With various governments issuing warnings to their citizens against travelling to parts of Kenya amid political unrest and terrorist activity, many travellers have become understandingly concerned about visiting Kenya for their next safari holiday. In reality, the dangerous areas are located in and near cities, and after all, the whole point of a safari is getting away from those!Kenya is renowned the world over for offering some of the best game viewing and wildlife experiences that the African continent has to offer, and it is foolish to pass up the opportunity to visit such a spectacular place over misplaced fears. Let’s take an honest look at which areas are completely safe, and which you do actually want to avoid, just in case.Needless to say, the major tourist areas are the country’s safari destinations and wildlife reserves, and you’ll find that these are excluded from travel warnings. Here are just a few of the tourist destinations that have been declared as safe for international travellers:Aberdare National Park, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Meru, Mount Kenya, Samburu, Shimba Hills, Tsavo – and of course, Kenya’s most famous park, the exquisite Masai Mara.Beach resorts, such as those of Mombasa, Malindi, Kilifi, Watamu, Diani, Lamu Island and Manda Island are all excluded from warnings too, as is the MOI (Mombasa International Airport), Malindi airport and Manda airport.
Regions to avoid:
- Areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border
- Garissa County and Lamu County (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island)
It’s good to remember too that the areas of concern are in eastern Kenya – where virtually no tourism takes place anyway. Kenya’s famous reserves are oases of calm far, far away on the opposite side of the country along the Tanzanian border. In fact, the region where the border between Kenya’s Masai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti lies is so stable and peaceful that the divide is marked only with stone cairns! (The millions of wildebeest, zebra and antelope who make their annual migration across appreciate this fact too!)For extra peace of mind, get in touch with the management of the resort you intend to stay at or with your travel advisor to allay any fears you might have. Make sure to read a few recent reviews of travellers who have stayed there, and you’ll find them as glowing as ever!Brush up on some useful phrases here: https://www.safari.com/travel-blog/travel-phrases-kenya/
Health and recommended vaccines:
Malaria:Malaria is present in some parts of Kenya, and as with travelling to any country, travellers will need to consult with their doctors to obtain the relevant prophylactics well before they depart. Interestingly, Kenya is one of the three countries set to take part in the World Health Organization’s first malaria vaccine pilot starting in 2018!Other recommended vaccines:Depending on where in Kenya you are travelling and your country of residence, your health provider might also advise that you receive yellow fever, typhoid, and hepatitis A vaccine. You're advised to have all your and your children’s routine vaccinations up to date (which is good practice in any case) and exercise simple common sense when consuming food and drinking water.Crime:No matter where you travel, taking reasonable precautions to protect yourself against crime is your best defence, and Kenya is no exception. Valuables like cameras, smartphones and jewellery are a big temptation – so keep these locked away whenever you can and be vigilant when using your devices. Stick to tourist areas and avoid venturing into slums, and do your homework before you visit an unfamiliar area. Make sure you have personal travel insurance in place before you depart. Remember that tourism creates job opportunities, and this is by far the best way to help any destination tackle crime!Enjoy the safari experience of a lifetime!As if the spectacle commonly referred to as the ‘greatest wildlife show on earth’ in which some two million grazers and their predatory entourage make their famous annual migration isn’t enough, Kenya boasts an almost absurd variety of attractions.From Lake Bogoria National Reserve with its 200 spouting boiling geysers, where tourists admire endless flocks of fuchsia flamingos while they boil eggs in rock pools, to the country’s 40 spectacular golf courses, to the opportunity to meet with and learn from the fascinating indigenous tribes. Whatever your game viewing style, be it a walking safari, via mountain bike or horseback, or getting a bird’s eye view from a helicopter, there’s a good reason thousands of visitors flock here each year – and it’s a genuine shame when news headlines deter visitors from the holiday experience of a lifetime.Perhaps Adrian Dangar, a Kenyan tour operator, puts it best: “The Mara is another world… you have to hope that people will not draw a black line through the whole country, and will continue to visit.”