Kenya had an uncharacteristic bout of post-election violence in January 2008 after a disputed presidential election result. Things have now quieted down and the country is considered safe for travelers, but the situation remains somewhat on edge, so follow local news carefully.

The saying "Nairobbery" was invented for a reason. Stay alert when walking or driving through Nairobi. You should be careful always to be aware of your surroundings and, if possible, ensure that you have a guide with you. Even daylight muggings on crowded streets are not uncommon, particularly in the CBD where it is easier for a thief to slip into the crowd. Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings and home invasions/burglaries, can occur at any time and in any location, particularly in Nairobi. Avoid walking after dark. Take a taxi if you can afford it, or a matatu bus if you can not. Uber and EasyTaxi are safe taxi options for Nairobi and Google Maps now lists the matatu routes.

Avoid ostentatious displays of wealth and property, particularly tempting objects such as cameras, mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players, etc. The bus from the airport to downtown is a notorious target for pickpockets

If you are unlucky and get mugged, a good tactic is to wave your arms and start screaming at the would-be mugger. Confrontations with armed robbers, however, should be avoided – in this instance, remember that your possessions are far less important than your life. Most criminals in Nairobi are more interested in a quick grab and dash than they are in a prolonged encounter. Since robbery is frequently punished by lengthy prison terms or even death, most muggers can be dissuaded by a good show of force. It is perfectly possible to see much of Nairobi without incident if you take sensible precautions.

If you look Kenyan, then be aware of the bait-and-switch approach used by some muggers, where they loudly insist you have stolen their phone and then take yours. However, this will never be attempted on anyone who looks obviously foreign i.e. white or asian people, as the police will immediately assume the foreigner is innocent.

A few easy things to do to increase your level of protection:

Never look lost or unsure

Don't take valuables out of your bag in public

After dark, if you are walking, check your shadows to ensure you are not being followed

Always keep a hand on your bag, or better yet use a money belt

Avoid walking alone at dark

Should any attempts be made on your possessions, do not resist

Try to take taxis from designated ranks or use an app like Uber or EasyTaxi to request one


The north of the country has a reputation for lawlessness, becoming more dangerous the closer you get to the South Sudanese, Ethiopian and Somali borders. Armed robberies and abductions by shiftas bandits on the roads in these areas are frequent. Avoid travelling to this part of the country if possible, and take special precautions if travelling by road. Armed convoys are normal for this part of the country. Visitors to Lake Turkana indicated on the map as Lake Rudolf in the northwest and Lamu in the northern end of the coast should travel there by air. Lodwar, Lokichokio 'Loki' and Moyale are towns best avoided by the casual traveller, unless you have business with the humanitarian organizations based there.

Due to the high rate of HIV/AIDS and the large number of people that consider themselves strict Christians, prostitution is illegal. Punishments for tourists are severe if caught, especially if it's with a minor. But it is a MAJOR problem, due to the high poverty rate and Kenya is a popular place for sex tourism.

Dealing with Police

Keep in mind that as Kenya is a developing nation, government remuneration for public services is extremely poor. As such the police are severely underfunded and frequently seek out bribes to earn a more liveable income. Rarely will police harass foreigners in the street or charge them falsely. The most common reasons foreigners end up at the police station are genuine, most often traffic related offences such as seatbelts or wrong turns. In recent years however, officers have also been known to arrest those who are not carrying their original passport - normally a copy of the ID page and your Kenyan visa page along with a government-issued ID should suffice. If you do have your passport, it is common for an officer to take up to 5 minutes meticulously going through each page to find fault or incite paranoia.

If you are pulled aside by an officer for something seemingly petty, there is a high chance they are simply seeking a bribe and do not intend to arrest you. Do not appear anxious but instead remain calm, assertive and speak as few words as possible. Kenyans typically pay police bribes of 200-500 KSh for traffic violations while foreigners have been asked for 5,000 Ksh about $50 USD or more. If this does happen and you wish to pay you can attempt to barter to a lower amount 1,000 - 2,000 Ksh. It is not advisable to offer a bribe immediately, instead treat it as a very last resort.

If you need to deal with the police because you are a victim of a crime, understand that the system is in fact somewhat functional, though the process will be slow and tedious. There is generally no justice delivered for minor crimes such as theft, and obtaining a report for insurance purposes can be an arduous process. Some stations may need you to provide them with pen and paper or pay for transport costs for the officers. It is also not unheard of for police officers to seek bribes for helping you or giving you priority in their often overwhelming workload.

Protect yourself from mosquitoes, as they carry numerous diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever. Get expert advice on malaria preventatives. Guard against mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and long trousers and apply an effective insect repellent, for example, one containing DEET. If travelling to other East African countries, you should have a yellow fever vaccination so as to prevent complications and paying bribes at the border. These can be administered at an affordable price at most reliable Nairobi clinics and hospitals. The US "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" also have recommendations for vaccines and staying healthy when travelling in Kenya.

Malaria prophylactics, taken as pills during the trip, can be highly effective. Consult your physician. The prophylactics most commonly used in this region are doxycycline an antibiotic and malarone a combination of atovaquone and proguanil, also sold locally as malanil. Chloroquine is not as useful because of the high incidence of resistance. Mefloquine, also known as lariam, mefliam, and mephaquin, is associated with various side effects, including a high incidence of mood disturbances and a lower risk of severe neurological disturbance.

If you get flu-like symptoms, including fever, consult a doctor immediately. If no doctor is available, take a treatment dose of an appropriate anti-malarial and go immediately to a hospital. While the public hospitals are slightly cheaper, long waits and poor conditions and care at these facilities may make it worthwhile to go to a private clinic. Costs will vary, but a typical trip to the hospital for malaria testing, doctor's consultation, and medication will cost USD12-30 depending on the clinic. As malaria can become serious, a trip to the hospital is recommended at the first symptoms of malaria.

If you get such symptoms within twelve months of returning home, seek a doctor's advice very quickly and immediately tell him where you have been in the last year. Delayed treatment, even by just a few hours, can lead to permanent brain and liver damage or death.

Do not have unprotected sex as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are a risk. The country's Adult HIV Prevalence rate 15th in the world is over 6% or 1 in 16 adults. Voluntary Testing and Counselling VCT clinics offer free testing and counselling for HIV/AIDS.

Cholera is another danger. When in affected areas, see a doctor immediately and drink plenty of water.

Areas around Mt Elgon are suspected to be natural reservoirs for the lethal Ebola and Marburg viruses. Tourists should not disturb wildlife and should not enter caves. If you begin to experience flu-like symptoms, proceed to a hospital immediately.

All water should be treated, either by boiling or through purifying tablets or filters. This includes Nairobi as well as rural areas. Typhoid fever is a risk and, like malaria prophylactics, the vaccination is not 100% effective. All fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed. While eating from the roadside kiosks is part of the cultural experience that one should not miss, note that such places do not always have the highest sanitary conditions and stomach illnesses can result.

It's advisable to have travel and accident insurance.

Visas are not required for the following nationalities:The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize,Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cyprus, Dominica,Egypt,Eritrea, Ethiopia,Fiji, the Gambia, Grenada, Grenadines, Ghana, Jamaica,Kiribati,Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia*, Maldives,Mauritius,Namibia, Nauru,Papua New Guinea,Rwanda,Samoa,San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone,Singapore,South Africa*,Solomon Islands,St. Kitts and Nevis,St. Lucia,St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Swaziland,Tanzania,Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu,Uganda,Vanuatu,Zambia,Zimbabwe. Countries marked with a '*' are limited to 30 day visa-free stays; longer visits will require a visa.

Visas are available for purchase on entry at international airports and Borders for almost all nationalities. There is a separate line at immigration for those who require tourist visas. No photos are required, just cash for payment $50 or £30. Nationalities from the following countries are not eligible for visa on entry, and must apply beforehand:Afghanistan,Azerbaijan,Armenia,Cameroon,Iraq,Jordan,Kosovo,Lebanon,Mali,North Korea,Senegal,Somalia,Syria,Palestine,Tajikistan.

For citizens of other countries/territories, visas may be obtained through a Kenyan embassy/consulate prior to departure, valid for six months from the date of issue. The current costs for tourist visas are: USD20/€20/GBP10 transit, USD50/€40/GBP30 single-entry, and USD100 multiple entry. Unlike some countries' visas, the application for a Kenyan visa is short 1 page and not very detailed and will be returned in 10 days, except 12-16 days during the busy May-August season.If paying with US currency, ONLY bills printed AFTER 2006 will be accepted as payment as of January 2014. Check the dates on your currency before travelling.

If you require a visa to enter Kenya, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, High Commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Kenyan foreign mission. For example, the British embassies in Almaty (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Belgrade (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Budapest (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Guatemala City (http://ukinguatemala.fco....), Jakarta (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Prague (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Pristina (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Rabat (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Riga (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Sofia (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Tallinn (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Vienna (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...), Warsaw (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...) and Zagreb (http://www.ukba.homeoffic...) accept Kenyan visa applications this list is not exhaustive. British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a Kenyan visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Kenya require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Kenya can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.

A single-entry visa allows re-entry from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

there is also the East African 90 day visa which is good for Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda.the cost is $100.


English and Swahili are the two official languages. Generally, You can get by with English in the larger cities and when dealing with those connected to the tourism industry as well as middle to upper class Kenyans, but, outside of that, Swahili is nearly indispensable as most Kenyans have a nearly fluent comprehension of the language.

Tribal languages, such as Maa spoken by the Maasai, are commonplace in more remote areas. You will still usually be able to find a local who can speak Swahili — although in such areas a guide will be indispensable. Sheng a slang of English, Kiswahili and local languages is spoken mostly by urban youths.


Although Kenya is predominantly Christian and somewhat liberal, there are areas with major Muslim influence, such at the coastal regions, where it's considered indecent to wear short dresses. This is true in rural Christian areas as well.

Beachwear is acceptable on the beach but not while strolling around town. Even though some hotels allow topless or nude sunbathing, these are in restricted areas and not in public areas.

Kissing or heavy petting is frowned upon in public, even though Kenyan youth engage in both liberally in night clubs.



Internet cafés are common throughout Kenya and usually offer decent link quality. Expect prices of KES0.50-1.00/min depending on the locality of the cafe.


Safaricom or Airtel: after purchasing a starter SIM card you may access the net instantly, if you have a Internet-capable handset or a modem. However, when using your account balance to pay for access, the prices are steep. It is much cheaper to purchase a data bundle, and the more expensive ones offer much better price/limit ratio.

2G and 3G coverage is Pretty much guaranteed at least on the Safaricom network throughout major towns and cities while 4G is currently only available in Nairobi and Mombasa

You may purchase the bundles by charging your account with scratch top-up cards and then dialling *544#. Be warned that once the data bundle is finished the Internet access will be done by fallback method using you current account balance, which is much more expensive.


After purchasing a starter sim card you may access the net instantly, if you have a internet-capable handset or a modem. however, when using your account balance to pay for access, the prices are steep. it is much cheaper to purchase a data bundle, and the more expensive ones offer much better price/limit ratio.


After purchasing a starter sim card you may access the net instantly, if you have a internet-capable handset or a modem. however, when using your account balance to pay for access, the prices are steep. it is much cheaper to purchase a data bundle, and the more expensive ones offer much better price/limit ratio.


After purchasing a starter sim card you may access the net instantly, if you have a internet-capable handset or a modem. however, when using your account balance to pay for access, the prices are steep. it is much cheaper to purchase a data bundle, and the more expensive ones offer much better price/limit ratio.