Safety in Kenya for tourists

safety in kenya

Kenya has much to offer and has become a world-renowned destination for safaris, beach holidays, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and sports. Yet, visitors who worry about safety abroad may find themselves in the need of travel advisories for Kenya.

Kenya tourism is on the rise. Since the implementation of the Kenya online visa, more and more foreigners apply online for a Kenyan visa every year in order to visit the country’s national parks and beaches. The number of international tourists traveling to Kenya reached 1.5 million in 2013 and has been growing steadily ever since.

If you’re considering joining them and you’re wondering about safety, by reading this article you’ll learn about:

  • Kenya crime and terrorism
  • Safety for tourists in Kenya
  • Kenya travel advice

Crime and Terrorism in Kenya

Kenya presents an overall higher crime rate than most Western countries. Theft, robbery, and vandalism are some of the greatest safety worries for Kenyan people, while physical and verbal attacks are more moderate.

Of course, some specific areas are noticeably more affected than others and it’s important to be aware of them in order to minimize risks.

Sporadic terrorist attacks have occurred in the country, mostly at the hands of Islamic fundamentalist groups from Somalia.

Kenyan Areas Most Affected by Crime

Areas at high risk of crime include:

  • Baringo County
  • The Eastleigh neighborhood in Nairobi
  • Informal settlement communities such as Kasarani, Kibera, and Mathare in Nairobi
  • The Old Town of Fort Jesus in Mombasa, especially at night
  • Areas around and inside international airports

Areas with a higher risk of terrorism and violence include:

  • Regions bordering Somalia
  • Areas within 100km of South Sudan
  • Areas within 100km of Ethiopia

Is Kenya Dangerous for Tourists?

As most travelers visit national parks and reserves, famous beaches and other popular spots, the great majority of tourists remain unaffected by crime in Kenya. Violence and more serious crimes are usually committed in areas free of tourists.

Of course, pickpocketing, robbery, and car theft are common in heavily populated areas and crowded tourist spots. The same goes for airports and bus stations. Common sense and the same precautions adopted in all major cities around the world should keep risks to a minimum.

Some regions may see a spike in crime rates specifically during the tourist season. That’s the case for some seaside destinations, where break-ins have been reported in hotels and other beachfront accommodations.

Kenya Travel Safety Advice

There are many measures that you can take in order to protect yourself during your Kenyan holiday.

If you make sure to follow common sense and your government’s Kenya travel advisory and are cautious throughout your holiday, you’ll lower potential safety risks and feel safe. Parents can also feel comfortable visiting Kenya with children if they take measures to ensure their safety.

Leaving the hotel room. When you leave your Kenya’s accommodation, always remember to lock the door properly and put a “do not disturb” sign out if you can. If possible, it’s preferable to leave your valuables in safekeeping facilities.

On the road. If you are driving through Kenya, be especially careful when stopping at traffic lights. That’s where most car thefts — and even kidnappings — occur. Keep your doors locked and your windows up at all times — even when someone approaches your car and asks for your help. Avoid placing your bag on the passenger seat or clearly displayed elsewhere in the car.

In the streets. Crowded places provide the ideal environment for pickpocketing and robberies. Try not to show valuables like jewelry, photocameras, smartphones, etc. and never bring large sums of money with you.

On a night out. Walking alone at night — particularly in isolated areas — should be avoided as much as possible. If you’re spending time in a bar or club, never accept drinks from strangers and keep your glass and plate on sight at all times to lower the risk of spiked drinks and foods.