Foreign travel advice

Kenya

Summary

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to

  • areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border

  • Garissa County

  • Lamu County (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island)

  • areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself

  • within 15km of the coast from the Tana river down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river

The area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel doesn’t include Kenya’s safari destinations in the national parks, reserves and wildlife conservancies; including the Aberdare National Park, Amboseli, Laikipia, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara, Meru, Mount Kenya, Samburu, Shimba Hills, Tsavo, nor does it include the beach resorts of Mombasa, Malindi, Kilifi, Watamu, Diani, Lamu Island and Manda Island. Mombasa airport (Moi International Airport), Malindi airport and Manda airport aren’t included in the area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel. If you travel to Lamu Island or Manda Island, you should do so by air to Manda airport and not by road.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Kenya. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Al Shabaab, a militant group that has carried out attacks in Kenya in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia. There have been a number of attacks in Kenya in recent years, particularly in Garissa, Mandera and Lamu counties and other mainland areas close to the Somali border.

In light of security concerns, the Kenyan government has imposed a curfew in Mandera county and large parts of Lamu county, Tana River county and Garissa county for the hours 6:30pm to 6:30am. This curfew doesn’t apply to Lamu Island, Manda Island or Pate Island. Check local media before you travel.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attacks in Nairobi and the coast and resort areas of Mombasa and Malindi. The Inspector General of the Kenyan police has called on the public to adopt a higher level of vigilance and report any suspicious people or activity straight away. See Terrorism

The central county of Laikipia has seen numerous invasions by cattle herders onto privately held ranches and conservancies, in some cases leading to violence and arson. The security forces are seeking to enforce private property rights. Check the latest situation at your destination ahead of travel to the region. See Safety and Security

The re-run presidential election took place on 26 October 2017. On 6 November, the result of this election was challenged in Kenya’s Supreme Court, which has 14 days to rule on the validity of the election. Political tensions are high and demonstrations and clashes are possible. The election period has seen an increase in protests across the country, particularly in the western region, some of which have turned violent. You should exercise caution and, where possible, avoid travelling around areas where demonstrations may take place. This may include areas around polling stations, large gatherings, universities, political party headquarters, and offices of the electoral commission.

Monitor local and international media to avoid any demonstration or disturbance taking place. Leave any area of unrest quickly and don’t attempt to watch or photograph it. You should consider making personal contingency plans in case of unrest. Keep up to date with this travel advice by subscribing to email alerts. The British High Commission run an SMS alert system for British nationals. See Registration with the British High Commission

You need a visa to enter Kenya. You can either get a visa on arrival at the airport, or before you travel. To minimise time spent queuing at the airport, get a visa before you travel. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the evisas website. For other types of visa, apply at the nearest Kenyan High Commission or Embassy. For more information on different types of visas see the website of the Kenya High Commission.

There are frequent incidents of violent crime including mugging, armed robbery and carjacking, particularly in the large cities. See Crime

There is a threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. See Sea travel

100,000 British residents visited Kenya in 2015. Most visits are trouble-free.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.