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Security in Kenya PDF Print E-mail
Kenya is currently at phase 1 (precautionary phase) of the United Nations security plan, with the exception of Mount Elgon, Turkana and Marsabit districts and North-Eastern Province, which are at phase 3. Official visitors to Kenya need a security clearance to enter the country and a further security clearance to go to any phase 3 areas. If you intend to stay in a hotel, you are strongly advised to choose from those in the recommended list of hotels
Personal security

Muggings can occur at any time in both Nairobi and Mombasa. Be alert and follow these simple rules:
  • Keep to the main streets and don’t be tempted to go to places of which you are not sure.
  • Keep to the main roads and avoid shortcuts down back alleys and the like.
  • Never walk at night in the city centre even for a short distance – always take a taxi.
  • Be particularly wary of people hanging around outside hotels; it is a favourite place to catch tourists and mug them.
  • Ignore street children and people coming up to you in the streets with hard-luck tales. They may be pickpockets or part of an elaborate scam. The best thing to do is just to walk on and ignore them.
  • Do not carry large sums of money when shopping, and do not wear expensive jewellery, watches or the like.
  • Do not accept food and drink from strangers; visitors have been known to be drugged and then robbed.

The country’s roads are in a poor state and some are impassable. The standards of driving leave much to be desired.

  • Always drive defensively, expecting the worst and from the most unlikely quarters.
  • Keep doors locked and valuables out of sight when driving.
  • Only open car windows 10–12 centimetres, particularly when stopped at traffic lights. Necklaces and bags can easily be snatched.
  • If you travel outside Nairobi, go well prepared and never drive at night.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • If you hire or borrow a vehicle, ensure that it is in good condition.
  • Take essential spares and some food and water.
  • Do not stop for people apparently seeking help on the roadside. Frequently they wait for people to stop and either rob you or steal your car.

Armed vehicle hijacking
This is a fairly common crime in Nairobi. If you fall victim to a car hijacking, do as you are told and do not resist the hijackers. Do not attempt to escape by driving fast. If you comply, there is every chance that you will be released unharmed.

Except as indicated, most game parks and other tourist areas are usually safe, but muggings and armed attacks can occur anywhere and at any time. The Samburu, Shaba and Maasai Mara game reserves have all experienced bandit attacks in the past. For security reasons you are strongly advised to avoid the whole of North-Eastern Province, Tana River district in Coast Province and Isiolo and Marsabit districts in Eastern Province. If you go to Lamu, you are strongly advised to fly. From Malindi to Garsen to Lamu the road is both insecure and in poor condition and you have to travel in convoy. If you book your safaris through a reliable travel agent, you can be fairly certain that any vehicle provided will be roadworthy and that the safari will be conducted safely. If you wish to go to Samburu or Shaba game park, you should go with a tour operator or, if on your own, take a Kenya Wildlife Service guard while in the park. The travel agents at Gigiri can provide further information.

It is advisable to deposit your valuables at the hotel reception for safekeeping. When checking out of a hotel ensure that you keep briefcases, handbags and small luggage with you as these items are extremely attractive and have been stolen from inside hotel lobbies while guests were busy checking out.

If, your best efforts notwithstanding, you become the victim of an incident, assistance and advice can be obtained from the UN Security control centre.