Kenya is one of the safest tourist destinations in Africa and the world. This is because more than 80 percent of the country is safe and free from any serious security threats. This is the area where the main tourism circuits are located.
The region with an increased security risk runs along the Kenya-Somalia border owing to the dysfunctional nature of government in the neighboring country. However, the potential danger has largely been contained through increased ground and aerial border patrols. Thorough security checks in all airports and other ports of entry have also made Kenya less likely to attract terror attacks.
It is worth noting that the Kenya security services take the potential danger of attack seriously. But this is not unique to Kenya. Other countries, including the U.S., are also potential targets of global terrorist attacks. This is not a reason to live in fear.

But, what is the security status for tourists visiting Kenya?
When the U.S. Department of State issued a travel advisory against Kenya in March, it warned its citizens about an increased risk of insecurity in some areas of the country. The intention of such an advisory is to raise awareness of the citizens who are planning to visit, so that they can take precaution by avoiding areas perceived to have an increased security risk. This is as it should be. (1)

Global Peace Index Ranking
The Global Peace Index places Kenya, with a peace index of 2.254 at position 116 out of 163 countries. On the same list, Iceland is ranked the most peaceful with an index of 1.1, while Afghanistan is ranked last with an index of 3.631. This indicates that Kenya has an average security status. In fact, Kenya is in the same peace index range as countries like Morocco with an index of 2.015, Thailand with an index of 2.205, Mauritania with index of 2.29, and the United States with an index of 2.337. (2) It is worth noting that as paradoxical as it may sound, a resident of the United States will enjoy more relative peace when in Kenya than at home in the U.S.
On the Travel Risk Map, Kenya is listed in the medium risk category. Other countries in this category include Cameroon, Bahrain, Belize, Brazil, Tunisia, South Africa, Tanzania, Myanmar, and Trinidad and Tobago. By contrast, countries like Egypt, Mali, Nigeria, Mauritius, Burkina Faso and Mauritania are in the extreme and high risk categories. (3)
If the question how safe is it to visit Kenya, is still on your mind, the listings above should provide you with fact-backed answers.

Why Travel to Kenya?

Compared to other tourist destinations in Africa, Kenya is one of the safest and most interesting places you can visit. It boasts of a varied recipe of places, activities and animals. From the 426-year Fort Jesus on the edge of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa; through the savannah, home to lions, elephants, giraffes, zebra and other game, to the Nairobi National Park bordering the capital city, and on to the Great Rift Valley; the snow-capped Mount Kenya, and countless wildlife conservancies… You would be spoiled for choice.
And when you visit Kenya, you can choose to stay in a 5-star hotel such as Villa Rosa Kempinski, Hilton Garden Hotel, and Serena Hotel in Nairobi; Hotel English Point, Sarova White Sands Hotel and Serena Beach Resort in Mombasa. There are also other smaller hotels, cottages, lodges and camps spread across the country in the different tourism circuits.
And while at it, enjoy game drives; have a taste of local foods such as nyama choma and ugali; and experience local culture.
It is no wonder that Kenya is one of the leading travel destinations for American tourists.

How to minimize risk of insecurity when visiting Kenya
Is there a part of your city or town that you avoid especially at night? Such places are always present whether you are at home in the United Sates or on an African Safari in Kenya. The good thing is that you can avoid such dangerous spots when you observe basic security measures. Following are some guidelines on how to minimize the risk of insecurity when visiting Kenya:

  • Avoid Kenya – Somalia Border

Most cases of serious insecurity happen in the region along the eastern border of Kenya with Somalia. As you are probably aware, Somalia is one of the most insecure places on Earth. Kenya, besides other neighboring countries, has some military presence as part of the UN’s peace-keeping mission in Somalia. And, while Kenya’s military presence in Somalia was necessitated by cross border incursions by terrorists from Somalia, some level of cross-border terrorist attacks can still occur. Such attacks are, however, very rare and far apart. There is also some security challenge in Lamu County in the north coast bordering Somalia. You should also exercise caution if you choose to travel to the northern region of Kenya as along the border with Ethiopia.

  • Avoid deserted dark allies at night

Unless you know for sure that it is safe to be in a particular deserted part of town at night, you will keep off of it. The same is true about Kenya and every other location unless you are keen on a practical test on just how safe it is to visit Kenya.

  • Engage a tour guide

Are you thinking of a DIY tour of Kenya? You probably could, in which case you should be well aware of your surroundings and avoid suspicious looking places especially at night. However, it is advisable to hire an experienced professional tour guide. A tour guide will make your visit to Kenya more worthwhile. And because they are conversant with the general security status, a tour guide will help keep you safe.

  • Beware of your surroundings

This is especialy true if you are visiting Kenya for the first time and without using a travel consultant. Kenyans are generally friendly and helpful. However, there is always a rotten seed in every bag.
Areas of special interests include Nairobi slums such as Kibera and Mathare, and Mombasa Old Town. If you use a bus or train within the cities or outward, beware of your surroundings. Avoid carrying too much cash on you, and keep your wallet away from open view whenever possible. There is always potential danger of bag snatching and pickpocketing. However, mugging and violent robbery are rare especially during the day.

  • Use Designated Taxicab Service

If you are a DIY traveller and need a cab to move around town, don’t hop onto a random taxicab. Instead, use a major taxicab service such as Uber, PTG, Bolt and Little Cabs. This is important because some unscrupulous individuals may pose as taxicab operators and end up robbing you off your money and other valuables.

Again, how safe is it to visit Kenya?

Yes. It is safe to visit Kenya for both short and long stays. Consider that more than 80 percent of the country faces a negligible threat of serious insecurity. This is the part of Kenya containing most of the breathtaking landscapes, wildlife, best hotels, lodges, camps and other hospitality facilities.

2 Comments

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    • Hanif Mohamed Reply

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