Is Kenya safe for visitors? Or how to stay safe in Kenya - we always get people asking us to prove to them how safe is Kenya for a visitor, and on this site we are happy to answer this question once and for all.
Kenya had an uncharacteristic bout of inter tribal violence in January 2008 after a disputed presidential election. Things have now quieted down and the country is considered safe for travelers, but the situation remains somewhat on edge, so follow local news carefully.
Stay alert when walking or driving through Nairobi. You should be careful always to be aware of your surroundings and, if possible, ensure that you have a guide with you.
Even daylight muggings on crowded streets are not uncommon. Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjacking and home invasions/burglaries, can occur at any time and in any location, particularly in Nairobi.
Particularly avoid walking after dark. Take a taxi if you can afford it or a bus if you can not. Avoid ostentatious displays of wealth and property, particularly tempting objects such as cameras, mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players, etc.
The bus from the airport to downtown is a notorious target for pickpockets If you are unlucky and get mugged, a good tactic is to wave your arms and start screaming at the would-be mugger. Confrontations with armed robbers, however, should be avoided – in this instance, remember that your possessions are far less important than your life.
Most criminals in Nairobi are more interested in a quick grab and dash than they are in a prolonged encounter. Since robbery is frequently punished by lengthy prison terms or even death, most muggers can be dissuaded by a good show of force. It is perfectly possible to see much of Nairobi without incident if you take sensible precautions.
The north of the country has a reputation for lawlessness, becoming more dangerous the closer you get to the Sudanese, Ethiopian and Somali borders. Armed robberies and abductions by shiftas (bandits) on the roads in these areas are frequent.
Avoid travelling to this part of the country if possible, and take special precautions if travelling by road. Armed convoys are normal for this part of the country. Visitors to Lake Turkana (indicated on the map as Lake Rudolf) in the northwest and Lamu in the northern end of the coast should travel there by air.
Lodwar, Lokichokio ('Loki') and Moyale are towns best avoided by the casual traveller, unless you have business with the humanitarian organisations based there.