Those currently in the capital are being urged to be especially cautious following an attack on a hotel complex in the Riverside area
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is urging all UK nationals to seek advice from them before travelling to Kenya following a terror attack on a hotel complex in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Those currently in the capital are urged to be especially cautious, particularly in the Riverside area of the city where the attack took place.
“If you’re able to do so safely, consider leaving the area,” the FCO advises.
“If you’re caught up in the incident, turn any mobile phones or other devices to silent and do not put your location on social media. Remain vigilant and follow the advice of local security authorities if they are present.”
The FCO added that it will continue to update the information available on its website and to keep checking back for new details as the situation develops.
It advises against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border, Garissa County, Lamu County, areas of Tana River County and within 15km of the coast from the Tana river down to the Galana river.
This does not include Kenya’s safari destinations in the national parks, reserves and wildlife conservancies.
Around 100,000 UK residents visit Kenya every year – and most visits are entirely without incident. However, all should be aware of the following:
According to the FCO, terrorists are “very likely” to carry out attacks in Kenya, with the main threat coming from al-Shabab – the jihadi extremist group based in neighbouring country Somalia. The group’s violent assault are in response to the Kenyan military intervention in Somalia.
Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack on the hotel in Nairobi on Tuesday.
The Inspector General of the Kenyan Police reported that a major terrorist attack, targeting Nairobi, had been prevented by Kenyan police in February 2018.
Attacks could occur at places often visited by tourists, such as hotels, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, supermarkets, shopping centres and sporting events, as well as in coastal areas and transport hubs. Places of worship, such as churches and mosques, have also been targetted.
The FCO warns travellers to be particularly vigilant while they are out in these areas and to report any suspicious activity to local security departments.
Those travelling to Mandera county, Garissa county, Lamu county and Tana River county need to be aware that there is a government-imposed curfew between the hours of 6.30pm to 6.30am local time.
This curfew doesn’t apply to Lamu Island, Manda Island or Pate Island.
Travellers are advised to check with local media before travelling there.
In November 2017, President Kenyatta was inaugurated for a second five-year term. The news followed a dramatic election period that saw increasing numbers of protests sprout up around the country. Some of these turned violent.
While the situation has quietened down, the FCO says that further protests are still possible.
It tells travellers to “exercise caution and, where possible, avoid travelling around areas where demonstrations may take place.”
Large gatherings, universities, political party headquarters and electoral commission offices should be avoided.
Mugging, kidnapping, car-jacking and armed robbery occur regularly in Kenya, particularly in larger cities such as Mombasa and Nairobi.
Foreign nationals are generally not targets. However, the FCO notes that “incidents of violent crime have resulted in the death of several British nationals in recent years”.
Rates of crime are high in the slum areas of Nairobi, the Old Town of Mombasa and around the Likoni Ferry, which serves as a link between the city and the southern resorts.
Bag snatching is also common around transport hubs.
Tourists should be vigilant “at all times and follow any security advice given by your employer or your hosts.”
It also notes that tourists should be aware of thieves posing as private security or police officers. Always ask to see identification, and no not accept food or drink from strangers in case it is drugged.
You should also seek advice from your tour operator or the Kenya Tourism Federation (telephone: + 254 20 800100) and insist that the British High Commission is informed straight away.
Those travelling by road can drive for up to three months in Kenya using a UK driving license.
Road conditions are poor, and drivers should travel with the windows up and the doors locked.
Some concerns have been raised about the Wilson airport in Nairobi, which is mainly used for domestic and charter flights.
The FCO advises travellers to be vigilant when transiting airports.
There is some risk of piracy, particularly around the Somali coast, if you are travelling by sea.
A Safety and Communication Centre operated by the Kenya Tourism Federation gives up to the minute tourist advice as well as providing help in an emergency. You can contact the Centre on +254 20 800100 or by e-mail to: [email protected].
For more information and advice on travelling by sea, click here.
You will need a visa to enter Kenya, which you can get at the airport on arrival or before you travel. For convenience, the latter option is advised.
Apply for single entry and transit visas on the evisas website.
Other types of visa will need to be applied for via the Kenyan High Commission or Embassy.
Travellers should also make personal contingency plans in case they are caught up in any unrest in the country. You can keep up to date with the latest travel advice in Kenya by subscribing to the FCO’s email alerts.