Kenya is statistically quite safe compared to many other African countries. However, there are certain high-risk areas for travel in various parts of the country.
The majority of visitors to Kenya enjoy their trips and do not encounter any incident that puts their safety at risk. As is the case with traveling to any destination around the world, it is important to stay vigilant, use common sense, and avoid potentially dangerous situations.
This guide outlines the risks present in certain areas of Kenya and the steps that can be taken to avoid incidents and enjoy a safe and pleasant experience while visiting the African state.
Advice for Avoiding Risks in Kenya
The best advice when visiting Kenya is simply to avoid high risk travel areas. By sticking to places that are frequented by other travelers and considered safe, visitors are unlikely to encounter any problems.
Foreigners who find themselves in locations that carry a potential risk to their safety are advised to leave as soon as possible. While in the area of risk, the following advice should be adhered to:
- Stay alert
- Do not travel at night
- If traveling with a guide, follow their instructions
- Keep a low profile
- Do not engage in political conversations with locals
- Keep valuables out of sight (or simply do not bring any)
How Safe Is Kenya?
Kenya is growing in popularity as a tourist destination and with the introduction of the Kenya online visa, it is now easier than ever to visit the country.
The tourism industry in Kenya is the third-largest in Africa and it continues to grow. Tourism provides over 1 million jobs throughout the country. For these reasons, safety in Kenya for tourists is a top priority, which reduces the risk factor for visitors.
It is generally advised to avoid travel to high risk areas, such as those affected by crime and conflict. Fortunately, the most popular destinations, such as Nairobi, Mombasa, and the national parks and safari hotspots are generally considered safe.
What Areas Are Considered High Risk for Travel in Kenya?
There are several high-risk travel areas in Kenya, including border regions with Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia. It is advisable to avoid these regions due to conflict between local clans and other armed groups, as well as incidents of kidnapping and banditry.
High-risk areas to travel include:
- The counties of Mandera, Garissa, and Wajir, in the North-East
- The road between Kainuk and Lodwar in Turkana County
- The coastal region that includes the counties of Tana River and Lamu, and all areas of Kilifi County north of Malindi.
- Baringo county
While major cities like Nairobi and Mombasa are generally safe for international visitors, particularly in the centers, certain neighborhoods and slum districts experience high levels of crime and are best avoided. These include:
- Eastleigh, Nairobi
- Kibera, Kasarani, and Mathare (slum districts of Nairobi)
- The Old Town of Fort Jesus, Mombasa (in particular, it is recommended not to walk here at night)
Is There a High Risk of Malaria in Kenya?
Malaria is prevalent throughout the year in most parts of Kenya.
The risk is relatively high, apart from in the following regions, which are considered fairly safe and may not warrant the use of antimalarial tablets:
- Nairobi and the surrounding area
- High-altitude regions (above 2500 m above sea level) of the Central, Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western Provinces.
All other areas of Kenya are considered to be high risk for Malaria. However, the chances of catching malaria can be reduced by taking precautions, such as the following:
- Wear long sleeves and trousers to cover skin
- Use insect repellent
- Sleep under a mosquito net (if possible)
- Take antimalarial medication (check with your doctor beforehand)
In order to avoid other diseases, travelers should make sure they are up to date with all the vaccinations required for Kenya before arriving in the country.
Avoiding Risks on Safari in Kenya
Another potential source of risk in Kenya comes from its wildlife. While insects can be kept away with repellent and clothing that covers the skin, larger animals can pose a threat in certain situations.
However, incidents involving wildlife attacking tourists are very rare.
In order to stay safe when exploring rural areas or going on safari in Kenya, it is important to follow these basic precautions:
- Avoid exploring the wilderness alone.
- Do not approach wild animals.
- Stay quiet in the presence of animals so as not to startle them.
- Follow the instructions of your guide when on safari.
- Do not leave the vehicle unless instructed to do so by the guide.
- Stay alert and be aware of the surroundings.
International travelers who wish to visit can complete a Kenya e-Visa application online, which takes a matter of minutes to complete and avoids the need to go through the longer process of applying at an embassy.Obtain a Kenya eVisa