How safe is Kenya for tourists

Articles from the "Current" section | | 09/02/2019 | ± 4 minutes reading time

The US has put Kenya on a list of countries where kidnappings are common. Kenya has been struggling with its tourism sector lately as warnings are issued for the country on a regular basis.

According to the US State Department, kidnappings and hostage-taking by criminals and terrorists take place regularly in Kenya. A total of 35 countries have been added to the list of countries where there is a risk of tourists being kidnapped. The travel advice from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has remained unchanged. We looked at how safe Kenya is.

Kidnappings in Africa

In total, the United States has added 35 countries to a list of countries where abductions are common. The United States has been a major source of income for foreign tourism in Kenya.

Other countries on the kidnapping list are the African countries Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. According to the US State Department, traveling to these countries is not safe.

Foreign travelers have been kidnapped in Kenya on a regular basis recently. For example, the Italian volunteer Silvia Constanca Romano has still not been found. She was abducted on November 20, 2018 in the Kilifi region. Foreign travelers are often kidnapped as ransom for thousands of dollars.

Travel advice from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Kenya

According to the Dutch Foreign Ministry, not only is the risk of kidnappings high in Kenya, but terrorist attacks are also a regular occurrence. These occur mainly on the coast and in large cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa.

A map with red areas will also appear on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Travelers should avoid these areas. The area extends from Mandera in the north to Lamu in the south. In the area where the Italian volunteer was kidnapped, the Dutch ministry indicates heightened security risks.

Travelers are advised to be vigilant across Kenya. Travelers should avoid the districts of Mandera, Garissa and Wajir (with the exception of the airport). The mainland of Lamu and Kiwayu should also be better avoided. Also, do not travel to northeast Kenya or areas bordering Somalia.

Many (armed) robberies and kidnappings take place in the border areas with Somalia. Cars under police protection can also be robbed. Foreign tourists in particular are often victims of kidnapping. If you are in one of these areas, the Dutch government strongly recommends leaving these areas. It is not safe there.

In addition, the areas of Lamu and Manda, Marsabit, Moyale and the north of Malindi are considered dangerous. Also, avoid the Changamwe, Majengo, and Kisuani neighborhoods in Mombasa. In Nairobi, only travel through the Eastleigh, Pangani and slums neighborhoods if you really need to. There is a great risk of kidnapping.

Watch the developments in the region. After sunset, don't go out on the streets or walk alone. Avoid slums and don't use city buses. Only use reliable taxis that can be booked through the hotel. Don't travel in the evening and bring enough money with you. No resistance should be offered in the event of an armed robbery or kidnapping. The robbers can even dress up as police officers.

Abduction often involves drug use. So please always be vigilant.

Apply for a visa for Kenya

Therefore, in some areas it is not safe to travel to Kenya. There are less security risks in other areas. However, German and Austrian travelers can travel to Kenya. Applying for a Kenya visa can be completed within five minutes and costs € 74.95 per person.

Visa requirements

All German and Austrian travelers traveling to Kenya must be in possession of a visa. This visa must be applied for before departure. The Kenya visa is an electronic travel authorization that allows one to enter the country. Without this permission, they will not be allowed into the country.

You can stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days with the visa. The Kenya visa is available for business and tourist purposes.

Other conditions also apply to the Kenya visa. All travelers - including children - must have their own passport with at least one blank page. Additionally, there are only a limited number of places that travelers can arrive and depart from. It is important that a confirmation of booking for the return flight, accommodation or possibly a letter of invitation from a Kenyan traveler is presented.

Urgent application

A visa is not required for children aged 15 and under traveling to Kenya with their parents. In other cases, except in transit, a Kenya visa is required. It is possible to submit an urgent application for a visa to Kenya. There is a surcharge per person for this. There is no guarantee for delivery times.

Please note: This article from our "News" section about the visa for Kenya is older than a year. It may contain outdated information and advice and we can no longer guarantee the content of this article. Are you going to travel soon and would you like to know which rules currently apply? Then read all the latest information about the Kenya Visa.