US State Dept Warning for Kenya

Jan 9th, 2006, 07:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 183
US State Dept Warning for Kenya

Now, gang, I am not a wimpy, worried traveler. But I also don't want to be foolish. I just read a number of posts regarding Kenya that essentially say to be cautious, as one should in any country. Of course. Yes, I realize that hundreds of Western travelers go to Kenya each year without incident, but hundreds smoke each year without getting cancer. Indeed, most people who smoke never get cancer.

I an travelling with my family (wife and two teenage daughters) in Northern Tanzania for 9 days. Was thinking of adding 6 days in Kenya (fly to Nairobi, then Mara, possibly Amboseli too). What do you all think? Should I perhaps instead fly from Arusha to So. Tanzania (Selous)? Or just be sure to get out of Nairobi as soon as possible.
What do you all think?


At the end of this post is a list of other traveler's warnings.

December 30, 2005

This Travel Warning is being issued to remind American citizens to consider carefully the risks of travel to Kenya at this time due to ongoing safety and security concerns. This supersedes the Travel Warning of July 1, 2005.

The Department recommends that private American citizens in Kenya evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing terrorist threats and the limited ability of the Kenyan authorities to detect and deter such acts. The U.S. Government continues to receive indications of terrorist threats in Kenya and elsewhere in eastern Africa aimed at U.S. and Western interests. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places including tourist sites and locations where Westerners are known to congregate, as well as commercial operations associated with U.S. or other Western interests.

American citizens in Kenya should remain vigilant, particularly in public places frequented by foreigners such as clubs, hotels, resorts, Western-oriented shopping centers, restaurants, and places of worship. Americans should also remain vigilant in residential areas, schools, and at outdoor recreational events, and should avoid demonstrations and large crowds. In particular, there is a continuing threat against Westerners in the capital, Nairobi, and some locales in the coastal region. In addition to the terrorist threat, there are increasing incidents of criminal activity, including carjacking, robbery, and other violent crime, especially after dark.

also: Armed vehicle hijackings are common in Nairobi but can occur anywhere in the country. Nairobi averages about ten vehicle hijackings per day Matatus (public transportation) tend to be targeted since they carry up to 14 passengers. Although these attacks are often violent, victims are generally not injured if they do not resist. There is also a high incidence of residential break-ins and occupants should take additional security measures to protect their property. Thieves and con artists have been known to impersonate police officers, thus Americans are strongly encouraged to ask for identification if approached by individuals identifying themselves as police officials, uniformed or not.

Thieves routinely snatch jewelry and other objects from open vehicle windows while motorists are either stopped at traffic lights or in heavy traffic. Vehicle windows should be up and doors locked regardless of the time of day or weather. Thieves on matatus, buses and trains may steal valuables from inattentive passengers.

continued at


just to put this in perspective, the other countries listed on the States Department's Travel Warning list look like the "who's who" of troubled countries to me. Those countries and the date of the posting are below:

Current Travel Warnings
Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid a certain country. The countries listed below are currently on that list. In addition to this list, the State Department issues Consular Information Sheets for every country of the world with information on such matters as the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, any areas of instability, and the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country.

Afghanistan 01/06/2006
Kenya 12/30/2005
Iran 12/29/2005
Iraq 12/29/2005
Saudi Arabia 12/23/2005
Nepal 12/15/2005
Nigeria 12/01/2005
Haiti 11/22/2005
Indonesia 11/18/2005
Zimbabwe 11/14/2005
Lebanon 11/07/2005
Liberia 11/04/2005
Yemen 10/28/2005
Burundi 10/19/2005
Côte d'Ivoire 08/25/2005
Sudan 08/05/2005
Bosnia-Herzegovina 08/01/2005
Somalia 07/21/2005
Algeria 07/21/2005
Uzbekistan 07/01/2005
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 06/24/2005
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 06/20/2005
Colombia 05/04/2005
Central African Republic 04/19/2005
Pakistan 03/25/2005
Philippines 03/23/2005


I just checked the home pages of the British, Norwegian and Austrailian governments; all have similar warnings about Kenya
nhulberg is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 08:03 PM
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Hi! I'm indian......and i do realize that during this day and age, one must be careful of his/her surroundings wherever in the planet they are. We must move on with our lives and not allow the terroritsts to impose their cowardice on us......
Jan 9th, 2006, 10:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 183
Thanks, Patty. I read every one of those threads. Some very thoughtful posts.Many were 2-3 years old, but I get the picture.

So, I will get my wife to read them. If she is okay with it, we will add Kenya to our N. Tanzania trip. But we will surely minimize our time in Nairobi.
nhulberg is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 07:21 AM
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Nairobi as most large cities can be a bit scary at night. However, during the when visitors are usually with their own guide/vehicle to stop at some interesting sights... perfectly safe.

The Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and shopping galore is certainly worth sometime in NBO.

Myself and a few others who post here, were just fine walking on our own in Nairobi. Locals went about going about their business, while we went about ours. Just like at home. A non-event.

As is the case most places, unless tourists are flashing money or jewelry, most harm comes to locals. But at least here, if the one doing harm is caught - it's street justice. No tie up in the court system.

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