Safety Tips in Kenya

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Kenya

  • firedawg550's Profile Photo

    Matatus

    by firedawg550 Written Nov 10, 2007

    Matatus are mini buses used to transport locals to work and such. They always blastin' music, each one is original and has a name. They are a lot cheaper than taxis, but if you take one, WATCH YOUR STUFF!!! Pick pockets make their living on these things.

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    Do not use your home phone-operator

    by croisbeauty Written Oct 9, 2007

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    After I came back home from my last year trip to Kenya, had to pay very huge bill for my calls. Famous roaming cost me very dear, just to mentione, a minute of phoning between Kenya and Croatia costs about 2 euros.
    This year, before getting to Kenya, I bought phone in Dubai (N72 cost me less than 200 euros) and have used Celtel prepaid card for all incoming and outcoming calls. No need to say how much cheaper it was.

    Celtel prepaid card

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  • the Yellow Fever vaccination racket

    by LFChachere Updated Apr 1, 2007

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    Before I went on my trip, I was advised to get a yellow fever shot by the "knowledgeable" sources in the US. The Center for Disease control will tell you that all of Kenya has yellow fever risk (although I think they actually admit that Nairobi is too high an altitude, but then on the map they simply color the whole country yellow.)
    I actually find it somewhat interesting that the CDC can claim that "all of Angola" has yellow fever risk, while "none of Namibia" has risk, as though these mosquitoes are minding the customs agents and stopping right at the international borders.

    I asked the driver who toured our group whether HE gets yellow fever shots (after all, he lives there, and is constantly travelling around the country, so should have far more exposure than a tourist on a 2 week vacation) .. He told me, that he would get a yellow fever shot "only if travelling to the remote areas, in the northwest part of the country, near the Ugandan border."

    In other words, the Serenegetti, Amboseli, and all the other places where 99% of the organized tours venture, probably have no yellow fever risk, according to tour guide who lives there. I felt very scammed after hearing this.

    People can actually get sick and die simply from side-effects from this vaccination (an American in our group of about 12 actually was very sick for two days after receiving the shot) , so it makes me wonder why they push it so much. Well one other interesting thing I found out, was that the cost of this vaccination at a doctor's office in the United States, was about 100 times the cost of getting this shot in Nairobi, so perhaps it's business interests that are promoting the vaccine.
    ---
    Now on the subject of malaria, that IS a serious risk, and the tour guide told me that he takes prophylaxis once per month.

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  • A Few Warnings

    by aurora77 Written Dec 12, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Here are a few warnings:
    1) You really should take maleria pills, but don't take them on an empty stomach! Make sure to have a granola bar or something first or else you will get sick. Vomiting on the side of a dirt road in rural Kenya is not a fun thing to do!

    2) When shopping in small villages, people do get aggresive. When I was a younger, people really did grab me away from my mother to put necklaces on me, try to sell thing etc. On one occasion, someone broke the back window of our van to try and sell us things!

    3) If you have only one thing to give a child, don't. This is because many others will come to get whatever you are handing out. You do not want to run out of pens or markers when the village children and waiting for a gift.

    4) Do not take pictures of ANYONE without their permission. In Kenya, it is believed by most people in the Massai tribe that a photograph will take away a part of the soul. Also, do not take any pictures of animals in the villages without permission, unless you are willing to pay a few dollars/shillings for it.

    5) Don't tease the wild animals! Having an angry elephant charge at you will not be a fun addition to your trip (trust me, I know)

    6) Remember not to eat dairy products or fruits or vegetables or drink water. Bringing some canned peaches or pears is a good idea.

    7) Bring some medicine to help car sickness if you plan on driving in Kenya. The roads are extremely bumpy.

    You will find warnings similar to this anywhere you go so don't cancel your trip to Kenya because of it. It will be a trip to remember (In a good way, if you're smart)

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Safari

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Bargaining

    by croisbeauty Written Oct 4, 2006

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    Remember, first price asked is always much too high! Take in consideration also that you'll get alot of local paper money for one euro only (1€ = 92 shs). Don't behave yourself like a millioner. Be persistent and take your time. Checking the prices for items in the local shops might help you to get idea what to pay to a street vendors. However, don't be too cruel at the end of bargaining because all this people are very poor and each extra euro mean a lot to them.

    Massai vendors beach vendors street/market vendors

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  • tinsk's Profile Photo

    Nairobi

    by tinsk Written Sep 29, 2006

    ...don't walk alone at night! Don't walk too much "in slum"; "working ladies" are realy the pest-even in the middle of the day! AIDS is also great danger -when I saw those young European girls age 20 how they "pick up" the Kenya beach- rastaboys I was realy worry (sorry -not all boys are...)...

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    Robbery's

    by Acirfa Updated Sep 22, 2006

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    Do take care in this country, the city may look enticing in an African sort of way but it is full of conmen, pick pockets and who knows what type of other villan. It is best not to venture out of a night and certainly leave all your valuables at home, it is pure temptation for these people who live hand to mouth in most cases. If you cannot resist the temptation of the city then please take a guide with you or go on an organised trip.

    2006 Update

    On this visit, I ventured into downtown Nairobi, Mombasa and some of the African villages and felt confident to do so. Of course there are still people, as in any big city, who will attempt to rob and steal. However, appearing confident, even better if you can speak a few words of Swahili making oneself a little more local and behave sensibly then you will be fine.

    In fact, if you yell out thief, mugger or such, be aware that the culprit will be chased, caught and a thorough beating issued by the locals who are intolerant of criminals

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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Wild Dust-devils!

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 17, 2006

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    In the afternoon heat, when both man and beast were relaxing in the shade, a common sight on the flat landscape of Amboseli National Park were large dust-devils swirling away with terrific force! We were never actually caught by any of them at the campsite, and when outside driving around the park, you were not supposed to get out of your vehicle. In those cases, we just waited out these things inside the car as they continued on their random paths, tearing up anything that was not tied down.

    A whirling dervish whips across the Amboseli plain
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Cheeky Vervet Monkeys!

    by Bwana_Brown Written Sep 17, 2006

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    One thing we had to be careful with at Amboseli Lodge were the naughty Vervet Monkeys who were always on the alert to grab something if you turned your back for a second! These two managed to sneak into our Banda and ran off with an Avocado pear from our supplies. Once they have got their hands on something, you can kiss it goodbye!

    Vervet Monkeys with our Avocado!
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Hungry and angry people

    by croisbeauty Written Sep 11, 2006

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    I am curious character, want to see and explore the places I visit and like to do it on my way. My longtime experience have learned me that organized city tours are, more or less, waisting of time. At the same time, I've learned not to belive in gossips and not to have predjudices.
    Before departing to Kenya, and during my stay there, I've heard lots of awarnings; do not do this or that, do not eat or drink anything you get out of your hotel restaurant, do not stay out of your hotel resort when dark, and many more similar flat nonsenses. In two weeks of my staying in Kenya, I didn't have any kind of inconvinience, especially not with the locals, and my life was never in danger.
    There is, however, small piece of the road, north of Mombasa in direction to Shanzu, where, as I was told, lots of hungry and angry people live. The very same kind of slums I've seen in the outskirts of Nairobi too. My local friends told me to stay away from this slums, even during the day, because this are desperados and they wont hesitate to plunder you.

    hungry and angry people

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  • Gentex's Profile Photo

    Security

    by Gentex Written Jul 2, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nairobi at night is not a safe city. Hotel staff told us not to walk out in the street alone, only in groups and in a car. Hotel doors were closed at night, with armed guards patrolling the surroundings, just like in Masai Mara, although in that case it was not your money what they were looking for, but you, as a dinner!!

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  • Krumel's Profile Photo

    Watch out for Mozzies at dusk and dawn

    by Krumel Written Jun 17, 2006

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    Mozzies are especially active during dusk and dawn, and they are attracted by dark clothes and perfume. Therefore the best prevention against getting bitten is to cover up during those hours, and to wear lightly coloured clothes.

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  • kucha's Profile Photo

    Don't Ship Purchases Home!

    by kucha Written May 24, 2006

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    Don't plan on having souvenirs shipped home. I have friends who never received their packages. Shipping problems are probably less likely if you buy from the better galleries, but make sure they use a reputable shipping company.

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  • kucha's Profile Photo

    What Not to Do

    by kucha Written May 24, 2006

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    Do pronounce the name of the country KEHN-yah (KEEN-yah, which is the old British colonial pronunciation, may offend residents).

    Don't photograph the people or their homes and livestock without asking permission first (don't be offended if you're asked to pay for the privilege—it's customary in some areas).

    Don't change money on the black market. The illegal money changers are often quick-change artists, and the police will arrest you if they even suspect you're changing money illicitly (to be safe, don't even hand money to a friend in public). Also, it's illegal to export Kenyan currency, which, in any case, is difficult to exchange upon departure.

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  • Osmun79's Profile Photo

    "I know we just met, but I LOVE YOU!"

    by Osmun79 Written Mar 28, 2006

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    One thing unnerving to men and women alike, especially white tourists, is the rather upfront way in which a Kenyan will try and get to your money. White women, especially blondes, should not be suprised if a nice young african man starts a conversation and then offers to show you around. Should you follow him, you will most likely be safe, but expect to be less a few shillings and given a marriage proposal. Most men are rather innocent charmers and will not grab any body parts, unlike on the coastal beaches. Occcasionally the offer is for "Some small change" for school fees.

    This is also known to happen on Buses and Matatus and often to women waiting on the side of a street. I even had a woman at the place I was working profess her live and desire to be with me (yes in that way) after a seemingly innocent lunch.

    The best defense is to mention you are married if you are and point to a ring, or discuss how you don't think your Fiancee would approve. Be polite but firm and direct and you should be able to deflect this unwanted attention.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Singles
    • Arts and Culture

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Kenya Warnings and Dangers

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