Worried about Nairobi

Apr 9th, 2007, 02:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 228
Worried about Nairobi

Hi - So while my husband and I are experienced travelers and know that anything can happen anywhere and it's important to be vigilant, I have some concerns about Nairobi. Basically, it's on the US and UK's "do not go" list because of violence and terrorism and lack of security at the airports. We are planning our first safari this Decemeber(right after their elections???) and are a bit worried becauase when you look at other places on the "do not go" list, they are places we wouldn't even consider going. We have miles taking us into Nairobi and are going from there to Tanzania and ending up in the Masai Mara before returning to Nairobi.

Can some of you who have been to Nairobi in the last couple months give me more of a sense of what it's like and your thoughts on its safety?

shothyme77 is online now  
Apr 9th, 2007, 03:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Do a search on this board re "Nairobi safety" - ther are many threads.

Generally, Nairobi is fine to transit through on arrival, your overnight and then head out on safari. The city is perfectly safe during daylight hours for touring, which you will, no doubt, be doing with a guide/vehicle (even taxis are safe to use). I wouldn't go walking around NBO at night any more than places here in NYC, or any major city anywhere.

It is rare for tourists to be bothered while in NBO. Sure, there was a recent article about a roadside murder, but this was about 25/miles outside the city. Hey, they could have happened anywhere.

As travelers, you simply have to use your common sense (don't leave it home even though on vacation) - don't be out after dark, wear good jewelery, display cash in public, have your big cameras strung around your neck.

Those "do not go" lists have to be taken for caution, but no more than any other place one may travel, even in your own neighborhood.

Many here can attest they've been in NBO for a day or two with no incidents. We've gone shopping, on foot, and returned to our hotel with packages and locals didn't give us a look one way or another. They went about what they were doing, and we our own thing.

As to "their elections" - as in any country, visitors are simply advised to never get involved where crowds congregate or with a protest mob.

You'll be fine if you remember "travel basics."
sandi is offline  
Apr 9th, 2007, 03:19 PM
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The bad news: It is not just Nairobi but all of Kenya that is subject to a travel warning. This incident did happen in Nairobi. “In January 2007, two family members of a U.S. Embassy employee were killed by armed carjackers.” Terrible as that is, carjackings occur worldwide. Don’t drive around Nairobi.

But take a look at the travel warning and contrast it to other places in Africa that you probably wouldn’t even consider going.

“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…The Department continues to recommend that private American citizens in Kenya evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing terrorist threats and increasing incidents of violent crime.”

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi.

American citizens should not travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo at this time.

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Nigeria.

I did not wander around at all while in Nairobi. But others have ventured out more than that with no problem.

Notice A&K and Tauk Tours and Globus don’t go to Nigeria, DRC, or Burundi, but they have one trip after the next that passes through Nairobi.

Don’t worry.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 9th, 2007, 04:04 PM
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I was in Nairobi for a day in January and in February. Have been going each year for about four years now, several times on my own.

You will be fine if you use common sense. Just listen to what your tour operator tells you and like Sandi said, don't wander the streets at night.

Taxi's are fine. You can tell the staff at the airport to get you one once you've claimed your bags and need a ride (if you haven't already made arrangements with your tour operator).

The security at the airport is fine too.

There's lots of interesting things to do so please don't let the travel warnings deter you.

Giraffe Manor
Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
Nairobi National park Orphanage.
Karen Blixen House

Just to name a few if you're spending time in a day room with a few hours to sight see.

divewop is offline  
Apr 9th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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As I posted in another thread, the ringleader and most of the gang involved in the embassy incident were arrested or killed. Since then things seem calmer.
tuckeg is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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I second, third and fourth what all the others have said. I had some of the same concerns last year and I elayed them by hiring a guide (wjo was fantastic I have to add!) to collect us at the airport and take us to all the places we wanted to visit, including shopping in a market while he waited for us in the car, and then he left us back to our hotel ... absolutely no problems whatsoever. Nairobi has SO many things to do as divewop has mentioned, my personal favourite being the Elephant Orphanage ... for that alone, I personally, would visit Nairobi again!

PLease go and enjoy and as Sandi says, take your common sense with you.
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Returned from Nairobi less than a month ago, and was very impressed with the city and really enjoyed our tour of the City Center and suburbs. As stated previously, common sense should be the determining factor. We felt safe enough(two women) to walk from our hotel to the Cathedral for Sunday morning Mass, and were not worried about using street ATM's. I think the State Department should lift or at least lessen their warnings about Kenyan travel, because if we had heeded it we would have missed a truly great vacation.
abgo is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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Have any of you recent Nairobi visitors visited the new Natural History Museum? Your impression?
samcat is offline  
Apr 10th, 2007, 06:41 PM
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Sorry, did not make it to the Natural History Museum. My friend was hoping to go to the Art Museum I believe, but that was closed for rennovations.
abgo is offline  
Apr 12th, 2007, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I returned from Nairobi and Kenya safari less than 3 weeks ago.....i had arranged to be picked up at the airport because i was traveling alone.....it was crowded, but i didn't notice anything unusual....i had hired a guide to take me around Nairobi for the one day before i met up with my tour. He took me to Bomas, Safari Walk and to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage....i never felt unsafe ....I was dropped back at the airport four hours before my flight home......it was crowded, noisy and smoky.....other than that I did not feel unsafe. A tourist will be vulnerable anywhere....make sure you are with reputable people, keep you bag tight to your body, keep ears and eyes alert....
spsand is offline  
Apr 12th, 2007, 11:09 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 228
thank you all so much for your feedback. it's reassuring to hear from people who have been there recently. we're smart travelers, but we just wanted to make sure! Thanks! We leave for nairobi the end of december!
shothyme77 is online now  
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