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Kenya holiday: Safety

Don't be the stereotypical tourist in Kenya!
Remarkably, many tourists touch down on foreign soil and abandon all reason and judgement. In my opinion, you can be equipped with nothing better than common sense. Consider the roughest, poorest area that you know in your home country and apply the same rules in Kenya. There are good parts and bad; places you can freely enjoy by day but would be mad to frequent by night. Nairobi (affectionately named Nairobbery by seasoned visitors;) is one such place where it is advised to avoid the streets at night and apply caution by day. I haven't visited Nairobi but, to give you some idea, when my father was there, he was always escorted from the restaurant to the awaiting taxi... which was parked outside the door. The majority of Kenyans are very poor and if they spot a tourist sporting a Rolex and dripping with jewellery, they might just think you can afford to lose one or two items!
Common sense goes a long way.

Car-jackings: placing logs, boulders and trees across a road is a fairly common practice in Kenya. The idea being that when the driver gets out of his vehicle to remove the obstacle he is robbed. Should you encounter anything like this, don't stop, just turn the car around and head back.

Before leaving home, do some research. Read-up on the places you intend to visit and leave an itinerary with family/friends.

Keep an expired credit card in your pocket, ready to hand over to your assailant, should events take a turn for the worse (it's unlikely he'll stop to check the expiry date!)
Similarly, it's always wise to keep a few small bank notes in your pocket too - appears as if you're complying - while the bulk of your money remains hidden elsewhere.


* The 'tourist look':
- If wearing shorts - avoid socks pulled-up to the knee
- Sun-hat/cap with platitudes ('I Love Kenya' etc)
- Overt bumbag/money bag (keep hidden underneath clothes)
- Walking with map in hand (use with discretion)
- Plenty of ex-pats live in Kenya - observe them!

* Expensive accessories:
- Keep jewellery/watch hidden (ideally leave at home)
- Camera - more tricky! - when not in use, keep out of sight
- Don't store 'your world' in ONE bag
- Always have some money/cards back in hotel

More information on safety, but before you read further just remember, you have as much chance of these things happening to you in Kenya as you do in any major city in the world. Tourists get targeted - so don't look or behave like one!

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Have you been to Kenya? Is there a wildlife park or lodge that you would recommend? Write a review here about your 'big five' safari holiday and tell others about your experience - good or bad. Perhaps you know of an excellent budget campsite - or a luxury lodge that should be avoided! Otherwise, feel free to post a question. Let's share our Kenya safari wildlife experiences...

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