Is Kenya safe for tourists?
Kenya is a welcoming travel destination for independent and self-drive travellers and a safe country to visit. There are, however, some things to keep in mind when travelling to this African gem. In this blog, we advise you on road safety, crime, and general safety, so you can enjoy a carefree holiday in Kenya.
Crime in Kenya
When it comes to crimes in Kenya, we recommend you use your head and be street-smart. Recognize that you're travelling in a country where the general population may have less financial means. To minimize the risk of theft, always park your car in secure areas, leave valuable items, such as diamond rings, at home, and avoid leaving valuables exposed in your hotel room. While hotel theft is generally not a major concern, it's best to take precautions just in case.
Double-check offered services
Kenya is known for its warm and friendly locals, ever-ready to assist travellers. However, when someone offers their guiding services, we always advise you to be upfront and ask for any expected remuneration to avoid uneasy situations.
Although inter-tribal conflicts have reduced in recent years, the Northern part of Kenya is still considered a no-go zone for tourists. Stay informed about by checking our article about restricted areas here.
While Kenya has faced unfortunate terrorist attacks, it's essential to note that these incidents were not targeted at tourists. Although disheartening, it's crucial not to let such events hold you back from pursuing your passion for travel. The tourism sector usually gets hit hard by these types of occurrences, impacting the livelihoods of many who depend on it. By staying informed and being cautious, you can contribute to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience while supporting the local communities that thrive on tourism.
Road safety in Kenya
All primary roads leading to and from Nairobi are comfortable tarmac roads with excellent driving conditions. Do remember that the A109 highway between Nairobi and Mombasa is under construction often, and heavily used by cars, buses and slow-moving trucks. This can cause busy and chaotic situations.
Kenya's secondary ‘C’ and ‘D’ roads are usually unsurfaced, with various potholes or eroded surfaces. Inside the country's national parks, you'll drive off-road on dirt roads most of the time. The conditions of these roads tend to vary from one season to the next and are most challenging during the rainy season.
When it comes to safety while driving, we always recommend you drive defensively, lock your doors and avoid driving after dark. Do not leave valuables in your car when unattended and always carry cash, water and a charged mobile phone with you.
Check our Driving in Kenya section for more self-drive travel tips and safety advice.
Safety in Nairobi
Safety in Nairobi has increased, and the city is no less safe than other large cities in emerging economies in Africa. If you're driving in the city, do remember to lock your doors and refrain from making phone calls with windows wide open to minimize potential risks. We also advise you to use ATMs inside shopping malls.
When considering accommodations, we recommend the areas of Karen or Langata. These green and affluent residential neighbourhoods not only provide a safe environment but also a lot of excellent restaurants and shopping malls. There is little traffic in these areas, and because of the expressways (bypass), it's easy to get out of the city.
For transportation within Nairobi, the use of Uber taxis is the most popular, providing a reliable and secure means of getting around. By staying on your toes and following these safety tips, you can make the most of your time in Nairobi, enjoying its amazing culture and diverse offerings.
Book your roadtrip with a local driver
While self-driving is perfectly doable in Kenia, we understand if you'd feel more comfortable with a local driver-guide by your side. Our team at Roadtrip Africa works with well-trained and truly lovable driver-guides who know everything there is to know about Kenya.
Having a tour guide and driver all-in-1 is a great option for roadtrippers who want to remain in charge of their own holiday and itinerary, yet prefer someone else to do the driving. At the same time, being accompanied by a local driver-guide, means learning more about the local culture and wildlife in Kenya while you travel. All our drivers speak English and are experienced tour guides and bush mechanics. No stress, difficulties or long hours behind the wheel; your local driver is there to facilitate and ease your travels.
Read more about our local drivers here and book your self-drive holiday in Kenya!