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Health Advice

The US Center For Disease Control maintains an updated list of medical advice for those travelling to Kenya

The CDC recommends being up to date with all your regular shots. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot

They also suggest being vaccinated for hepatitis A. There is also some advice about protection for hepatitis B and rabies – but this depends to some degree on where you are heading and what you are doing.

Additionally, malaria, yellow fever, zika virus, chikungunya virus and dengue fever are a risk in Kenya so avoiding being bitten by mosquitos is advised. Also, ticks can carry diseases so when going through forested areas or long grass protect yourself by wearing long trousers and shirts. Tsetse flies carry diseases and there are no effective repellents so the same precautions as for ticks are the best prevention.

Healthcare

Access to medical care in Kenya is very limited, especially outside of Nairobi, the capital city. The health care provided by the country’s medical facilities remains of poor quality.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, first deal with the emergency with first aid skills if possible and then move on to the nearest, largest Accident and Emergency department. In Nairobi, this is either Nairobi Hospital or the Aga Khan University Hospital.

Pharmacies are few in the country and they only sell basic medicines, not always of reliable quality. Be sure to bring your own medical supplies in sufficient quantities when travelling to Kenya, especially if you require specific treatments.

Food Safety

Only eat food that is cooked and served hot. Eat fruits and vegetables that you have personally washed in clean water or peeled yourself. Never eat food sold by street vendors. Only drink boiled water that is sealed and has been filtered and disinfected. Prefer carbonated drinks, hot coffee or tea, and pasteurized milk.

Safety

Bag snatching is common in transport hubs like bus stations, railway stations and airports. Mugging, kidnapping, car-jacking and armed robbery occur regularly, particularly in Nairobi, Mombasa and other large cities. Although uncommon, incidents of violent crime have resulted in the death of several British nationals. Crime rates are higher in slum areas of Nairobi, the Old Town of Mombasa and on and around the Likoni Ferry (which links Mombasa and the southern resorts). Gun attacks in Kwale County on the south coast resulted in fatalities in September and October 2017.

You should be vigilant at all times and take into account any security advice given by your hotel, employer or your hosts. If you’re attacked, don’t resist. Avoid walking around after dark, especially in isolated areas like empty beaches. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and don’t wear expensive watches, jewellery or items of sentimental value.

Beware of thieves posing as police officers or private Security Guards. Always ask to see identification. Don’t accept food or drink from strangers as it may be drugged.

Only stay in tourist camps with good perimeter security. If in any doubt, seek advice from your tour operator or the Kenya Tourism Federation (telephone: + 254 20 800100).

  • Don’t leave items such as laptops and briefcases in unattended vehicles
  • Don’t display jewellery or electronics when walking
  • Remain vigilant when using public transportation or walking along deserted streets
  • Avoid walking and driving at night
  • Taxi and minibus operators have robbed their passengers and stranded them far from their destination. Avoid taking taxis or minibuses that have only one or two passengers, and ensure that your personal belongings are secure at all times when using public transportation.
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