The United States has placed Kenya on its list of countries where kidnappings occur relatively frequently. Kenya has suffered in its tourist sector in recent year because warnings are frequently issued for the country.
The foreign affairs office in the US states that kidnappings by criminals and terrorists are a frequent occurrence in Kenya. In total, 35 countries are included in the list of countries where you run a realistic chance of being kidnapped. We investigated just how safe Kenya really is.
Kidnappings in Kenya
The United States are an important source of income in foreign tourism for Kenya. Since being included on the kidnappings list, this has dropped substantially.
Other African countries on the list include Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The US foreign affairs office has named these countries as unsafe to travel to.
In recent year, foreign travellers were regularly kidnapped in Kenya. For instance, the volunteer Silvia Constanca Romano still hasn’t been found. She was kidnapped in the district Kilifi on 20 November 2018. Oftentimes, foreign travellers are ransomed off for thousands of dollars.
Kenya travel advice
Not only is the risk of kidnappings high in Kenya, terrorist attacks are also not an unfamiliar sight. These attacks tend to happen near the coast and in larger cities like Nairobi and Mombasa.
Furthermore, there are certain areas in Kenya that are deemed particularly unsafe. These places are best avoided by travellers. This area runs from Mandera in the north to Lamu in the south. This includes the area where the Italian volunteer was kidnapped.
Travellers are advised to be alert throughout Kenya. The districts Mandera, Garissa and Wajir (except for the airport) should be avoided. The mainland of Lamu and Kiwayu should also not be visited unless absolutely necessary. Do not travel to the northeast of Kenya or the border areas with Somalia.
The border areas with Somalia have a relatively high number of (armed) robberies and kidnappings. Even cars under police escort can be targeted. Foreign tourists in particular are at risk. If you find yourself in the area, the advice is to leave as quickly as possible, as your safety cannot be guaranteed.
The areas Lamu and Manda, Marsabit, Moyale and the north of Malindi are also designated as dangerous. Avoid the neighborhoods Changamwe, Majengo and Kisuani in Mobasa. In Nairobi, only travel through the neighborhoods Eastleigh and Pangani if it is absolutely necessary. The slums should also be avoided.
Keep a close eye on developments in the area. Don’t go out on the street after sundown or alone. Don’t use city busses. Only use reliable taxis, which can be booked through the hotel. Don’t travel at night and bring sufficient money. During an armed robbery or kidnapping, do not offer resistance. The robbers can even be dressed as police officers. During kidnappings, tranquilizers are often used.
Kenya visa application
As is clear at this point, several areas in Kenya are unsafe to travel to. Other areas are more safe, and it is here where tourists often go to. The Kenya visa can be applied for in five minutes and costs € 74,95 per person.
Kenya visa requirements
Travellers headed to Kenya need to possess a Kenya visa. This visa needs to be applied for before departure. The Kenya visa is an electronic travel permit to travel to the country. Without this permit you are not allowed into the country.
The Kenya visa allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. The visa is available for both business and tourist purposes.
There are a number of requirements set to usage of the Kenya visa; All travelers, including children, need to possess their own passport which contains at least one empty page. Furthermore, there are limited number of places where travellers can arrive and depart from. It is important that a booking confirmation of the return flight, overnight stay or possibly a letter of invitation from an inhabitant of Kenya can be provided.
Urgent Kenya visa application
A visa isn’t required for children up to and including 15 years of age, that are travelling to Kenya with their parents. In other cases, except for transfers, a Kenya visa is necessary. It is possible to submit an urgent Kenya visa application. An added fee applies, however. Also, no guarantees can be given regarding delivery times, even with urgent applications.