In many ways, the world is a less secure place than it was during the period of the Cold War. The incidences of terrorism, of innocent people dying in the name of fanaticism, are more regular in recent years than ever before and Kenya has suffered along with other countries. Embassy and shopping center bombs have hit the headlines just as their perpetrators intended, and such headlines do get people thinking about their personal safety. So many people wonder if Kenya is a safe place to explore.
Kenya was the first of the African countries to experience mass tourism with large numbers of tourists wishing to see the wildlife that they had seen on the screen, in magazines and of course in zoos. Several alternatives in Kenya are open to nature lovers. The Masai Mara is probably the most famous but Tsavo, Amboseli, Samburu, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru, Mount Kenya, Lewa, Aberdare, and Treetops each offer the experience of a lifetime.
Tourism represents about 10% of the Kenyan economy and employs a similar percentage of the Kenyan workforce so the Government understands the importance of ensuring that tourists can feel safe within its borders. Here’s to why Kenya is now a safe travel destination:
Nairobi is the regular ‘’port’’ of entry for overseas tourists before they head out to see Kenya’s wildlife. Nairobi has been a terrorist target in the past but so have cities such as New York, Manchester, Paris, and Istanbul. Life has gone on in these cities just as it does and should in Nairobi.
The US Embassy bombing was two decades ago and the Westgate Shopping Mall hit in 2013, both put Nairobi in focus and certainly had an impact on the numbers looking to enjoy a Kenyan safari holiday.
At times, there have been problems in the parts of North and East Kenya because of the proximity of Somalia, a very unsettled North-East African state. None of the wildlife parks are close to the border with Somalia so those looking to do a wildlife safari need not worry about if Kenya is safe.
If you are planning a safari holiday, it is likely that you will fly into Nairobi and be collected by your tour package company to check into a local hotel. You may have time to go out during the rest of the day and night because in most instances, your real holiday will start the next day as you depart to see wildlife. As in any city, it is important to take care as a stranger but there is no reason why Nairobi will be any more dangerous than any city worldwide.
The Wildlife Viewing Regions
Out in the safari parks, there are no obvious signs of increased security, but these parks have not been a target at any time. Terrorists seeking headlines have never looked at small safari groups as a target even though there would be short term headlines from such a move. Any plans to hit tourism in the country are always likely to be aimed at population areas where the maximum impact on life and property can be made.
Travel within Kenya can be difficult at times, especially the road north to Samburu which has zebra and giraffe species unique within Kenya. The River running through the Park is a haven for wildlife in general because of animals’ need for water. Tourists report good leopard sightings in Samburu so you may start your search to see the ‘’Big Five’’ by ticking off the leopard. A further member of the ‘’Five’’ is the rhino with Lake Nakuru a well-protected place where you may well see them.
Wildlife packages vary, offering a range of destinations within the Country with the Masai Mara the top choice. It is an extension of the Serengeti in Tanzania and a place where at certain times, you can see the vast herds of wildebeest and zebra seeking fresh grazing.
Because of the great number of prey species, predators make their home in the Mara, lions, and cheetahs being the most likely to see; leopards can be elusive. The lion is your third member of the ‘’Big Five.’’
Treetops was the place where Queen Elizabeth II learned about her father’s death back in 1952, making her Queen of England as she remains today. The waterhole that it looks down on is a regular haunt for wildlife coming to drink, including elephant and buffalo, the last two of the famous ‘’Big Five.’’
Amboseli has been famous for its large herds of elephants and it sits below Mount Kilimanjaro across the border in Tanzania. It is often combined with Tsavo, East, and West. The latter two are fairly close to the Kenyan coastline and the lovely warm Indian Ocean.
Some coastal regions in North Kenya up towards Somalia have experienced problems but that should not affect tourists visiting the Country. There are coastal resorts in Southern Kenya where the chances of any problems are minimal, no more likely than in any other tourist resort in the world. Popular Kenyan holidays often begin with a safari and end on the coastline for a few days of relaxation.
If you are keen on a beach holiday and the game fishing season between July and ending before the rains around the end of April, you can make your base on the Coast and take a trip into Tsavo for a day to see wildlife as well; it will be a long day but worth it.
Terrorist acts have made an impact on tourism numbers in Kenya. The same thing applies to everywhere that has suffered at the hands of fanatics. Those seeking the unique experience of a wildlife safari have few destinations to match Kenya and therein lies its strength.
A safari is you and the animals and in the case of Kenya, probably some Masai tribes tending their cattle. Their days of being warlike have long gone. Official advice from governments is that safari regions in Kenya are safe and such advice is only ever conservative so the answer to the question posed by the title of the article is ‘’yes.’’
Travel to Kenya now and witness its wonders! Check out these tours for you!