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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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.
- 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.