Kenya

Kenya

Use High Level of Caution
Avoid Travel to the following municipalities: Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Tana River, Kilifi, Lamu, and Mombasa

The Republic of Kenya is located in eastern Africa between Somalia and Tanzania and bordering on the Indian Ocean. The population is about 40 million. The country shares Lake Victoria with Tanzania and Uganda.

Kenya's government is a republic with a president as chief of state and head of government. There is a prime minister whose main function is to coordinate government business.

Until recent elections, Kenya was one of the few countries in East Africa with a long record of political stability even with political system changes and with crises happening in neighbouring countries. Kenya has even led peace negotiations in Somalia and Sudan and has participated in UN peacekeeping missions worldwide. Kenya is a developing country and many still live in poverty and have a poor quality of life.

Tourism is important to Kenya's economy. The country is known for its scenery, beaches, game reserves, parks and wildlife, and safaris. Kenya is also known as being the cradle of mankind since it is believed that the remains of the earliest man were found in this country.

Currency KES: Kenyan shilling
Language Swahili and English
Capital Nairobi
Recent Alerts 9
Latest Alert December 11, 2019 - JKIA, Wilson Airport Closed on 12 December - Kenya

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Kenya. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

All areas (including wildlife reserves and parks) of Kenya at altitudes below 2,500 meters (<8,202 ft) are at risk for malaria. There is no risk in Nairobi and in the highlands above 2,500 meters in the provinces of Central, Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Western.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Kenya through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Kenya.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Kenya, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Meningitis

Outbreaks of meningitis may occur in Kenya usually during the dry season from December through June.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in Kenya.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreaks occur in Kenya, and the risk to travellers is significant.

Tuberculosis

Travellers to Kenya are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Sleeping Sickness (Type 2)

This disease occurs in Kenya. High-risk areas are Nyanza Province, Western Province, and southwestern Rift Valley Province. Travellers to urban areas are not at risk.

Schistosomiasis

The parasite that causes schistosomiasis is found in Kenya. It is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Cholera

Cholera may occur in Kenya.

Zika Fever

Zika fever has occurred in Kenya.

African Tick Bite Fever

This disease occurs in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Kenya.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through the consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where water and food sources may be contaminated.

Meningitis Vaccine

Because this country is located in the sub-Saharan meningitis belt, vaccination against meningitis is recommended if travelling during the dry season (December to June) in northwest Kenya.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. The yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers aged 9 months and older, except as follows. Generally not recommended for travellers whose itineraries are limited to the following areas: the entire North Eastern Province; the states of Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Malindi, and Tanariver in the Coastal Province; and the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions. The U.S. CDC recommends the cholera vaccine for travellers who are 18-64 years of age and who plan to travel to areas of active cholera transmission. CDC notes that most travellers do not travel to areas of active cholera transmission, and that safe food and water practices can prevent many cholera infections.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Kenya.

Anti-malarial Drugs

With the exception of Nairobi and highlands above 2,500 meters, there is a risk of exposure to malaria throughout Kenya. Recommended anti-malaria medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Resistance to chloroquine has been reported.

Safety and Security in Kenya

Emergency Numbers

999
+254 20 800100 Kenya Tourism Federation (safety and communications centre)

The emergency services may be unresponsive and unreliable. Go to the nearest police station or hospital if faced with an emergency.

Personal Safety

There is a high incidence of crime throughout most of Kenya, especially at coastal beach resorts, and in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu. Travellers should remain aware of their surroundings at all times, avoid venturing away from tourist areas, and refrain from travelling after dark.

Petty crime occurs often in major towns and in coastal beach resorts. Thieves may impersonate police officers, hotel employees, and government officials. Travellers should ask for identification if approached. Always keep personal belongings in a safe, and always keep doors locked. Avoid wearing expensive clothing and jewelry. Credit cards and cheques are often stolen.

Violent crime has been occurring more frequently in Nairobi, including carjackings, armed robbery, kidnappings, and burglaries. These crimes usually increase around the Christmas holidays.

Carjackings often occur when traveling to and from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Nairobi. Travellers should use transportation organized by tour companies or well-marked taxis when arriving at JKIA. Do not exchange currency in the public areas of the airport. Store valuables in locked suitcases and carry-on luggage as items are often stolen out of checked luggage.

Although main road conditions are good, road travel may be dangerous due to poor road conditions, poorly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. Exercise extreme caution in rural areas where roads may be unpaved and unlit at night. Avoid travelling after dark. During the rainy season, some roads may be impassable due to flooding. There have been reports of cars being attacked while travelling in game parks and reserves and on main roads to bordering countries.

Avoid using public transportation, including ferries, due to poor safety standards.

Women travelling on their own should be highly vigilant due to the high incidence of sexual assaults, including those against foreigners.

Foreigners considering volunteer work in Kenya should ensure the non-governmental organization they plan to work with is legitimate. Volunteers in Kenya are sometimes mistreated and stranded by illegitimate NGOs.

Always carry a copy of your passport and visa when travelling in Kenya. You may be asked for identification by police officers.

It is illegal to use or import plastic bags and offenders can face fines. Smoking in public places is also illegal. Do not take photos of military or government installations and airports.

All travelers to Kenya are advised to dress and behave conservatively, especially in the coastal region where there is a very large Muslim population. Travellers should take note of whether they will be travelling during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. During this time, respect the religious practices of the country and avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset.

The rainy seasons in Kenya are between October-November and late March-mid June. Flooding, landslides, major damage to infrastructure and disruption to travel plans may result. Severe droughts may also occur in Kenya. Monitor local weather reports closely and stay informed of local evacuation plans.

LGBTI travellers should note that same-sex behaviours and same-sex marriage are illegal in Kenya, and LGBTI people face severe social discrimination.

In August 2019 seven people visiting Hell's Gate National Park were trapped and died in one of the gorges when flash flooding swept through the area. The gorges are prone to flooding. The Kenya Wildlife Service stated tourists are usually accompanied by experienced guides trained to detect storm water flowing down towards the gorge. Ensure you have an experienced guide, and consider avoiding this area during the rainy season.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid travelling to areas bordering Somalia, including Garissa, Mandera, Wajir, and Lamu, due to a high risk of kidnapping and extreme violence. The border with Somalia is closed but gang violence, ethnic disputes, military, and police presence and frequent roadblocks make this region unsafe.

Avoid travelling to areas bordering Sudan and Ethiopia due to a high risk of terrorism, kidnapping, and violence.

Avoid travelling to Mombasa, Tana River and the coastal areas of Kilifi due to the high risk of violence and terrorism.

Exercise extreme caution in the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi due to a very high crime rate.

Violence is regularly reported from the Mount Elgon area of western Kenya due to armed conflict.

Extreme Violence

There is an increased and ongoing risk of terrorist attacks, kidnappings, and crime throughout Kenya, including Nairobi and the resort areas around Mombasa and Malindi, the towns of Narok, Naivasha, Nanyuki, and Meru. Terrorist attacks and kidnappings could target foreign travellers and areas frequented by foreigners, including restaurants and bars, hotels, markets, and shopping areas, transportation, and religious sites. Aid workers should ensure there are adequate security plans in place. Be highly vigilant and cautious at all times. Multiple kidnappings of Westerners have occurred in Kenya.

Political Unrest

Civil unrest, confrontations and attacks over ethnicity, land ownership and access to water can occur in rural regions of Kenya, such as Massai territory and the Eastern and Central province and in northern Kenya during severe droughts.

Demonstrations and political gatherings sometimes occur. These should be avoided as they can turn violent with little warning.

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