i am saying all this because i know nairobi.the person who wrote that is just trying to ruin its name .you cant just judge a city you have not been to.ITS ONLY IF YOU ARE CARELESS OR NOT ATTENTIVE THAT ANY OF THOSE MAY HAPPEN TO YOU.

  11. D
    DO NOT BE MISLEAD. says:

    My girlfriend who lives in Kenya says it’s a dangerous city that’s right a local tells me that this is a place not safe. As they said in the artical it’s not safe in the night she carries large stones in a handbag when she is in the city where you will not be jumped straight off the plane but you will be eventually mugged even she says that it’s a city of thieves people who have had a good expierance your lucky. That’s all it is sheer damn luck. The writer is accredited by my books if a local 37 year old never left her country is saying this then you should probably listen she has had more expierance then you dafty fools. It’s virtually as bad as America.

    1. r
      realist says:

      Inconsequential and full of Lies.

      “My girlfriend who lives in kenya” by that statement I can tell where your from!Its not rocket science to comprehend who you are,your species is every where in every country in Africa and world wide.Its sad how you trying to bring other cities down,cz u know your entire Country is in a disarray.Anyway,I wonder why your “girlfriend”carries stones in her handbag?that’s so primitive n depicts your Country’s culture.Nairobi receives more visitors every year,check the stats.n I drive around Nairobi at night,n I can tell you its buzzing big time.

  12. A
    Anonymous says:

    Not accurate

    No place is perfect but it doesn’t mean you tell lies. Nairobi is a safe and friendly city. It has it’s bad side just like any other big city but it’s the best place to live

  13. B
    Born and bred says:

    Karibu!

    Nairobi is as safe or as dangerous as any other big city. You have to be careful if you don’t know your way around. I would advise going out at night if you are a woman. It would be sad to avoid visiting magical Nairobi and its diversity because of some negative reports. Come and enjoy and experience life.

  14. B
    Born and bred says:

    Karibu!

    Oops I should have written I advise NOT going out at night if you are a woman!

    1. Y
      Yule Msee. says:

      Wamlambez.

      Budaboss pia wewe ni fothogari sana,(you are useless).women in nairobi go out at night especially in night clubs.Most Nightclubs in Nairobi and Kenya in general are mostly frequented by women.Majority use Uber,bolt and others drive their own cars.Unless you dont party at all.Magical kenya has a lot to offer in terms of touristic sites and destinations.The night life is basically partying,wine and dine;as like any big cities in the world.

  15. Scary as a white female

    As an American white female visiting the city for work I was afraid to walk alone in some places. seeing groups of black men looking at me and shouting between themselves was very scary.

    I would not recommend going there for women.

Rated 3.61 / 5 based on 23 user reviews.

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