Safety in East Africa

Mar 20th, 2006, 11:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Safety in East Africa

I just got myself freaked out by reading the U.S. Dept. of State's consular bulletins on Kenya and Tanzania. They make it sound like you'll be carjacked, assaulted or robbed at gunpoint in these countries for sure. I'm wondering what security measures do the safari camps and lodges take -- especially with regard to violent crime? I know that I could be a victim of crime right in my own backyard, but these reserves and camps are, after all, out in such isolated locations, and would seem to be quite far away from help. Did you experience or hear of any problems on your trip or take notice of safety and security measures on the part of the lodges and camps?
kmbing is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 11:40 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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There must be a couple of dozen threads like this.

Bottom line just GO GO GO. You will be fine, keep your eyes as open there as you do walking around any US city.

You will be fine
waynehazle is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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Hi kmbing,

As the camps and lodges are out in such isolated locations they’re also far away from the “bad guys”, most of the time. Security measures? I’ve seen night watchmen with spears.
Hakuna matata
Nyamera is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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Read some of the recent trip reports on the board and you'll see that visitors walked alone in Nairobi and were back here to tell the tales. Uneventfull... and rather a pleasant experience.

The US State Department has to report about some incidents, but they do tend to be alarmist. There are probably as many incidents in your own backyard. As in most countries, crime is often committed on the locals. Not to say that visitors may not possibly run into uncomfortable situations, but not unlike neighborhoods in your home city that you won't visit.

With a recent report that made the US papers (and probably internationally) of some visitors being robbed while on safari; the bandits were found the next day and anything taken returned. It made the papers only because it's a rarety.

In most circumstances you will be well protected in a private vehicle and very unlikely any unfortunate situation will befall you. And while on safari, you're so far from most of the "bad guys" you'll wonder what all the fuss is about.

Just remember not to leave your common sense at home just because you're on vacation. Go and enjoy
Mar 20th, 2006, 03:36 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
To answer your last question, no.

Violent crime is not a problem at these remote camps. Though highly unlikely, injury or illness would be more what you should concern yourself with. That's why a flying doctors evacuation policy is good to have and I always invest in one. Never used it.

Information can help ease these fears, so below are several links from the past about safety. I think these also address concerns about bird flu and marauding animals.

While the Kenya and East Africa warnings can be intimidating, compare them with some of the State Dept warnings for other countries that don't merely suggest you weigh the risks, they suggest you stay home.

When are you considering traveling?
atravelynn is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 04:04 PM
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hello kmbing,
As one who recently returned from Tanzanian tented safari, I agree with the other posters that E. African camps are very safe - I slept like a baby every night.

I was just telling my Mom last night how my African guide was telling me that he'd love to visit the US but probably won't because of the high crime rate.

I do hope you'll consider Africa - it's one of the most wonderful places on earth.

cybor is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 06:56 PM
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Thanks for all your responses - they are what I needed to hear. We are planning our trip in late October/early November - 3 nights Kichwa Tembo tented camp, 3 nights Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and 2 nights at either Grumeti River Camp or Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, depending on availability at Grumeti. Then we wrap up with 3 nights in Zanzibar.
Our safari package (thru CCAfrica) includes medical evacuation insurance to the nearest suitable hospital, which they indicated would be Nairobi. I've read on this forum about other organizations available that offer even greater coverage, which I plan to look into next.
kmbing is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 09:14 PM
Posts: n/a must also keep in mind the U.S state dept's elevated threat levels at home from time to time. I do travel very frequently to the US and from my knowledge, no one has a clue as to why/what/when etc etc., and obviously everyone goes about doing what one has to!!!!

As to the Bulletins about Africa and safety, i guess everyone on this thread has hit the nail on it's head and i dont intend to be repititious......

Mar 25th, 2006, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 391
I always want to say "Go, it's safe, no worries!" But it's not the entire picture. You have to take care and precautions. As a tourist you sometimes let down your guard but there are sensible precautions to take. Walking around the streets of Nairobi after dark... there are theives around.... but what are your chances of meeting them, probably small but would you seak out high ground in a thunder storm?

Don't walk around with lots of "bling".
Don't carry wads of cash.
Don't be flash with your flash camera.
Traffic lights work after dark, but everyone ignores them in Nairobi.
Just take care, and take advice of local people... like the Askari at hotels... who will keep you safe.

Don't worry!
Have a great time!
But don't leave your brain at home.
Pumbavu is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 06:20 AM
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I fear that the state department s not quite in touch with reality. That warning has been there ever since 911. I suppose it's the same crew whe rationalised the ports deal and in the national security strtegy document 2006 listed Zimbabwe at number 7 ito countries that posed the greatest threat the the US.

IMO, that travel warning only serves to advise the Kenyan administration that lest they cooperate with the US military requests the US has the ability to cripple them economically, since tourism is such an enormous industry for Kenya! But then again I could be completely wrong.... Ever looked at pilots map of Kenya? Note the enormous no fly zones over US defence installations and you'll appreciate where all this comes from.

Go and travel, let the ebaurocrats absorb themselves with their warnings, guess that does keep some individual employed.
mkhonzo is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 07:47 AM
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That’s the only logical explanation for that silly travel warning.
Nyamera is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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I just want to know when we (the USA) are going to liberate Saudi Arabia, the country that had the overwhelming majority of 9/11 terrorists, and Kuwait (a country where Asian women, if reports are accurate) are basically held as slaves. Where are the free elections in these kingdoms? I always scratch my head in amazement and wonder why the media does not ask about why we are not demanding democracy in these two countries.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 01:35 PM
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Without getting to political and getting the post deleted, i often question where democracy exists in the western world. After the events of the last couple of years...i wonder. You live in a country where the presidency is effectively bought. In the UK, our first past the post system, like in the primaries etc allows a government to be formed without the majority of the popular vote. hhmmmm ala George in 2000.

Anyway, such is life, cash for peerages, and a certain little conflict occuring somewhere. What happened to transparancy and honesty Prime Minister!

Kmbing, go to Kenya, just ensure that your sensible like you would be in any major city. Kenya has had security warnings since the attempt to shot down a plane with a RPG. I believe that was in 2002. The country I always find fascinating is South Africa. Supposedly suffers from the some of the highest levels of crime in the world. Over 10 visits, including living in Cape town for 4 months, and no problems. I cant remember seeing any trouble. A lot of the crime is actually based in the townships.
Mar 26th, 2006, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,490

indeed it was 2002 when there was an attempt to shoot down an Israeli charter plane in Mombasa; there was also an attack on Israeli beach resort. since then, there is an alert warning in an anti-terror Israeli site. The info is that an Al Qaida cell still exists in Kenya. (Attacks have been in Nairobi & moslem coast)
Camps at parks r real safe - their remoteness is their advantage !
I wouldn't hesitate to go on Safari -
enjoy it !!
aby is offline  

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