When going on an adventure to the captivating land of Kenya, you need to be well-informed and prepared. In this guide, we’ll unveil 11 things to know before traveling to Kenya, serving as your compass through this East African destination. From wildlife safaris to cultural experiences, navigating crime concerns to savoring local cuisine, our Kenya travel advice will ensure your journey is unforgettable, safe, and enriching.
Kenya Travel Advice For Tourists 11 Things To Know
1. Crime Rates
Kenya, like many countries, faces challenges related to crime. While it’s important not to be overly paranoid, travelers should exercise caution, especially in major cities and certain regions. Keep valuables out of sight, carry only the necessary cash for the day, and avoid walking alone at night. Nairobi, the capital, has crime hotspots, including slums like Kibera.
Be cautious in areas like Eastleigh due to terrorism-related incidents. Violent crimes have occurred in various Nairobi suburbs, and River Road is best avoided day and night. Bag snatching is common around transport hubs.
2. Health and Vaccinations
Before visiting Kenya, it’s vital to ensure your health is protected. Check with your healthcare provider for recommended vaccinations, including yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and routine shots.
Malaria is a concern, so prophylactics are often advised. Travelers should also be cautious about food and water hygiene. Stick to bottled water, and avoid consuming raw or undercooked food to prevent stomach ailments.
3. Political Stability
Kenya’s political sector has experienced turbulence in the past. It is advisable that as a tourist, you must stay informed about current political developments and exercise discretion during political gatherings or demonstrations. While most tourists don’t face direct political risks, staying updated is prudent.
4. Avoid These Borders and High-Risk Areas
Certain regions and border areas in Kenya pose elevated risks to travelers due to various factors, including border disputes and security concerns. Avoiding the borders with Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia is advisable.
Also, stay clear of areas within 50 km of the coast of Tana River County and Kilifi County (north of Malindi to the Tana River County limits). Several neighborhoods in Nairobi have experienced increased banditry, and it’s wise to maintain curfews in places like Baringo, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Laikipia, Samburu, Turkana, West Pokot, and Shakahola (Malindi).
5. Regular Power Outages
Kenya experiences occasional power outages, disrupting daily life and travel plans. These outages may affect access to electricity for charging devices and the functioning of essential services like hotels and transportation.
Travelers should be prepared by carrying portable chargers and backup power sources, and you need to check with accommodations about their power backup arrangements to minimize inconvenience during outages.
6. Not For LGBTQ+ Travelers
While Kenya has made progress in some areas, it’s important to note that it does not embrace LGBTQ+ rights. Homosexuality is criminalized in Kenya, and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals is a concern.
Travelers who identify as LGBTQ+ should exercise discretion and avoid public displays of affection. Connecting with local LGBTQ+ support groups or seeking advice from the LGBTQ+ community within Kenya can provide additional guidance and insight into navigating the local landscape.
7. Local Laws and Customs
Understanding and respecting local laws and customs is crucial when visiting Kenya. Kenya has a diverse population with various ethnic groups, each with its traditions and customs. Also, Kenya has strict anti-drug laws, and possession or trafficking of illegal substances can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment.
8. Natural Disasters
Kenya is susceptible to natural disasters, including droughts, floods, and occasional earthquakes. While these events are relatively rare, travelers must be aware of the local conditions and monitor weather reports, especially during the rainy seasons. Flooding can disrupt travel plans, so staying informed and flexible with your itinerary is advisable.
9. Wildlife Encounters
One of Kenya’s major attractions is its incredible wildlife, including the “Big Five” – lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinoceroses. However, encounters with wild animals can be dangerous if not handled cautiously.
When on safari or visiting national parks, you need to follow the guidance of experienced guides and stay inside designated vehicles or viewing areas. Never approach or provoke wild animals, as they can be unpredictable and pose significant risks.
Travelers should be vigilant against various forms of fraud in Kenya. Criminals have been known to impersonate police officers, hotel staff, or government officials to gain access to personal information or belongings.
We advise that you verify the identity of anyone requesting personal information or entry to your accommodations. Keep your passport, valuables, and important documents secure, preferably in a hotel safe. Be cautious when sharing personal information with strangers, especially over the phone or online.
11. Spiked Food and Drinks
In some areas, travelers have reported instances of spiked food and drinks. To ensure your safety, never leave your food or drinks unattended, and avoid accepting beverages or snacks from strangers.
Be cautious when frequenting bars or clubs, and always watch your drink being prepared and served. If you suspect that your food or drink has been tampered with, it’s advisable to seek medical attention immediately.
Travel Tips For Tourists In Kenya
- Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or valuables in public.
- Stay away from walking at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
- Do not engage in political discussions or gatherings.
- Avoid leaving drinks or food unattended in bars or clubs.
- Don’t accept unsolicited assistance from strangers.
- Avoid public displays of affection, especially for LGBTQ+ travelers.
- Do not approach or provoke wild animals during safaris.
- Avoid consuming raw or undercooked food and tap water.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash; use ATMs or traveler’s checks.
- Avoid border areas with Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.
- Make sure to leave important documents or passports secured.
- Avoid participating in illegal drug activities.
- Be aware of local customs and traditions.
- Avoid traveling without comprehensive travel insurance.
- Don’t disregard local laws and regulations.
Going on a journey to Kenya demands preparation and awareness. This guide has revealed 11 crucial aspects to consider. From wildlife safaris to cultural immersion, vigilance against crime, and respect for local customs, our Kenya travel advice ensures a memorable and safe journey. Be cautious of crime, health precautions, political stability, and high-risk areas. Brace for occasional power outages, and exercise discretion as an LGBTQ+ traveler. Respect local laws, prepare for natural disasters, and approach wildlife encounters carefully.
- Government of Canada Kenya Travel Advice
- Government of United Kingdom Kenya Travel Advice
- Government of United States of America Kenya Travel Advisory