Is Kenya safe?

nairobi The capital city of Nairobi

Nicknamed ‘Nairobbery’ by jaded locals, Nairobi has a longstanding reputation as a crime hotspot, one that is largely justified, but unlikely to affect those who stay at a suburban hotel, since crime targeted at tourists is mostly associated with the city centre. The triangle of streets between Moi Avenue and River Road should be avoided at all times unless you have a trusted local escort, and it it is best to use a taxi of you leave your hotel after dark. Crime is also a problem on some parts of the coast but far less so in small upcountry towns and the game reserves and other rural areas. The majority of visitors have hassle-free holidays and so should you if you follow the commonsense dos and don’ts below:

  • Carry a scan or electronic version of all important travel documents, in case they are lost or stolen. You might also want to email all such backups to a webmail address you can access anywhere on the road.

  • Padlocking your luggage might not prevent a determined thief from slashing it open, but it is a strong deterrent to casual light fingers.

  • Never leave valuables (cash, mobile phones, electronic devices etc) lying around openly in your hotel room; where possible, stow your passport and other important documents, as well as spare cash and cards, in a hotel safe.

  • Leave expensive jewellery at home.

  • Avoid exposing cameras, laptops or large amounts of cash in urban areas.

  • Avoid walking around towns after dark. If you must, do so as part if a group and stick to busy and well-lit streets.


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Medical emergencies in Kenya

If no other assistance is at hand, the emergency number for fire ambulance services is 999 or 020-2222181/182. Superior private hospitals in Nairobi include the Aga Khan University Hospital (tel: 020-3662000), MP Shah Hospital (tel: 020-3746177) and Nairobi Hospital (020-2845000). In more remote areas, Flying Doctors (tel: 020-6992299) is a highly regarded organisation offering emergency air evacuation services.

Medical insurance in Kenya

It is recommended that you take comprehensive medical travel insurance, inclusive of air evacuation from remote areas. Be aware that some insurance policies may not cover paragliding or scuba diving other activities deemed to be hazardous, and it might also be null and void in areas subject to travel warnings by the British FCO or US state department.

Health care in Kenya

A public healthcare system exists but it is underfunded and rudimentary by international standards. Private medical facilities compare favourable to most parts of Africa other than South Africa but are not always to the standard you’d expect in Europe or North America. On the plus side, medical consultations are generally very cheap, and local doctors are highly experienced when it comes to recognising symptoms of malaria (the most common threat to travellers) and prescribing…


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