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10 Fascinating Facts About Kenya

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Located right along the equator in East Africa is one of the continent’s better-known countries: Kenya. The beautiful country is a popular travel destination. Here are some fascinating facts to learn about Kenya, Africa before heading there on vacation.

Kenya Has Two Official Languages

The two official languages of Kenya are Swahili and English. However, the 43 million people living in the country speak a variety of other languages. Many speak one or more of a dozen indigenous languages in addition to or instead of the two primary languages.

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Kenya Is the Birthplace of Humans

Although it’s hard to tell definitively, scientific evidence points to the theory that the area of Northern Kenya and Tanzania is the original birthplace of humans. To date, the earliest bones of humans have been discovered here.

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Tourism Is Big Business in Kenya

Tourism is a big income generator in Kenya. Though not the largest contributor to the nation’s GDP, tourism attracts millions of people from all over the world. Many tourists visit to check out the elephants, lions, leopards and other wildlife native to the area.

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Kenyans Drink Beverages at Room Temperature

While grabbing a drink from the refrigerator or adding ice to a beverage might be common practice in the United States, it’s not so common in Kenya. Many Kenyans do not own a refrigerator. That means they typically drink beverages and store their food at room temperature.

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Many Children Don’t Go to School

Like the United States, Kenya has a public school system that’s open to all children. However, school isn’t compulsory, and many children don’t even have time to go. Instead, they must help their families by tending to cattle, farming, transporting water and cooking.

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Kenyans Don’t Drink Coffee

If you’re a coffee drinker, there’s a good chance that you’ve tasted coffee beans from Kenya. It’s one of the biggest crops and moneymakers in the nation, but the people there don’t drink it often or at all. It’s a huge product to export, and Kenyans believe it should all be exported. They prefer to drink tea and beer instead — both at room temperature.

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Kenya Gained Its Independence in 1963

Like many other African countries, Kenya has had a tumultuous history when it comes to government. It only gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963. In 2010, it went through another shift when the country’s new constitution split the nation into 47 separate counties.

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Kenyan Men Can Have Multiple Wives

It’s not uncommon for Kenyan men to have multiple wives. Unlike the United States where people can only have one spouse, men in Kenya can have as many as they wish. However, it comes at a price. Dowries are common practice in Kenya. Men must pay a dowry to their brides’ families before they can wed. Dowries start at 10 cows.

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Kenya Is Home to the Big Five

The Big Five refers to five animals that early game hunters identified as the most dangerous and hardest to hunt. Many are endangered, and it is illegal to hunt them. However, people who visit Kenya for a safari hope to capture a glimpse and a photograph of these majestic creatures. The Big Five are lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros.

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Kenya Has Diverse Ecosystems

When many people visualize Kenya, they picture the dry, grassy savannas or desert ecosystems. While these are both present in Kenya, it’s landscape also includes swamps, mountains and forests with a wide range of plant and wildlife.

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Caution November 9, 2023

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Travel Advisory July 31, 2023

Kenya - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution in Kenya due to  crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping .  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do Not Travel to: Kenya-Somalia border counties and some coastal areas, due to terrorism and kidnapping .

Areas of Turkana County, due to crime .

Reconsider Travel to: Nairobi neighborhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera, due to crime and kidnapping .

Certain areas of Laikipia County, due to criminal incursions and security operations , reconsider travel through Nyahururu, Laikipia West, and Laikipia North Sub-counties.

Country Summary :  Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time.  Local police often lack the capability to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents and terrorist attacks.  Emergency medical and fire service is also limited. Be especially careful when traveling after dark anywhere in Kenya due to crime.

Terrorist attacks have occurred with little or no warning, targeting Kenyan and foreign government facilities, tourist locations, transportation hubs, hotels, resorts, markets/shopping malls, and places of worship. Terrorist acts have included armed assaults, suicide operations, bomb/grenade attacks, and kidnappings.

Demonstrations may occur, blocking key intersections and resulting in widespread traffic jams.  Strikes and other protest activity related to political and economic conditions occur regularly, particularly in periods near elections.  Violence associated with demonstrations, ranging from rock throwing to police using deadly force, occurs around the country; it is mostly notable in western Kenya and Nairobi.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating in the vicinity of the Kenyan-Somali border, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM).  For more information, U.S. citizens should consult  Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notice .

Some schools and other facilities acting as cultural rehabilitation centers are operating in Kenya with inadequate or nonexistent licensing and oversight.  Reports of minors and young adults being held in these facilities against their will and physically abused are common.

Read the  country information page  for additional information about travel to Kenya.

If you decide to travel to Kenya:

  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Make contingency plans to leave the country. in case of an emergency Review the  Traveler’s Checklist ..
  • Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable).  Keep original documents in a secure location.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Kenya.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.

Specified Areas - Level 4: Do Not Travel U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to the below areas.

Kenya-Somalia Border Counties:

  • Mandera due to kidnapping and terrorism.
  • Wajir due to kidnapping and terrorism.
  • Garissa due to kidnapping and terrorism.

Coastal Areas:

  • Tana River county due to kidnapping and terrorism.
  • Lamu county due to kidnapping and terrorism.
  • Areas of Kilifi County north of Malindi due to kidnapping and terrorism.

Turkana County:

  • Road from Kainuk to Lodwar due to crime and armed robbery, which occur frequently.

Specified Areas - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Nairobi neighborhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera:

  • Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time.  Street crime can involve multiple armed assailants.  Local police often lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

Laikipia County:

  • Certain areas of Laikipia County, due to criminal incursions and security operations, reconsider travel through Nyahururu, Laikipia West, and Laikipia North Sub-counties.

Consider carefully whether to use the Likoni ferry in Mombasa due to safety concerns.

Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Embassy Messages

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Quick Facts

Yellow Fever

Maximum-100,000 Kenyan Shillings

Embassies and Consulates

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United Nations Avenue Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya Telephone: +(254) (20) 363-6451 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(254) (20) 363-6170 Email:   [email protected]

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Kenya.

All visitors are required to obtain an e-visa before departing for Kenya. If you require a multiple-entry visa, be sure to apply well in advance of travel.

  Required for Entry:

  • Passport with at least two blank pages, six months’ validity, and a Kenyan e-visa.
  • You should have proof of yellow fever immunizations , or you may be denied entry.

Obtain the latest information on visas, as well as any additional details regarding entry requirements, from the Embassy of Kenya , 2249 R Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 387-6101, or the Kenyan Consulates General in Los Angeles and New York City.

Working/Volunteering in Kenya : In December 2018, the Kenyan government announced a new work permit program that requires foreigners to apply for permits and visas from their country of origin. You should submit work permit applications at least 6-8 weeks prior to travel. Once in Kenya, submit a renewal application at least 90 days before your work permit expires.

For additional information on immunizations and detailed country-specific recommendations on vaccinations and other health precautions for travelers to Kenya, visit the CDC’s Travelers’ Health website .

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Kenya.

Find information on dual nationality , prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

You should review the Department of State’s Travel Advisory for Kenya before considering travel to Kenya.

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are using increasingly less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

Terrorist threats remain high in Kenya. Terrorist attacks in Kenya have cumulatively resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of people, including foreigners. Attacks have occurred in periods leading up to and during religious holidays and days of national significance. However, an attack is possible at any time. Please note these recent events:

  • In January 2020, terrorists attacked a U.S. Department of Defense facility on the coast, killing several individuals and destroying seven aircraft.
  • In January 2019, a small bomb exploded in Nairobi’s Central Business District, slightly injuring two people.
  • In January 2019, a terrorist attack on the Dusit D2 Hotel complex in the Westlands area of Nairobi resulted in the death of 21 people, including one U.S. citizen.
  • In April 2019, two Cuban doctors were kidnapped from a rural area in Mandera County and were reportedly transported to Somalia.

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Regions to Avoid :

  • The northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and the northeastern area of Marsabit (including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Moyale, and Liboi).
  • All parts of the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu, and all areas of Kilifi County north of Malindi.
  • The road between Kainuk and Lodwar in Turkana County due to banditry.
  • The Nairobi neighborhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera.
  • Avoid using the Likoni ferry due to safety and security concerns.

Crime: Crime in Kenya is a regular occurrence and Kenyan authorities have limited capacity to deter and investigate such acts.

  • Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including home invasions, burglaries, armed carjackings, muggings, and kidnappings can occur at any time.
  • “Matatus” (privately-operated public transportation buses) tend to be targeted since they carry multiple passengers.
  • Cases of violent street crime targeting Westerners occur in many seemingly safe areas of Nairobi, ranging from simple muggings to kidnapping and extortion, including attacks during daylight hours. U.S. citizens using off-the-street taxis have also been victims of robbery, kidnapping, and extortion.

Forced Marriage is known to occur in Kenya.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) and Cutting (C): This act is known to occur in Kenya. It is a federal crime to perform FGM/C in the United States on any minor younger than 18 years old, punishable by fines and up to five years in prison. It is also a criminal offense knowingly to take a minor younger than 18 years old outside of the United States for the purpose of performing FGM/C (so-called “vacation cutting”).

Sexual Assault is prevalent in Kenya and frequently goes unreported.

  • Victims of sexual assault may have difficulty receiving adequate social or medical support .
  • While sexual assault is mostly frequently associated with women, sexual assault of men also occurs in Kenya and often goes unreported because of the stigma attached to this type of assault.

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State and the  FBI pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Kenya. Scams are often initiated through dating apps, internet postings/profiles, or by unsolicited emails and letters.

Common scams include:

  • Romance and online dating (Check this online dating scam infographic ).
  • Someone you have not met in person quickly offers friendship, romance, and/or marriage.
  • Job solicitations asking for a processing fee in advance.
  • A person asking for money to pay hospital bills, visa fees, or legal expenses and/or seeming to have many sudden problems overseas.
  • Elaborate scam business opportunities, including fraudulent government procurements. Recently, scammers have been impersonating legitimate companies and ordering commodities shipped through Mombasa with payment terms. Companies are encouraged to independently verify the purchasing company to confirm the order prior to shipping goods without pre-payment. Please contact the Commercial Section at [email protected] for assistance verifying procurement opportunities and Kenyan buyers.
  • Use good judgement and caution on social media and dating websites. If you decide to meet someone in person that you have connected with online, be sure to set up the meeting in a safe and public place, and let someone know where you are.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Report crimes to the local police at 999, 112 or 911, and contact the U.S. Embassy during business hours at +254 (0) 20-363-6451, or after-hours at +254 (0) 20-363-6000.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Kenya has assistance programs for victims of crime sponsored by nongovernmental organizations. These programs include but are not limited to the following:

  • Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) has been providing specialized medical treatment and psychosocial support to low-income survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
  • Healthcare Assistance Kenya (HAK) offers a 24-hour Rapid Response Service to women and children survivors of Gender Based Violence at its Call Centre as well as a 24 hour toll-free hotline for sexual and gender based violence assistance.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism: The Kenyan Tourism Regulatory Authority has oversight for the country’s tourism sector. The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities vary by region. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. Game parks and related safari tours with well-established operators generally have been reported to be safe.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Kenya are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • Kenya enacted strict legislation regulating the sale and consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.
  • Penalties for possessing banned wildlife items under Kenya’s Wildlife Act include large fines and severe penalties, including life imprisonment.
  • Violations of the Kenya Firearms Act are punishable from one year to life imprisonment. Possession of any amount of ammunition can incur a minimum seven-year sentence.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Customs regulations are strict on importing certain items into or out of Kenya such as antiquities, medications, business equipment, currency, ivory, rhino horn, and other wildlife products including hides, skins, and teeth.

U.S. citizens have been detained and arrested for attempting to bring contraband into Kenya. Contact the Embassy of Kenya or one of Kenya’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Alcoholic Drinks Control Act of 2010, which regulates when and where alcoholic drinks may be consumed in public, states that a person found by local law enforcement authorities to be intoxicated or disorderly in or near public areas, including some businesses, may be arrested without warrant and brought to court for trial.

  • If convicted, the maximum fine is 500 Kenyan shillings and/or imprisonment for a maximum of three months.
  • If convicted three times of the same charge within a 12-month period, you will be required to participate in mandatory rehabilitation at your expense.

More information on this law may be found on Kenya's substance abuse website, NACADA .

Tobacco Control Act 2007 regulates public smoking and the marketing and sale of tobacco products in Kenya. In public places, smoking is allowed only in designated smoking areas.

Currency: You may depart the country with up to 100,000 Kenyan shillings.

  • Destruction of Kenyan currency, even in small amounts, is illegal, and almost always results in arrest and a fine.
  • You should ensure that your U.S. currency bills are relatively new, as banks in Kenya have been known not to accept older U.S. currency.

Cultural Rehabilitation Centers: Some schools and other facilities acting as cultural rehabilitation centers are operating in Kenya with inadequate or nonexistent licensing and oversight. Reports of minors and young adults being held in these facilities against their will and being physically, sexually, and emotionally abused are common. U.S. citizens are encouraged to thoroughly research these facilities and talk to others who have used them. They should have a plan for an early return if necessary.

Safaris : Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) , the governing body of Kenya’s national parks, requires all tour operators and safari lodges carry nationally mandated insurance. You should:

  • Inquire whether prospective safari camps or tour operators are in compliance with this requirement;
  • Observe all local or park regulations and exercise appropriate caution in unfamiliar surroundings; and
  • Thoroughly check the qualifications and safety record of all tourist lodges and guides before engaging their services and venturing into the wild in their care.

Firearms: Import, possession, and use of firearms is governed by the Kenya Firearms Act.

  • Import of all firearms, including sporting guns, is prohibited in Kenya except in accordance with the terms of an import permit.
  • Possession of firearms while in Kenya requires a firearms certificate, which can be difficult to obtain.
  • Violations of the Kenya Firearms Act are punishable from one year to life imprisonment. Possession of any amount of ammunition is punishable by a minimum seven-year sentence.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTQI+ Travelers: Kenyan law criminalizes same-sex sexual activity. The Kenyan penal code criminalizes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature,” which is interpreted to prohibit consensual same-sex sexual activity and specifies a maximum penalty of 14 years of imprisonment. A separate statute specifically criminalizes sex between men and specifies a maximum penalty of 21 years of imprisonment. Police have detained persons under these laws, particularly suspected sex workers. LGBTQI+ advocacy organizations, such as the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, have been permitted to register and conduct activities. However, societal discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread.

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:   See our travel tips for Women Travelers .

Travelers with Disabilities:  Kenyan law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.The Government of Kenya has not consistently enforced these provisions and implementation has been slow.  Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States.  Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, and general infrastructure.

  • Access to government or private buildings , medical facilities, restaurants, or other public or private facilities is limited.
  • Accessibility to public transportation and taxis is limited. There is no functioning bus system in Nairobi, but rather an extensive use of vans (“matatus”) that travel along designated routes; taxis are also used, as are motorcycles serving as taxis (“boda bodas”).
  • Public transportation and taxis do not accommodate wheelchairs; these vehicles are most often hailed from the side of busy roads.
  • Footpaths along the side of roads are generally unpaved, bumpy, dirt paths, and road crossings are often unmarked.

Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Kenya.

Medical services are adequate in Nairobi for most medical conditions and emergencies.

In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in or near the major cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu. First responders generally are unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance and carry emergency numbers. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage .

For emergency services in Kenya, dial 999 , 112 , or 911 .

Ambulance services are:

  • Not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Eldoret;
  • Not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment; and
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. You may need to call your insurance company or pay and get reimbursed.

Surrogacy: Surrogacy programs in Kenya are unregulated and families have reported difficulties obtaining required legal documentation from Kenyan authorities and taking children out of Kenya; difficulties may increase if a parent is single.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Government of Kenya to ensure the medication is legal in Kenya.

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Schistosomiasis
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Kenya.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals . We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road accidents are a major threat to travelers in Kenya. Roads are poorly maintained and are often bumpy, potholed, and unpaved.

  • Traffic moves on the left side of the road, which can be very disorienting to those not accustomed to it.
  • Beware of vehicles traveling at excessive speed, and unpredictable local driving habits.
  • Many vehicles are poorly maintained and lack basic safety equipment.
  • Heavy traffic jams, either due to rush hour or because of accidents, are common.
  • Some vehicles will cross the median strip and drive against the flow of traffic.

U.S. citizens have been fatally injured in accidents involving long-distance, inter-city buses and local buses and vans called “matatus”. Matatus are commonly known to be the greatest danger to other vehicles and pedestrians. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using matatus.

Injuries and fatalities involving two-wheeled motorcycle taxis, called “boda bodas,” are equally common. Boda bodas often fail to observe basic safety precautions and ignore traffic rules. Inter-city nighttime road travel should be avoided due to the poor road and streetlight conditions and the threat of banditry throughout the country. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using boda bodas.

During the rainy season, some unpaved roads are impassable even with four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance. Travelers are urged to consult with local officials regarding road conditions.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Trains : Most passenger trains are considered unsafe, particularly during rainy seasons, because of the lack of routine maintenance and safety checks. The only approved train route for U.S. government personnel is the Nairobi to Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway. U.S. government personnel can only ride in the first-class cabin to avoid pickpockets and facilitate a rapid exit if necessary.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Kenya’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Kenya’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Kenya should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts . Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings .

For additional travel information

  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Kenya . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.

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The U.S. Embassy to Kenya opened in 1964.

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From 1895 until 1963, the area that later became modern Kenya was under British rule.

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  • Is it Safe to Travel to Kenya in 2023?
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- Updated 31 January 2023 -

Is Kenya safe to visit? Well, we would never send our clients to places we wouldn't visit ourselves with our own families. Kenya's superb safari destinations are safe to visit and its warm, hospitable people will make your trip a memorable one.

Since our establishment in 1998, we've lived our ethos of 'we know because we go'. All our Africa Safari Experts are permanently based in Africa, are well-travelled on the continent and have extensive first-hand experience with the destinations they recommend. Being based in Africa means we continuously have members of the team discovering new destinations and experiences to ensure they are safe and meet our clients' expectations.

Kenya Travel Advisory


Although there is a long-standing travel advisory from the US State Department, it relates to very specific and strictly non-tourist areas – mostly in the distant east of the country. It is not a blanket ban and the majority of Kenya is safe to visit. In fact, thousands of American tourists visit Kenya's incredible wildlife areas like the Masai Mara, Samburu, Amboseli and Laikipia every year without incident.

An influential promoter of Kenya tourism is Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson (he owns Mahali Mzuri in the Masai Mara). Branson has stated that travel advisories hurt countries and help terrorists. He argues for two main considerations: firstly, incidents occur very far from the premier tourism attractions. You’re much safer on a game drive in a private conservancy in the Masai Mara than driving your car on a multi-lane turnpike. Secondly, without tourist dollars, unemployment in rural areas skyrockets. This inevitably leads to a general increase in crime but, worst of all, poverty makes people more vulnerable to being recruited into organisations like al-Shabab.

[Travel] advisories destroy economies, causing dire circumstances and resentment, from which environments are created where extremism is more likely to thrive. – Sir Richard Branson

Where extremism gains a solid foothold, it becomes more difficult to extinguish. The conservation of Africa's wildlife relies heavily on the foreign currency generated by tourism. Without these funds, important conservation projects would have to scale down or close, national parks are forced to lay off rangers and anti-poaching units, and poaching thrives. If the tourism industry suffers, the domino effect of suffering for rural communities and endangered wildlife are truly horrifying.

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Is Terrorism a Problem in Kenya?


Kenya’s authorities deal with the international terror threat in much the same way as other allies of the USA and Britain. You’ll find strict security at airports and visible policing in public places like shopping malls and outdoor markets, ensuring it is safe to visit Kenya.

The country’s impressive military is active along the eastern border with Somalia. It’s important to know that tourists do not visit eastern Kenya at all. You will explore the famous game reserves far away on the opposite side of the country, along Kenya’s western border with Tanzania. This area is so stable and peaceful that the national border separating Kenya’s Masai Mara from Tanzania’s Serengeti is marked by simple stone cairns. You can see from the Mara into the Serengeti and, of course, millions of wildebeest walk this way every year on their annual migration.

Considering a Safari but Cautious of Travelling?

See our updated COVID-19 T&Cs and our advice on safety:

Book With Peace of Mind: Our Flexible Coronavirus (COVID-19) Policy

Africa travel tips: how to travel safely, updated african safari travel restrictions due to coronavirus (covid-19), is nairobi safe.


Kenya, like many other democracies across the globe, occasionally goes through short periods of political change. This is centred around Nairobi, far from the country's sensational safari areas. In fact, in some instances you’ll fly out of Nairobi immediately after landing, heading to the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Samburu or Laikipia.

Go2Africa staff and clients travel to Kenya regularly, staying in both Nairobi and the Masai Mara. Travellers report high levels of airport security and that some hotels in the capital city have instituted security measures for additional peace of mind and ensuring it is safe to visit Nairobi.

As part of Go2Africa’s seamless approach, our guests don't drive themselves or take any form of local transport.


It certainly added to our sense of comfort and security to be met at the airport and being in the care of a local guide or driver throughout our visit. – Ashley Gerrand , Africa Safari Expert

At Go2Africa, we tailor our guests' itineraries to allow for chartered flights and private transfers with trusted and professional suppliers every step of the way, ensuring that you are in the best hands as you explore Kenya from peaceful retreats and luxury lodges.

Best Laid Plans: Why an Africa Travel Agent is Best

Travellers share their safari experiences during covid-19, covid-19 safety protocols at safari camps & lodges, is kenya safe to visit.

us travel kenya

With the constant development of the safari industry in Kenya and regular lodge and camp openings, the message is loud and clear: Kenya is thriving and open for business. And there's a reason it remains one of the most sought-after safari destinations: the game viewing is incredible year-round, the people friendly and the logistics easy.

Kenya Health & Safety Travel Tips

A safari game drive, Kenya | Go2Africa

As with travelling anywhere in the world, travellers need to be vigilant to avoid any unnecessary hassles. Here are some general health and safety tips for travelling around Kenya:

  • Before you leave for Kenya, you’ll need to see your doctor for a prescription of malaria pills because Kenya is a high-risk malaria destination. When you take your own medication, you eliminate the risk of not being able to find them at local pharmacies.
  • Be sure to pack plenty of insect repellent.
  • When you arrive in Kenya, be conscious of your belongings. Never leave anything unguarded and only take out your cameras or other valuables when necessary.
  • In some of the tourist-traffic towns like Nairobi and Mombasa, pickpocketing is sometimes an issue, it’s a good idea to be alert in busy places like markets.
  • When you are enjoying Kenya beaches , make sure that your belongings are being watched before you head off for a swim.
  • Make copies of all your travel documents and keep them in your luggage.
  • Our Africa Safari Experts will provide all information about what areas are to be avoided and guide you every step of the way, leaving you to focus on what matters, revelling in the experience.

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Food Hygiene in Kenya

Lunch at a safari lodge, Kenya | Go2Africa

When you are on safari at top lodges and safari camps, you can rest assured that food quality will be of the highest standard. You will be bowled over by quality and local delicacies.

If you are passing through cities and towns, it’s advisable to be more aware of your food choices like meat, unpasteurised dairy products, and raw foods such as fruits or salads that can’t be peeled. A good rule of thumb is to always choose to eat well-cooked meals, and to use your discretion on the sanitation and hygiene of any establishment you visit. Avoid any restaurants or food vendors that appear unclean or don’t have many customers.

Our Africa Safari Experts live by the ‘we know because we go’ ethos and are valuable sources of personal recommendations for where and what to eat, making sure that your travel journey is seamless from start to end.

Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Kenya?

Bottled water at a safari lodge, Kenya | Go2Africa

Kenya is a country that has been identified as having unsafe tap water for drinking. We advise all our travellers to always drink bottled water, which is cheap and readily available. Many safari lodges, camps and hotels will provide complimentary bottled water, ready for you in your room, safari tent, or when you are setting off on game drives.

Depending on where you choose to stay, you will be given a reusable bottle that can be filled up with filtered water as and when you need it. We also recommend that you use bottled water to brush your teeth, particularly in the cities and towns.

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Is Kenya Safe for LGBTQ+ Travellers?

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An unfortunate truth is that Kenyan law prohibits homosexual activity. However, many LGBTQ+ individuals and couples travel to Kenya and have the adventure of a lifetime. The safari industry generally accepts the LGBTQ+ community with understanding and tolerance, and safety is assured in the country’s prime safari destinations. The only advisement is to consider the conservative nature of Kenya, and to avoid public displays of affection.

Our Africa Safari Experts have extensive knowledge and experience with curating exceptional journeys for the LGBTQ+ community and have been doing so for many years with great success.

Is Kenya Safe for Female Solo Travellers?

Female solo traveller with guides, Kenya | Go2Africa

Kenya is safe for female solo travellers, in fact, most parts of Kenya are well-suited for solo travel in general. The locals are friendly and hospitable, and English is widely spoken. As a female solo traveller , it is always best to adopt the safety practices you would travelling anywhere in the world, like not walking alone at night in cities, or avoiding deserted beaches.

As Kenya is a safari-focused destination, many female solo travellers have chosen to fly into camps and enjoy shared game drives or group safaris for the social element, or to simply go it alone with a guide. Whatever the desire for a legendary female solo traveller journey, our Africa Safari Experts can tailor perfectly to preferences and budget.

A Complete Guide to African Safaris for Solo Travellers

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  • Ngorongoro Crater

If you're interested in a Kenya safari, have a look at our  Beginner’s Guide to a Kenya Safari , or get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make an itinerary that’s right for you:

Angela Aschmann

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Kenya Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - Kenya

Be aware of current health issues in Kenya. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 2 Practice Enhanced Precautions

  • Global Polio September 11, 2023 Some international destinations have circulating poliovirus. Before any international travel, make sure you are up to date on your polio vaccines.

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines


Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Active cholera transmission is  widespread  in Kenya. Cholera is rare in travelers.  Certain factors  may increase the risk of getting cholera or having severe disease ( more information ). Avoiding unsafe food and water and washing your hands can also help prevent cholera.

Vaccination may be considered for children and adults who are traveling to areas of active cholera transmission.

Cholera - CDC Yellow Book

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Kenya.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to Kenya. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to Kenya.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Kenya take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Kenya.

Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Meningitis (Meningococcal disease)

Recommended for travelers 2 months old or older traveling to  areas of Kenya  that are part of the meningitis belt during the dry season.

Meningococcal disease - CDC Yellow Book

Meningitis Belt Map

In Kenya poliovirus has been identified in the past year.

Travelers to Kenya are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus.

Vaccine recommendations : Adults traveling to Kenya who received a complete polio vaccination series as children may receive a single lifetime booster dose of inactivated polio vaccine; travelers who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated should receive a complete polio vaccination series before travel. Children who are not fully vaccinated will be considered for an  accelerated vaccination schedule .

Polio - CDC Yellow Book

Polio: For Travelers

Rabid dogs are commonly found in Kenya. If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in Kenya, there may be limited or no rabies treatment available. 

Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.

Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include

  • Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
  • Visitors to rural areas

Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to Kenya. 

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

Required for travelers ≥1 year old arriving from countries with risk for YF virus transmission. 1

Recommended for all travelers ≥9 months old except as follows. Generally not recommended for travel limited to: the city of Nairobi (the capital); the counties of the former North Eastern Province (Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa); or the counties (except Taita-Taveta) of the former Coast Province (Kilifi, including the city of Malindi; Kwale; Lamu; Mombasa, including the city of Mombasa; Tana River) .

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

  • Avoid contaminated water


How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance


  • Wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Avoid bug bites

African tick-bite fever.

  • Avoid Bug Bites

African Tick-bite fever


  • Mosquito bite

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever

  • Tick bite 
  • Touching the body fluids of a person or animal infected with CCHF
  • Mosquito bite


  • Sand fly bite
  • Avoid animals

Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever

  • Touching infected animals (including bats and primates) or their body fluids
  • Touching body fluids (blood or sweat) from an infected person
  • Touching objects contaminated with the body fluids of a person infected with Ebola or Marburg virus
  • Avoid sick people
  • Avoid animals and areas where they live

Marburg virus

Rift Valley Fever

  • Touching blood, body fluids, or tissue of infected livestock

Rift Valley fever

Airborne & droplet

  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Kenya, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Kenya. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Kenya include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Kenya. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Kenya’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in Kenya. Fill your malaria prescription before you leave and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.


Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Kenya may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Kenya, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in Kenya, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for Kenya .

Traffic flows on the left side of the road in Kenya.

  • Always pay close attention to the flow of traffic, especially when crossing the street.
  • LOOK RIGHT for approaching traffic.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Kenya for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.

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Latest update

Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya overall due to the high crime levels and the threat of terrorist attack.

Higher levels apply in some areas.

Kenya map Oct 2023

Kenya (PDF 885.66 KB)

Africa (PDF 1.68 MB)

Local emergency contacts

Fire and rescue services, medical emergencies.

Call 999 or go to the nearest hospital.

Call 999 or visit the nearest police station.

Advice levels

Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya overall.

See Safety .

Do not travel to border regions with Somalia.

Do not travel to border regions with Somalia due to the high risk of terrorist attack and kidnapping  — including all of Mandera and Garissa counties and the part of Wajir county extending from the town of Wajir eastwards to the border with Somalia.

Reconsider your need to travel to border regions with South Sudan and Ethiopia (except Mandera County where we continue to advise Do Not Travel), Lamu County and  areas within  Tana River and Kilifi Counties.

Reconsider your need to travel to South Sudan and Ethiopia (except Mandera County where we continue to advise Do Not Travel), Lamu County and areas within Tana River and Kilifi Counties — extending 50km inland in Tana River County, and 50km inland in Kilifi County north of the Galana-Sabaki River, due to the high risk of terrorist attack and kidnapping.

  • Terrorist attacks are possible and could happen at any time. Be alert in public places. Avoid areas prone to attack.  Religious and festive holidays have historically seen an upsurge in terrorist activities and heightened threat warnings. Remain vigilant if visiting public areas.
  • On 13 October the US Embassy issued a security alert warning locations frequented by US citizens and other foreigners and tourists in Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya continue to be targets of terrorist planning to conduct potentially imminent attacks.
  • The borders with Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan are high-risk areas. If you plan to go there, get professional security advice.
  • Violent crime, including carjackings, kidnapping and home invasions, occurs. Don't walk around after dark. If you live in Kenya, invest in strong personal security measures.
  • Protests can be expected across Kenya.  Avoid protests and political gatherings. Follow the advice of local authorities. 
  • Scams are common. Criminals often use fake police, hotel or government identification to extort money from travellers. Be wary of anyone asking for money or information, even if they seem official. 
  • Kenya can experience natural disasters and severe weather. Know the warning signs and safety measures for earthquakes, floods and tsunamis.

Full travel advice: Safety

  • Malaria is widespread except in Nairobi and places above 2500 meters. Consider taking anti-malarial medication. Other insect-borne diseases include dengue, Rift Valley fever, filariasis and African sleeping sickness. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof. Use insect repellent.
  • Yellow Fever is widespread. Get Vaccinated before you travel.
  • HIV/AIDS infection rates are high. Take precautions if you're taking part in high-risk activities.
  • Foodborne, waterborne and other infectious diseases include hepatitis, meningococcal disease, measles and cholera. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid raw or undercooked food.

Full travel advice: Health

  • It's illegal to work or volunteer without a valid work permit. To work in the charity sector, get a valid work permit through the Directorate of Immigration Services .
  • Know and follow local laws. It's illegal to have same-sex relationships.
  • It's illegal to take photos of official buildings, get advice before taking photos. It's also illegal to destroy the local currency, smoke outside designated areas, possess ivory, and use single-use plastic bags. 
  • Kenya recognises dual nationality but hasn't fully enacted laws around it. If you're a dual national, always travel on your Australian passport.

Full travel advice: Local laws

  • You need a visa to travel to Kenya. Kenyan entry visas are only issued electronically. You'll have to get your e-visa before you arrive. Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You should contact the nearest high commission/embassy or consulate of Kenya for the latest details.

If you enter Kenya with flu-like symptoms, you'll be required to fill the passenger locator form on the 'jitenge' platform and be asked to undergo a rapid antigen test at your own cost. If you test positive, you'll be required to take a further PCR test at your own cost. Those with severe symptoms shall then be allowed to isolate, per the Ministry of Health guidance on isolation.

  • If you're a foreign resident, always carry your alien identity card. You could be fined or detained if you don't. Carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate. You may need to show it to enter and leave the country.

Full travel advice: Travel

Local contacts

  • The Consular Services Charter details what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
  • For consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Nairobi .
  • To stay up to date with local information, follow the High Commission’s social media accounts.

Full travel advice: Local contacts

Full advice

There's an ongoing high threat of terrorist attacks in Kenya.

Terrorist group al-Shabaab continues to threaten attacks. Further attacks are possible and could happen at any time. Kenyan authorities remain on high alert.

On 9 February and 13 October 2023, the US Embassy in Kenya issued security alerts warning that locations frequented by US citizens and other foreigners and tourists in Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya continue to be targets of terrorists planning to conduct potentially imminent attacks.

More information:

  • US Embassy Security Alert 9 February  
  • US Embassy Security Alert 13 October

Terrorist acts could include: 

  • suicide bombings and shootings
  • kidnappings
  • roadside bomb attacks and improvised explosive devices
  • attacks on civil aviation

Possible attack targets

An attack could happen anywhere in Kenya. An attack is possible at any time.

Areas prone to terrorist attack include:

  • Coastal areas, including all of Lamu County, and areas of Tana River and Kilifi Counties — extending 65km inland in Tana River county, and 50km inland in Kilifi county north of the Galana-Sabaki River
  • Kenya's border regions with Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan — including all of Mandera and Garissa counties and the part of Wajir county extending from the town of Wajir eastwards to the border with Somalia.

Terrorists may target:

  • Western embassies, UN premises and international schools
  • hotels, tourist resorts, beaches and safari lodges
  • shopping areas, markets, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes
  • places of worship
  • offices of non-government organisations (NGOs) and government buildings , including educational institutions.

Terrorists may also target transport and transport infrastructure such as:

  • airports and commercial airlines
  • transport hubs and infrastructure
  • sea vessels in or near Kenyan ports.

Western aid workers may be targeted at refugee camps near the Kenya-Somalia border.

Terrorist attacks have occurred in Kenya in the past few years,  including in Lamu, Mandera and Garissa counties.

Due to security concerns, Australian High Commission staff in Nairobi are on high alert.

Consider likely terrorist targets and the level of security provided. 

Always be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.

Report any suspicious items or activities to police.

To reduce your risks:

  • take official warnings seriously
  • monitor the media for threats
  • follow the instructions of local authorities.

If there's a terrorist attack:

  • leave the affected area immediately if it's safe
  • avoid the area afterwards in case of more attacks.

Don't gather in groups after an attack. This also applies if you're evacuated from a building for security reasons, such as a bomb threat.

Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

Armed groups from Somalia have kidnapped aid workers in the Somalia border region. Foreigners and residents in coastal resorts and towns in the North Eastern region (Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties), as well as Lamu county, have been the target of kidnapping.

Kidnapping is a high threat in these regions for:

  • humanitarian workers
  • journalists

The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn’t make payments or concessions to kidnappers.

If despite this advice, you're travelling to an area where there's a high kidnapping threat:

  • get professional security advice
  • arrange personal security measures.

Civil unrest and political tension

Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.

Large demonstrations can happen in Kenya during and after international events or political changes.

Demonstrations resulting in violence and arrests have happened over:

  • high food prices
  • alleged corruption
  • controversial media and tax law changes.

Violent outbreaks are more common away from tourist areas. However, riots and clashes have happened in:

  • other urban centres.

During periods of unrest:

  • be cautious throughout Kenya
  • avoid large gatherings, protests and demonstrations
  • monitor the media for reports about unrest
  • avoid affected areas
  • be aware authorities may order curfews in response to civil unrest at short notice
  • follow instructions from local authorities.

Demonstrations and civil unrest

Crime is high in Kenya.

Incidents of  armed robbery , carjacking, kidnapping and muggings are possible in:

  • Nairobi and other urban centres (e.g. Mombasa)
  • some coastal regions, including all of Lamu County, and areas of Tana River and Kilifi Counties
  • North Eastern region  (Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties)
  • Some parts of North Rift and Central Rift regions (Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu counties).

Crime increases during holiday periods.

Petty crime

Thieves snatch jewellery and bags from open vehicle windows, most often while cars are stopped at traffic lights or in heavy traffic.

Groups of bag-snatchers and carjackers on motorbikes target pedestrians and motorists.

Robberies also occur on trains and buses.

To protect yourself from theft:

  • always keep vehicle doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, even when moving
  • secure your accommodation, even when you're in it
  • avoid walking after dark
  • avoid walking in isolated back-alleys and lanes.

Violent crime

Violent crimes include:

  • armed carjackings
  • home invasions.

Foreigners have been targeted in private homes in Nairobi, tourist areas and while travelling by road. Several incidents have occurred at night outside residential security gates.

Violent crime is common in the Nairobi suburbs of Eastleigh and Kibera.

If you're living in Kenya, invest in strong personal security measures. Regularly review your personal security arrangements.

Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.

Police regularly confront criminal suspects in public places. Random gunfire has killed or wounded bystanders in crowded areas.

Due to widespread HIV/AIDS, if you're a victim of violent crime such as rape , visit a doctor immediately.

Food and drink spiking

Some criminals target foreigners with food and drink spiking. Their motivations can be for assault, including sexual assault, and theft.

To protect yourself:

  • never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers
  • be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances.
  • Partying safely

Crime in outlying areas

Incidents involving banditry and cattle rustling can occur in North and Central Rift regions (Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu counties).

Clashes between local groups have occurred in the Mount Elgon region in western Uganda.

The region bordering Somalia is extremely dangerous.

Curfews and security operations can be instituted without prior notice in the North Rift and parts of Central Rift regions.

If you plan to travel to these areas  get up-to-date advice on security and other conditions from your tour operator before you travel.  Monitor the media for latest developments, maintain a high level of vigilance and leave restricted areas as soon as possible.

Scams and fraud

Scams  are common. Criminals often use fake police, hotel, government and other identification to extort money from travellers.

  • be wary of demands for money or personal information, including from people claiming to be police or officials. Always ask for and carefully check identification.

Cyber security

You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.

Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions, or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.

  • Cyber security when travelling overseas

National parks and game reserves

Serious incidents in Kenya's national parks and conservation areas are rare. However, crime happens.

If you plan to visit national parks or game reserves:

  • get local advice on security risks, park fees and other conditions before you travel
  • get recommendations on travel firms and guides from the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO)
  • only use registered tour operators with a good reputation
  • follow all park regulations and instructions from local authorities and park wardens.

Tours and adventure activities

Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes adventure activities, such as diving.

If you plan to do an adventure activity :

  • check if your travel insurance policy covers the activity
  • use registered tour operators with a good reputation
  • ask about and insist on minimum safety requirements
  • always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts.

If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.

Climate and natural disasters

Kenya can experience natural disasters and severe weather , including:

  • flash flooding
  • earthquakes
  • volcanic activity

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof place
  • monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • keep in contact with your friends and family.

Kenya traditionally has 2 rainy seasons, from March to June, and October to November, Flash flooding and mudslides are common. Roads may close.

Northern and eastern Kenya is currently in severe drought. Essential services may be affected. Expect delays when travelling in these areas.

Earthquakes and volcanoes

Kenya lies on a fault line, and sometimes experiences earthquakes and tremors.

Volcanic activity and earthquakes can happen near Mt Elgon on the Kenya-Uganda border.

Get to know earthquake safety measures for each place you stay.

Tsunamis can occur in Kenya's coastal areas.

To receive tsunami alerts, register with the Global Disaster Alert and Co-ordination System .

Move to high ground right away if local or regional authorities tell you to, or if you:

  • feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
  • feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • hear loud and unusual noises from the sea.

Don't wait for official warnings. Once on high ground, monitor local media.

Travel Insurance

Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.

  • what activities and care your policy covers
  • that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away.

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. 

See your doctor or travel clinic to:

  • have a basic health check-up
  • ask if your travel plans may affect your health
  • plan any vaccinations you need.

Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.

If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your  nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate  to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.

  • General health advice
  • Healthy holiday tips  (Healthdirect Australia)


Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Kenya. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.

Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:

  • what the medication is
  • your required dosage
  • that it's for personal use.

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases.

Yellow fever is widespread in Kenya. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal virus spread by mosquitoes. It's prevented by vaccination. Get vaccinated before you travel.

Malaria is widespread except in Nairobi and at altitudes above 2500m.

Other insect-borne diseases occur, such as: 

  • Dengue virus infection
  • Rift Valley fever
  • Lymphatic  filariasis
  • African sleeping sickness .

To protect yourself from disease:

  • make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
  • use insect repellent
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
  • consider taking medication to prevent malaria.

Visit a doctor if you develop either a fever, muscle pain, a rash or a bad headache.

HIV/AIDS infection rates are very high.

Take precautions if taking part in activities that put you at risk of infection.

Other health risks

Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include:

  • meningococcal disease
  • tuberculosis

Serious outbreaks occur from time to time.

To protect yourself from illness:

  • drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
  • avoid ice cubes
  • avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
  • don't swim in fresh water.

Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.

Medical care

Medical facilities.

Medical facility standards vary. Medical facilities are adequate in urban areas but may be extremely limited in other places.

The COVID-19 crisis has tested the Kenyan health system. Consider how the availability of essential healthcare such as intensive care units and oxygen in your locality could impact you.

Before receiving treatment, public and private facilities need either:

  • an up-front payment
  • a payment guarantee, or
  • medical insurance confirmation.

If you become seriously ill or injured in a remote area, you'll need to be evacuated to a major city. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

There's a decompression chamber at the Kenyan Naval Base in Mombasa.

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Penalties for drug offences can be severe and include long jail terms.

Carrying or using drugs

Commercial surrogacy

Get legal advice in Australia and Kenya before going to Kenya for commercial surrogacy arrangements.

  • Going overseas for international surrogacy
  • Going overseas to adopt

In Kenya it's illegal to:

  • work or volunteer without a valid work permit
  • destroy local currency
  • smoke in public places outside designated smoking areas
  • take photos of official buildings — get advice before taking photos
  • possess ivory
  • distribute religious material in public without a licence.

It's also illegal to have same-sex relationships.

Advice for LGBTI travellers

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia.

Staying within the law and respecting customs

Dual citizenship

Kenya recognises dual nationality. However, Kenya has not yet fully enacted dual nationality laws.

If you're a dual citizen, this limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.

Always travel on your Australian passport .

Dual nationals

Local customs

Kenya has conservative dress and behaviour standards, especially in coastal and rural areas. You should dress modestly; wear loose-fitting clothing that covers your shoulders, knees, midriff, chest and back. Take care not to offend.

The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan  is observed in Kenya. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time. Muslims don't eat, drink or smoke between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan.   If you're not fasting, avoid these activities around people who are. Seek local advice to avoid offence.

Explore our Ramadan page to learn more, including dates for Ramadan.

Public displays of affection can lead to harassment, particularly for same-sex couples.

Visas and border measures

Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. 

For information on Kenyan visas and permits visit the Directorate of Immigration website .

You need a visa to travel to Kenya. Kenyan entry visas are only issued electronically, with passengers required to obtain their e-visas before arrival. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the e-visas website .

Entry and exit requirements can change at short notice. Contact the Kenyan High Commission for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.

Border measures

Other formalities, yellow fever vaccination.

You'll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Kenya. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.

Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever .

  • Yellow fever - African Region (WHO)
  • Kenyan Airports and the Corona Virus: Kenya Airports Authority

Import and export restrictions

Kenya has strict laws about importing or exporting certain goods, including:

  • religious materials and antiquities
  • business equipment

Kenyan High Commission

Identity card for foreigners

If you're a foreign resident, always carry your alien identity card. If you don't, you could be fined or jailed.

Working in Kenya

It's illegal to work without a valid visa. Authorities can fine or jail you for paid or voluntary  work.

To work in the charity sector, get a valid work permit through the Charity Register. 

Living or working overseas

Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.

Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.

You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.

The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport .

Lost or stolen passport

Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.

Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:

  • In Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service .
  • If you're overseas, contact the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate .

Passport with 'X' gender identifier

Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can't guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest  embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination  before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers. 

More information:   

  • LGBTI travellers  

The local currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES). 

  • Central bank  

Declare all amounts over US$10,000 when you arrive and depart. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.

Large banks and foreign exchange bureaus accept traveller's cheques. Hotels don't often accept them.

ATMs in Nairobi and major towns accept international credit cards.

Take care when paying with credit cards or using ATMs. Card skimming incidents are increasing. Only use ATMs at large shopping centres or in banks. Check the machine for unusual parts before you use it. Always keep your card in sight during transactions.

Ask your bank if your cards will work in Kenya.

Local travel

Driving permit.

To drive in Kenya, you'll need both:

  • a valid Australian driver's licence
  • an International Driving Permit (IDP)

Get your IDP before leaving Australia.

Road travel

Kenya records thousands of road fatalities each year. You're more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Kenya than in Australia.

Hazards include:

  • poor road conditions
  • unsafe and poorly maintained vehicles
  • not enough street lighting.

Before you drive:

  • get to know local traffic laws and practices
  • check local information on road conditions, including security risks and road closures
  • avoid travel at night on major highways in and out of Nairobi and on rural roads.

Driving or riding


Check if your travel insurance policy covers you when using a motorbike or similar vehicle. 

Always wear a helmet.

Only use established and reputable taxis and limousine services. Arrange these through your hotel.

Only use taxis from official taxi stands or via callout.

When travelling at night to and from Nairobi's airports (JKIA and Wilson), always use a tour or taxi company with a good reputation.

Public transport

Public transport options such as buses and minivans ('matatus') are dangerous.

Bus terminals and other transport hubs have been targeted in terrorist and criminal attacks. There are risks of further attacks.

Theft is common on many train routes. Passengers' belongings have been taken from their compartments. Watch your belongings at all times.

Boat travel

If you travel in Kenyan waters:

  • first check the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reports
  • arrange personal security measures
  • be alert to threats.

DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.

Check Kenya's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.


Depending on what you need, contact your:

  • family and friends
  • travel agent
  • insurance provider

Always get a police report when you report a crime.

Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Consular contacts

Check the Consular Services Charter to find out what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Nairobi.

Australian High Commission, Nairobi

Limuru Road, Rosslyn 

Nairobi, Kenya

Phone: (+254) 20 4277 100


Facebook: Australia in East Africa  

Twitter: @AusHCKenya

Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.

24-hour Consular Emergency Centre

In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:

  • +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
  • 1300 555 135 in Australia


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Kenya Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Kenya in 2023

Welcome to kenya.

  • Kenya East Africa Tourist Visa

Kenya eVisa

A paradise to appreciate the wildlife, to live adventures, and be amazed by the powerful nature: this is Kenya. You can see wildebeest thundering across the savanna, be eye-to-eye with elephants in Amboseli, or relax on the Lamu Islands.

It’s a trip full of emotions, for which you must be prepared. In this ultimate Kenya travel guide , we will share some travel tips, tricks, and everything you need to know about how to enter Kenya hassle-free.

Entry and Exit Requirements: Document Checklist for Kenya

eVisa or East Africa Tourist Visa .

Valid passport (six months validity).

Sufficient funds.

Return airline ticket.

Essential Kenya Travel Information

Currency - Kenyan shilling (KES). $1 is equivalent to approx. KES 121,40.

Daily budget for 1 person - Al daily budget of around KES 12,625 ($104).

Languages - English and Swahili.

Socket type - Type G, 240V supply voltage and 50Hz.

Time zone - Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +03:00.

Top 3 cities to visit - Nairobi, Mombasa, and Lamu.

Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Maasai Mara National Reserve, Lamu Islands, and the Hyrax Hill Museum.

Visa Information for Kenya

You will need a visa for arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, but there are Kenya entry visas you can obtain online with a few clicks. See below for more details about the Kenya eVisa and the East Africa Tourist Visa .

You should consult the nearest embassy for Kenyan entry visas for long stays, a valid work permit, or other immigration services.

The Kenya eVisa is a Single Entry , valid for 90 days in Total after being issued . Local authorities may renew this visa for an additional 90 days. The best thing about it is that the visa application is 100% online, so you can submit the requirements wherever you are.

Depending on the processing time you choose, you can receive the document within two days .

East Africa Tourist Visa

The East Africa Tourist Visa is a Multiple Entry that allows tourists to visit Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda without needing separate visas . The travel document is valid for 90 days Per Entry after being issued.

The application process is also completely online, so it takes just a few minutes to submit the required documents, and the visa will arrive in your email. Choosing the faster process time, you can obtain the East Africa Tourist Visa in two days .

Typical Costs and Budget for Kenya

A basic guide to what you'll spend daily traveling through Kenya on a decent budget.

Daily spending - Around KES 12,625 ($104) per person/per day on a budget vacation. This includes:

Meals - KES 2,913 ($24)

Transport - KES 3,399 ($28)

Hotel -KES 6,798 ($56), for two people.

A trip for two for one week will cost, on average, KES 177,122 ($1,459).

Transport and Best Ways to Travel around Kenya

Flying can be the best option to optimize time and explore the country. Several domestic airlines provide connections between Nairobi, Mombasa, coastal towns such as Malindi and the Lamu Archipelago, and smaller airports close to national parks.

Be aware that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority still requires a COVID-19 PCR test for unvaccinated travelers arriving in the country. The passenger must present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours before departure or proof of vaccination.

Kenya offers great public transport hubs , connecting larger and smaller towns, especially in western Kenya, with frequent links to the capital and coast. So traveling on a bus is also an alternative. Another affordable option is the train network : you can visit the main cities and enjoy night travel, so you don’t lose your daytime on the route.

But driving can be a fantastic adventure as well and a way to explore Kenya at your own pace. According to local laws, you will need an international driving permit for the road trip . The travel advice is to check the car before renting, so you don’t get poorly maintained vehicles. Also, if you don’t want to drive yourself or depend on city transportation hubs, you can easily find a lift with Uber or Bolt .

Safety in Kenya

Unfortunately, Kenya is a country with incidents of violent crime, terrorist attacks, and armed robbery . Religious holidays have historically been a moment for further attacks, especially by the terrorist group al-Shabaab. The Kenya-Somalia border is one of the high-risk areas, so you shouldn’t visit it unless you have strong personal security measures; the same goes for the Ethiopia and South Sudan border regions.

In urban centers, remain vigilant to avoid muggings and violent crime. Usually, you won’t have security problems in Kenya's national parks. A good advice is to monitor local media to keep informed about security in the country.

Regarding natural disasters , droughts and floods are Kenya's most significant hazards.

Weather in Kenya

Kenya has a tropical climate , offering pleasant weather for tourists to explore natural attractions. But don't be fooled; you can find climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude.

The dry season goes from June to October . During this period, the temperatures are around 23°C(73°F) at higher altitudes and 28°C(82°F) at lower altitudes, such as the coastal areas. It’s an excellent season for the trip since there are usually sunny blue sky days.

The wet season is hotter and goes from November to May . Daytime temperatures are between 24°C(75°F) and 27°C(81°F) at higher altitudes, while in the lower region they are around 30°C(86°F).

Top tip: The temperatures are usually hot, but the gold tip is to pack warm clothes for early morning game drives.

Destination Country: Popular Cities and Towns in Kenya

Nature is the biggest attraction in Kenya, but you can also find cities to enjoy city life and cultural activities. Check some places to include in your itinerary:

Nairobi - The city is the central business district and Africa’s strongest financial hub. You can enjoy shopping centers, serene parks, animal sanctuaries, and amazing museums.

Mombasa - Kenya’s second-largest city is located on the East Coast. It offers spectacular beaches, national parks, and great cultural centers.

Kisumu - A major tourist destination in western Kenya. The must-see attractions include Lake Victoria, Kisumu Museum, and Kisumu Impala Sanctuary.

Nakuru - The best city for exploring Lake Nakuru National Park and the popular Rift Valley Sports Club.

Lamu - One of the major towns on the coast, it offers plenty of tourist attractions, such as the Lamu Museum, Lamu Port, the Donkey Sanctuary, and the Riyadha Mosque.

Must Do and See in Kenya

Don’t miss these remarkable sights on your trip to Kenya:

Go on a safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve . The preserved area is great for seeing lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, and hippos.

Explore the Kora National Park , in Tana River County. The park has species like striped hyenas, serval cats, antelopes, cheetahs, and elephants.

Relax in the Malindi Marine National Park and Reserve , in Kilifi County. It has magnificent coral gardens and is a great place to enjoy the beach, camp, or practice water sports.

Visit the Lamu Islands , in Lamu county. The archipelago is located in the Indian Ocean and has amazing archaeological and historical sites.

Visit the Hyrax Hill Museum , in Nakuru town. This museum tells the story of the lifestyle of prehistoric settlements from at least 3,000 years ago.

Typical Kenyan Food to Try

Irio (Mashed Peas and Potato Mix) - One of the most famous dishes in Kenya, it consists of green peas and potatoes boiled and then mashed up before whole kernels of maize (corn) are added to give the mash some extra starch and texture.

Kenyan Pilau (Spiced Rice) - Pilau is a fantastic combination of rice cooked with flavor-bursting spices like cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. It’s usually served with a meat stew and a few slices of fresh tomato and onions.

Sukuma Wiki (Collard Greens/Kale) - The green leafy vegetable is often cooked in oil with a few diced tomatoes and onions, and flavored with a sprinkle of mchuzi mix or stock cube flavoring.

Vaccination Certificate and Additional Health Information for Kenya

It's important to know what routine vaccines, specific vaccine requirements, and COVID-19 measures are required to enter Kenya before travel. We recommend you check out the CDC website to find out about all vaccine requirements and any recommended guidance or medicine lists.

Be aware that travel insurance is not mandatory . Still, avoiding overseas medical costs is a good idea, especially if you visit rural areas or regions with an increased risk for dengue and other viruses. If you have flu-like symptoms, it’s necessary to get a PCR or rapid antigen test before departure; otherwise, if a traveler tests positive on arrival, they will have to be quarantined.

Safaris in Kenya

The World Travel Awards recognized Kenya as the world’s leading safari destination for 2021, a position the country has held for seven years. This is because tourists can easily see eye-to-eye lionesses, leopards, and elephants in their habitat.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s best-known savannah for safaris . There are conservation areas and public parks, which means you will find wonderful wildlife: A perfect destination for those looking for this adventure. But Nairobi National Park, Lakes Nakuru, and Naivasha are good spots as well to observe wildlife; just remember to always follow the park regulations.

The top tips for the safari are to avoid bright colors and stick to basic T-shirts. Also, bring a jersey and warm jacket for the cold mornings. Sunglasses, sun protection, and a hat are part of the essentials too.

Click here to check a detailed guide for a Kenyan safari.

Fun Facts about Kenya

You already know Kenya is a fantastic destination to see wildlife and beautiful nature. But here are some facts about the country that will probably surprise you!

The first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize was from Kenya! Wangari Muta Maathai was an environmental, social, and political activist who won the prize in 2004 for contributing to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.

Lake Turkana is the world's largest desert lake . It’s located in the Great Rift Valley and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Coffee is the most valuable export in Kenya. The locals value the product so much that most Kenyans don’t really drink it, and the country sells only a small amount domestically.

Kenya dominates marathon circuits worldwide. Kalenjin people have produced many world record-breaking athletes and long-distance runners.

Queen Elizabeth II was not declared queen in English government buildings but in the Treetops Lodge near Nairobi. She was visiting Kenya and was only 25 years old when she became queen following her father's demise.

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Kenya Travel Restrictions

Traveler's COVID-19 vaccination status

Traveling from the United States to Kenya

Open for vaccinated visitors

COVID-19 testing

Not required

Not required for vaccinated visitors


Not required in public spaces.

Kenya entry details and exceptions

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Can I travel to Kenya from the United States?

Most visitors from the United States, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Kenya.

Can I travel to Kenya if I am vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated visitors from the United States can enter Kenya without restrictions.

Can I travel to Kenya without being vaccinated?

Unvaccinated visitors from the United States can enter Kenya without restrictions.

Do I need a COVID test to enter Kenya?

Visitors from the United States are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering Kenya.

Can I travel to Kenya without quarantine?

Travelers from the United States are not required to quarantine.

Do I need to wear a mask in Kenya?

Mask usage in Kenya is not required in public spaces.

Are the restaurants and bars open in Kenya?

Restaurants in Kenya are open. Bars in Kenya are .


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