| Compared to many African countries, Kenya
are mainly stable and safe for tourists, and have generally been so since independence
in the early 1960's.
The unrest in Kenya 2008
Events in Kenya in the beginning of 2008, when political-ethnical unrest following an
election led to the death of more than a thousand people, indicate how fragile the political
stability may be.
Both countries have multi-party systems, and transfers of power to new presidents have
taken place in both countries during the last years, in accordance with constitutions.
Blood has been shed during political demonstrations, though, and even if the political
systems are maturing, they still have some way to go.
Corruption is still widespread, but usually not a problem or even experienced by tourists.
Also HIV is widespread. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is vast.
For current safety information about East
Africa, check with your embassy or foreign office.
Some of Kenya's and Tanzania's neighbours have kept appearing in news reports for the
last few years, because of internal conflicts or war. (During the last 30 years, most
neighbours have had such problems.) Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia border Kenya, while
the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi border Tanzania. Uganda borders
both. Rwanda is mainly stable today, but there are still many refugees from the 1994
conflict living in Tanzania.
In the late 1970's, Tanzania fought a war with Uganda, after Uganda, led by its dictator
Idi Amin, had occupied a province in north-western Tanzania. The Tanzanian forces took
the province back, continued into Uganda and dethroned Amin.
Today, relations between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are good.
Most Kenyans and Tanzanians are friendly towards foreign visitors. Avoid problems by
not offending people. For example, don't take pictures of people without asking for
permission, don't call local staff 'boy' etc.
The police and military
Most safari-goers have no reason to see the police, and the police rarely bothers tourists.
Should you need to deal with the police, we recommend that you bring local assistance.
You may, for example, ask your tour
operator for help. In serious matters, contact your local embassy or high commission.
Corruption within the police force is not unknown.
The military is mainly involved with military matters and should cause you no problems,
as long as you don't take pictures of staff or installations.
Thefts and robberies do happen to tourists, mainly in the cities and along the coast.
has a bad reputation for crime, and is sometimes referred to as 'Nairobbery'.
You may evade such problems by playing safe. Don't move about in cities on your own,
and always go by car or taxi after nightfall. Keep car windows and doors locked. Don't
wear jewellery visibly, and don't carry valuables in bags. Don't leave valuables in
your room, but deposit them in the reception.
In the parks,
crime is not common. Thefts from rooms and tents may happen, even though we have not
experienced it ourselves or in our groups, so don't leave money, cameras or other valuables
In the late 1990's, a number of highway robberies aimed at tourist vehicles took place
in the area around Isiolo Town in Kenya, on the road to Samburu,
Shaba and Buffalo Springs National Reserves. The authorities took actions, and the
robberies ceased. Similar robberies have taken place later in some areas in northern
and north-eastern Kenya, and due to the general security conditions, travelling in convoy
in such areas may be advisable.
The traffic may be heavy in cities and major towns, but is much less so once outside
these. Traffic still claims many lives in Kenya and Tanzania, proportionally much more
than in for example Europe or America. A number of severe accidents involving busses
have been reported during the last years. Road safety is impaired by poor driving skills,
poor vehicles, poor roads, drunk driving etc.
The local tour operators that carry out most safaris in Kenya and Tanzania should operate
pofessionally. You should not tolerate issues such as the above poor driving
skills, poor vehicles and drunk driving from tour operators or their staff.
In 1998, terrorists simultaneously bombed the US embassies in Nairobi in Kenya and Dar
es Salaam in Tanzania. In 2002, a hotel in Mombasa
in Kenya was bombed, the same day as a ground-to-air missile was fired at, but missed,
an Israeli airliner taking off from the airport in Mombasa.
On most safaris, you approach the animals from within a vehicle, which is relatively
safe. Few incidents resulting in injuries or casualties from animals happen. There are
seriously dangerous animals in the parks, though. Elephants, hippos, buffalos, lions
and crocodiles all claim many African lives every year. Avoid taking risks. Stay inside
the vehicle, and don't venture into the bush on foot unless properly escorted. Do remember
that the animals are wild. Act accordingly.
More about scary animals
Before travelling to East Africa, make sure to have the appropriate vaccinations. Talk
to a doctor or clinic specialized in vaccinations. Biting mosquitoes may transfer malaria
or yellow fever. Cholera and amoebas may be caught from drinking bad water, and other
stomach problems from bad food. HIV is widespread, not only in the cities, but also
in countryside areas, including the safari regions in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.
More about health
Volcanoes and earthquakes
The Great Rift Valley cuts straight through the safari regions in Kenya and Tanzania,
and is an indicator of tectonic activity in the area; the rift is a result from tectonic
plates drifting apart. During the last few million years, a number of volcanoes have
come to life in East Africa, transformed the landscape, and subsequently gone extinct.
One volcano, Oldoinyo Lengai in northern Tanzania, is still active. During the second
half of 2007, a number of earthquakes ranging up to 6 in strength were reported from
the Oldoinyo Lengai area, and the volcano itself had unusually heavy eruptions. These
have now subsided (October 2008).
The volcano is situated in a sparsely populated area, some 80 km/50 mi from Arusha
and 180 km/110 mi from Nairobi. The quakes caused little damage, and did not affected
tourism. The eruptions prevented safe climbing of the volcano and caused fallout (some
reached the lodges on the Ngorongoro Crater rim).
Oldoinyo Lengai can be seen in the distance from the road between Ngorongoro
and on clear days, some smoke may be seen coming from the mountain.
This page in Swedish
Go to www.savannen.com for this page in Swedish.