Travel to Africa is always adventurous and exciting. You will be blown away by the level of luxury at 5 star establishments, not to mention the incredible sights, cultures and landscapes you will encounter in Kenya. However, as with anywhere you travel to, there are some points you would do well to be aware of before you leave for your vacation or safari.
While on a guided tour, your chances of encountering problems are minimal – Salaton Safaris ensures that you are kept away from unnecessary risk.
If you are travelling alone, keep up to date with local news so you know about potential hot spots. News from Africa carries top stories from most of Africa’s local newspapers, and is updated daily. At www.nationaudio.com and www.eaststandard.net, you will find digital editions of 2 major Kenyan daily newspapers, also updated daily.
Get a local perspective – ask someone where you are staying to give you a run-down on any unsafe areas, dress codes and behaviour. It is also a good idea to ask your travel consultant, Salaton Safaris, about these things before you go on holiday.
As with anywhere in the world, be cautious when you are in a city. Do not carry valuables openly, and if you must carry your passport and money then keep them in a buttoned-down pocket or well concealed on your person.
Driving can often be an adventurous undertaking. In some regions, and particularly in rural areas, roads and vehicles are sometimes poorly maintained and it is quite normal to come across large herds of domestic animals such as sheep and cattle. Stay alert, buckle up and avoid travelling at night.
Avoid deserted areas, particularly at night. If you are in a car, park in well-lit, populated areas. Always keep the car locked – even when you are in it – and do not leave valuables in plain sight.
If you are thinking of hitchhiking, please understand the high risks involved. Hitchhiking is exciting, but always potentially dangerous – particularly in urban centres or after dark. We do not advise it.
The best advice for security when you travel is to stay aware of what is going on around you. If you do this, you have a good chance of enjoying a problem-free holiday.
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Vaccination: Inoculation against Yellow Fever and Cholera may be mandatory depending on the country you are coming from (check www.immigration.go.ke for details). Anyone entering Kenya from or through a Yellow Fever infected area must be in possession of a valid International certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever.
Visitors from the Far East, Central America, South, Central and West Africa may be required to have valid certificates of inoculation against Yellow Fever and cholera.
Malaria: You are advised to take anti-malaria medication before coming to Kenya. Start the course at least one week before entering Kenya. Please consult your physician or General Practitioner.
Drinking water: Bottled mineral water is widely available in Kenya at reasonable prices. Tap water is generally not recommended for drinking.
Kenya has a diverse climatic range, ranging from extremely hot and dry regions to cold and wet areas. This section gives an idea of the various altitudes and weather conditions and how you should dress in different areas.
Do not walk in towns or public areas in your swim-wear, as this is offensive to majority of the community. Nude bathing is not allowed. You are advised to respect the local people, their culture and traditions.
You will be impressed by the range of foods and drinks to cater for all tastes and needs. Everything from seafood, vegetarian diets, full course meals, fast food, and international cuisine is available. Whether you are staying in a luxury city hotel or deep in the bush, you are almost guaranteed to find a mouth watering buffet with a wide variety of meats, fresh salads, fruit and drinks. The food is relatively safe to try in hotels or lodges which cater for international visitors. Soft drinks and alcohol are also readily available, cheap and safe to drink.
In addition to other security checks, customs officers may weigh and inspect all outgoing baggage. You are therefore required to identify your baggage at departure for inspection by customs officers. Airport departure tax (currently US$ 20) is payable on departure. There are duty-free shops at both Nairobi and Mombasa airports.
Visitors are expected to respect the Head of State and other leaders or uniformed officials of the Public Service. Tearing or burning the President’s portrait is an offence. Avoid infringing the laws especially traffic regulations and those against prostitution, sexual abuse and drug use or trafficking. However, use of a locally grown shrub called miraa – a mild stimulant – is allowed.
Like any other country, Kenya has some security concerns. However, the tourism industry and the government are taking every possible step to ensure your safety during your visit to Kenya. Below are a few basic precautionary measures you should take:
Do not walk in the wee hours, especially in quiet dark streets.