Is it safe to go to Kenya?
January 21, 2008 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Should I go to Kenya next month?

I've been invited to a festival in Kenya next month and am concerned about my level of safety given the current political unrest. I would be staying in Nairobi for one night before being driven 300 km north to the festival grounds. I'd stay there a week and then heading back to fly out of Nairobi. It's a great opportunity however my government's travel report for Kenya is pretty alarming. Any advice?
posted by KathyK to Travel & Transportation around Kenya (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might be interested to read this ongoing conversation about Kenya.
posted by XMLicious at 7:15 AM on January 21, 2008

It isn't safe now, and *probably* won't be in a month. The government travel report's an excellent guideline.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:16 AM on January 21, 2008

I have friends and family that go to Kenya often. (And I'm going in a few months as well.) The philosophy we have regarding Nairobi is get in and then get the hell out as quickly as possible due to the violent nature of the city. (And we never leave the hotel without an escort.) The rest of Kenya is lovely and my dad is off there next week with little worry. I'd say go.
posted by meerkatty at 7:21 AM on January 21, 2008

This may be of help, it's a blog by an expat living in Nairobi. The general gist seems to be that by-and-large you can go about your daily business.
posted by gadha at 7:26 AM on January 21, 2008

I lived in Nairobi in 1998-99, so my info might be a bit stale. Still, there are some things that don't change; for instance, geographically speaking, if you go straight from the airport to central Nairobi, you won't be going anywhere near Kibera, the apparent focus of violence in the city. When you're there, stick to the hotel bar & restaurants; I was advised by my local friends never to go out in the city at night as a foreigner except with large crowds of locals.

You say you're going north... where exactly? I'm guessing Lake Turkana-ish? Likewise, that's nowhere near Kisumu/Eldoret and so you would avoid that area. But that travel warning cautioned of road blocks across the country, so... hard to say. I wouldn't go any closer to the Sudan / Ethiopia / Somali borders as those have been tense for quite some time, and Sudan in particular is probably worse now than when I was there.

It's a tough call. I got pretty brazen about all the dangers when I lived there, and I've been itching to go back for some time, but the situation there now is quite unsettling.
posted by rkent at 7:55 AM on January 21, 2008

Response by poster: rkent: We're going to Ol Ari Nyiro, Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Northern Kenya. This is the festival.
posted by KathyK at 8:01 AM on January 21, 2008

This is a blog from a friend of mine in Kenya that might help you.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:11 AM on January 21, 2008

Best answer: I would go. It sounds like it might be a once-in-a-lifetime-type opportunity, and you'll have all the more interesting stories if something untoward does happen.

My partner genuinely feared for his life recently in Stockholm, as he was caught up in a violent demonstration by neo-Nazis while looking for a restaurant. Shit happens everywhere, you can't let it stop you from living your life and enjoying new experiences.
posted by goo at 9:14 AM on January 21, 2008

I say go. I know a 20-year old who is there currently. It was scary when the violence broke out, but things are calmer now. Her family went to see her and had no problems. Africa can be sketchy, but it's amazing and you shouldn't give up this opportunity.
posted by clh at 12:02 PM on January 21, 2008

Really depends on where you're going to be. A friend was recently in the Mombasa area doing NGO work. She left to visit some friends in England and her program told her to not bother coming back until things settle down.
posted by calistasm at 8:24 PM on January 21, 2008

Kenya is very safe. Even now. Go.
posted by markovich at 9:16 PM on January 21, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your input. I've decided to go.
posted by KathyK at 5:32 AM on January 23, 2008

Watch that your travel insurance is still valid. Some companies won't pay out in case of incident if you travel against the advice of the government.
posted by randomination at 5:37 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

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