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Is Kenya Safe To Travel To? (And Safety Advice)

Is Kenya Safe?

You probably have concerns for your safety, are worried about catching a disease from the local water or bugs, and have other concerns that come along with traveling to a foreign country. 

These are valid concerns and ones that I admittedly had before traveling to Kenya. 

But let me assure you that Kenya is safe. 


There are areas that you should avoid, things you should know before traveling to Kenya, and overall safety tips that can help you during your journeys. 

During my entire trip to Kenya, I was met with nothing but kindness and a sense of security. Even though I did things that you shouldn’t do (such as walking to a bar at night with no phone signal (TWICE!)). Even though I did this, I felt safe and I want to help ease your mind when traveling to Kenya. 

I understand your hesitations and I want to assure you that Kenya is a safe, beautiful, and amazing country that I encourage you to visit and don’t let your fears stop you. 

However, just like any other country, it is essential to proceed with a high level of caution, so let’s get into it. 

Tips to Stay Safe In Kenya 

While Kenya is generally safe, there are precautions that you can take to ensure you have a safe trip. 

I’ve made TONS of rookie mistakes when traveling to Kenya, so I encourage you to know these best Kenya travel tips that I wish I had known before traveling to Kenya so you can ensure a safe trip. 

Is Kenya Safe? Safety Travel Tips

1. Know Your Health Precautions:

Before traveling to Kenya, make sure you are up to date on your vaccines. Including the Yellow Fever vaccine, which is a requirement for entry into Kenya. 

Also, try to get anti-malaria medicine which can be prescribed by your doctors.

Always consult with a healthcare professional well before your trip to get the necessary vaccinations and prescriptions.

2. Use Insect Repellent:

Malaria is a very real thing in Kenya and is easily preventable with the appropriate precautions. 

Use insect repellent with at least 25-30% DEET and apply it to all exposed skin. 

It’s especially important during early morning and evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.

I also recommend using a permethrin-based spray, which can easily be applied to your clothes a couple of days before your trip to Kenya. 

Please note that the permethrin-based spray is only used for your clothes and camping gear and is different from the bug spray that you would use on your body.   

3. Avoid Drinking Local Tap Water:

The majority of local tap water in Kenya might be contaminated due to pollution and is unsafe to drink. 

Use only bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth. Make sure to also ask for drinks in a can or without ice. 

When showering, be careful not to put the water in your mouth or eyes. 

4. Be Careful With Produce:

Be cautious with consuming local produce. Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables unless you can peel or cook them yourself. 

Most hotels or safari lodges have meals, and these foods are generally safe to eat, just try to avoid any raw produce (or salads) that cannot be peeled or was not cooked.

5. Get Travelers Insurance:

Whenever I travel, I use traveler insurance and I highly recommend that you have it, especially when traveling to Kenya. These best travel insurance companies can help protect you against common travel issues and cover you in any emergencies related to medical, theft, and trip cancellation. 

Trust me, it’s a small investment into your safety, but will pay off if you ever need it. 

6. Avoid Flashy Displays of Wealth:

To minimize the risk of theft, keep expensive jewelry and gadgets out of sight. 

Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places, and do not put your phone in your back pocket. 

If possible, use a hidden money belt to store cash and cards which can help prevent people from pickpocketing you without you ever noticing. There are tons of safety solo travel essentials that I personally used to help me stay safe during my trip and can help you as well. 

7. Dress Appropriately: 

Try to dress modestly whenever possible to avoid drawing unwanted attention. 

Especially, if you’re going to be out in the city of Nairobi and walking around in public. 

Unfortunately, one of the days in Nairobi I wore a mid-thigh length dress, received a lot of catcalls, and felt uncomfortable by the unwanted attention. I was fine physically, but annoyed at some of the comments or stares. 

So I urge you to dress appropriately just for an extra layer of safety and a feeling of comfortableness. 

8. Avoid walking at night and/or by yourself. 

Please do not be like me and walk to a bar at night with no phone signal. Fortunately, I was with a couple of friends that I trusted, and we all made it to the bar and hotel safely. 

Instead, please call a trusted taxi service and always travel in a trusted large group any time you are walking (especially at night). 

9. Use safe tour operators: 

I am a big fan of using one of these best tour groups for solo travelers or other reputable local tour operators. Using a tour operator can ensure you have a safe and fun trip without any of the hassle of planning or coordinating a trip. 

What To Expect When Traveling To Kenya?

When you’re heading to Kenya, you may not know what to expect. 

But let me tell you, Kenyan culture is vibrant and the natural beauty is evident everywhere. You’ll find that Kenyans are incredibly welcoming, friendly, and always ready to greet you with a smile. 

(Seriously, Kenyans are one of the happiest people I have ever met). 

But before my trip, I admit, I had some safety concerns. Most prominently, my grandma begged me not to go, and added an extra level of anxiety. 

But throughout my trip, I felt incredibly secure. 

At the airport, you might see straight away government officers carrying large guns openly while you grab your bags at baggage claim. 

As long as you don’t take pictures of police officers or any government buildings, they are friendly and add a sense of security. 

Outside of the airport, there are extensive safety measures in place everywhere. Hotels, bars, national parks, and even souvenir shops had tall fences topped with barbed wire, and guards – openly armed. 

This was very new for me to see, but helped me feel safe and secure at all times. 

If you’re like most tourists, a wildlife safari is a must-do activity in Kenya. These safaris are in secluded national parks, often a 15+ minute drive from major roads, enveloping you in the safety of nature. 

Many parks even have campground or hotel accommodations inside, allowing you to stay safely immersed in the wild.

The best part of the safaris is that they are safely conducted by expert local guides who are just incredible human beings. 

My guide, Peter, from African Horizons (not sponsored) was so incredibly kind, and knowledgeable, and went out of his way to help me at any time. My guides also helped me feel safe the entire time and their “awesomeness” was the highlight of my trip. 

DV hugging my tour guide in Kenya
Hugging THE BEST tour director while on my solo trip to Kenya

Every traveler I met had high praise for their guides from across various companies and said that they felt safe and well-cared-for throughout their safari experiences.

Common Scams To Avoid in Kenya

Here are the most common scams to watch out for when you visit Kenya:

1. Fake Tour Operators: 

Some individuals may falsely claim to offer safari tours or excursions at an insanely cheap price. 

To avoid this, always book through officially recognized and well-reviewed tour companies. Avoid booking excursions from a stranger who comes up to you at the airport or in public places. 

Always check the business online reviews and credentials before agreeing to a up front payment.

2. Being Overcharged: 

As a tourist, it’s easy to be overcharged in markets, taxis, and even souvenir stores. 

This happens a lot, especially if you can be easily spotted as a tourist. To prevent this, clearly identify the price before buying an item or getting into a taxi. 

Also, in Kenya, it’s common practice to bargain. So get comfortable negotiating prices down, otherwise, you will end up paying 3-4 times the actual value of a price. 

I have seen it happen countless times during my trip to Kenya, so if there is not an obvious sticker price on an item, then please get comfortable barging. 

3. Begging Scams: 

Individuals, sometimes even children, may use emotional stories to solicit money. 

While it’s important to be compassionate, it’s okay to politely decline and keep moving. 

Be aware that some people may even approach the car and tap on the window to beg or sell you something. It’s happened to me a few times, and it’s nothing to be afraid of. 

Simply keep your car doors locked, windows rolled up, and slowly drive away.  

4. Credit Card Fraud: 

Avoid using your credit card in less reputable establishments. It’s safer to use cash (preferably the local Kenyan Shilling KES currency) in smaller shops or markets. 

During and after your trip, monitor your bank activities and report any unusual or unauthorized activities.

Please note that many of these scams don’t just happen in Kenya, but can easily happen anywhere in the world. So remain vigilant and trust your gut. 

What Areas Should You Avoid?

Most likely, you are visiting the popular tourist areas, and they are all extremely safe. However, it’s crucial to know the high risk areas in Kenya that are best avoided. 

For instance, try to avoid at all cost traveling near the Kenya-Somalia border. The U.S. Department of State Kenya Travel Advisory page provides detailed insights on areas to avoid and why.

Try to also avoid traveling to Lamu County and areas within Tana River and Kilifi Counties. This is the coastal areas between Kenya and Somalia (and again should be avoided).  

Try to also avoid areas with political gatherings, which may have an increased risk of civil unrest or other serious accidents to occur.

In my experience, sticking to well-known tourist areas and following local advice and monitoring the local news kept me safe. 

When in doubt, ask your local guide, tour operator, hotel receptionist, or other locals that you feel you can trust. 

Kenya Travel Advisory: Helpful Links

For the latest travel advisories and resources, check out these official links. They provide valuable, up-to-date information to keep you informed and prepared:

These resources will help you stay safe and enjoy your Kenyan adventure with peace of mind. 

Remember, a little preparation goes a long way!


I hope that this article has both put your mind at ease and informed you on how to proactively stay safe in Kenya. 

I loved my travels to Kenya, and I am counting down the days until I can go back. So, while every traveler’s experience is unique, I can say that Kenya felt safe to me. 

Of course, it’s always important to be cautious, but don’t let fear hold you back from experiencing the beauty and warmth of Kenya.

Enjoy your trip and stay safe my friends!

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