Kenya Election Riots

Old Jan 1st, 2008, 12:02 PM
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I traveled to Kenya in 1998 a WEEK after the American Embassy was bombed. That incident was aimed at Americans, unlike the current situation. Everything was in turmoil as conspirators were being arrested, the FBI was roaming all over Nairobi, the Secretary of State was in town, Sudan was being bombed, etc. There were State Dept. warnings then, too. Still, I felt totally safe, even when driving by what was left of the Embassy. Kenya was a nation in shock, much like the US after 9/11. Still, the people were warm and welcoming, even though this incident killed and injured many more Kenyans than it did Americans.

The current situation was almost a given, as the polls showed the two candidates to be "neck in neck". I think that the Kenyans will work it out, as they have in the past. The current spasm of violence isn't in the tourist areas and isn't aimed at tourists. Your safari outfitter and guides like Kennedy will be quite aware of the situation and will keep you safe. I, too, would go in a heartbeat.
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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 12:09 PM
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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 12:55 PM
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I'm still planning to go to Kenya early February but there's no way visitors won't be seriously disrupted. There are 70,000 people displaced in the Rift Valley and thousands are fleeing to Uganda. ATM's are closed, food distribution systems aren't what they were, people throughout Kenya are worried.

My daughter is in Kilifi, north of Mombasa on the coast and had planned to spend her birthday New Year's day at a nearby resort with a pool.

Here's her email account:
"It was a no go on the lunch and pool. I stayed at the house while
three of the girls went to try and get cash and food supplies. No cash
to be gotten and i think we have around 15000khs between us.

They were able to get food but the vegetables are running low and there is no meat anywhere. They got rice flour and will be a very high carb diet for a while.

They spent 45 minutes waiting in line to get into the store. They were very sweet and got me a box of cookies for my birthday. The food situation is troublesom and who knows what we will do he we run out of gas for the stove. This is quite the adventure we are on."

I don't doubt that travelers will be fairly safe, but from what I read and hear from DD the situation in Kenya is getting worse and will get worse through this week.

I hope and pray that Kibaki will step down. Bill - I love your Obama idea, I'm ordering all kinds of Obama stuff for gifts for my daughter's Kenyan friends. They LOVE Obama.

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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 01:00 PM
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i too,wouldn't change a safari in the national parks & reserves

i've witnessed, like Shaytay, Nairobi after the (Bin-Laden) attack on the American Embassy; but this was a totally different issue all together.
In 1982, i was in Kenya during the coup d'etat attempt against President Moi; that's why i recommended (for those who want to be on the safe and careful side) to stay out of city center...
personally, i would have made reassessments once actually arriving in Kenya
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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 10:45 PM
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On the rqdio this morning; seems it escalates in the west;

- a church was burned, incinerating all that sought refuge inside (lotsa kids too).
- lotsa roadblock can be seen from the air. Men with AK-47s, machetes and bows.

Does not sound good.
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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 11:20 PM
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we have just returned from Nairobi yesterday,1/1/08.we were in Tanzania for two weeks and had a great time.
we flew to Nairobi on the 30th December and stayed at the Holiday Inn for two nights ,our day trip on news years eve was cancelled due to the riots and advise from the hotel.Our drive from Jomo Kenyatta International airport was very quiet and Nairobi city center was deserted and the security was very tight armed police all along the main roads .The hotels security was also very tight
our flight from Tanzania arrived into Nairobi in the evening and i have to say we were very worried.Many people who were arriving to start safari at the Holiday Inn were flying to the parks instead of driving due to the situation.there were some delays for people starting there safari, we suppose because of trying to arrange last minute flights to the national parks.
we had to arrive at the airport for our return flight on New years day very early we were picked up at 6am for our 10am Virgin Atlantic flight back to the U.K. and the security was every were. every car was checked at the airport and the airport was ruuing well with no problems.however there was alot of people turning up at the airport trying to get stand by flights ,including a B.B.C.reporter ,who we spoke to ,we had watched her reporting on B.B.C. world the day before ,and she had been asked to leave that afternoon and thankfully she and quite a few other people got on to our flight.
Have to say we were glad to arrive home from Kenya.Sad we never got to see the baby elephants ,maybe next time .

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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 11:20 PM
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Rose - my thoughts are with your daughter.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 10:58 AM
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We have been in touch with our agent in Nairobi, discussing whether to continue our trip as planned or make some adjustments to it to avoid certain areas or to re-schedule it for later in the year.

Here is the latest exchange as of Jan 2 --

Nairobi is basically back to normal, and I have yet to have a tourist see anything of any kind. I've not even seen any of the violence personally yet either !! It is all in the western cities of Kisumu and Eldoret some 300 miles away or deep in the slums.

Nairobi airport and roads to and from it are absolutely unaffected.
I've had over 50 guests come and go over the last 3 days and all have
been fine, and all of our safaris to date have operated quite normally.

Infact the US Warden comments posted on State Dept Website dates Dec 31 were absolutely inaccurate - it was flights to Kisumu ONLY that
were cancelled for 2 days (they have since resumed), and it was the
airport road in MOMBASA that was temporarily blocked for a few hours.

Nakuru and Baringo have been quite okay, the only place on your route
that experienced some demonstrations on Dec 31 was Narok on the way to Mara - and nothing since then and I have had several groups drive through there today without any difficulty. This is an easy leg to fly, even to arrange at short notice - so I think we can easily wait a little while and see how things pan out on that road. Otherwise I feel we can operate your trip pretty much as planned.

There is a demonstration planned for Nairobi tomorrow. I am sure it
will be somewhat violent, but at the same time constrained to within
the slum areas by the security forces, so we will not see anything
other than the images on the TV. However I think the weekend that
follows will really determine what the future holds for us all.

Barring any sudden unforeseen changes in the security situation we'll be doing our trip as planned. I hope the Kenyans can settle their differences without further loss of life.

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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 11:07 AM
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I signed up to Google Alerts and have been reading the foreign news with interest.
The safari areas remain unaffected according to several foreign news sources, but of course, their headlines scream the bad stuff.
Since I'm flying to Nairobi, not Mombassa, I'm not too concerned.
I, too, hope for peace and some semblance of hope for this country's people.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 03:03 PM
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Thanks travelgirl2. Believe it or not, my daughter is slightly hooked on fodors posts (we can all relate) and it helps her to know that people are sending prayers and good wishes.

Bill - are you leaving for Kenya tomorrow? Keep us posted. It's the middle of the night now, and I'm waiting for Thursday and the rally to see what happens. I think that will set the course.

My daughter reports that food is scarce, that she was finally able to get cash, and that her friends are doing OK back in Bungoma. They're glad for her to be on the coast. As are we.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 03:39 PM
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We returned from Kenya and Zanzibar yesterday, flying through Nairobi JKIA on New Year's Eve.

We were in Nairobi on the 28th. A lot of businesses were closed (similar to a government holiday here I suppose, but with retail included). We noticed nothing out of the ordinary (our 3rd time in Nairobi) - our guide noted that the city was less crowded than usual because many people had returned to their home villages to vote.

On our flight home out of Zanzibar on the 31st, a few passengers were connecting to a BA flight to London that had been canceled. Air Kenya, in Zanzibar, wanted to hold them in Zanzibar (rather than send them to Nairobi with no connecting flight) and asked them to sign something saying that they would not leave the airport in Nairobi due to security.

At JKIA, the lights flickered a few times during our 3 hour layover, the ATM's were down, and the currency exchange was closed - but not sure that's out of the ordinary

As an aside, for those thinking of their options check your travel insurance policy. Many include this type of activity as an "unforeseen event" for trip cancelation.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Are there any updates? It looks like things are still rough. We plan to visit this summer I *hope* everything has been resolved by then.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 02:11 AM
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It looks like things are starting to settle down according to Reuters
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Old Jan 5th, 2008, 08:09 AM
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This NY Times article says that "Violence softens in Kenya". I hope this is the beginning of a peaceful resolution.
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