Fire and rescue services
Call 999 or go to the nearest hospital.
Call 999 or visit the nearest police station.
We haven't changed our travel advice:
Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya due to the high threat of terrorist attack and high crime levels.
Higher levels apply in other parts of the country.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya overall.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya overall due to the high crime levels and the major threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping.
Do not travel to border regions with Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Do not travel to border regions with Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia due to the high risk of terrorist attack and kidnapping.
Reconsider your need to travel to coastal areas from Lamu county to Mombasa and outskirts, and the A2 highway from Isiolo to Moyale.
Reconsider your need to travel to:
coastal areas from Lamu county to Mombasa and outskirts due to the high risk of terrorist attack
the A2 highway from Isiolo to Moyale due to the high risk of violent riots and clashes
There is a high threat of terrorist attack. Extremists may target Westerners. Risky areas include Nairobi, coastal areas, Naivasha and Nanyuk. Be alert in public places. Avoid areas prone to attack.
Westerners are kidnapping targets. The borders with Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan are high-risk areas. Don't travel to these regions. If you do go there, get professional security advice.
Westerners in Nairobi are the targets of violent crime, including armed carjackings, kidnapping and home invasions. Don't walk after dark. If you live in Kenya, invest in strong personal security measures.
Scams are common. Criminals often use fake police, hotel or government identification to extort money from travellers. Be wary of anyone asking for money, even if they seem official.
Kenya can experience natural disasters and severe weather. Know the warning signs and safety measures for earthquakes and tsunamis.
Full travel advice: Safety
Malaria is widespread except in Nairobi and places above 2500m. Consider taking anti-malarial medication.Yellow Fever is widespread.Get Vaccinated before you travel.
Other insect-borne diseases include dengue, Rift Valley fever, filariasis and African sleeping sickness. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof. Use insect repellent.
HIV/AIDS infection rates are high. Take precautions if you're taking part in high-risk activities.
Polio outbreaks occur in Kenya. Check your vaccinations are up to date at least 6 weeks before you travel.
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 Charity Register.
Know and follow local laws. It's illegal to destroy local currency. It's also illegal to smoke outside designated areas, possess ivory, and distribute religious material without a licence.Its illegal to use single-use plastic bags.
Get advice before taking photos. It's illegal to take photos of official buildings.
It's illegal for men to have same-sex relations.
Kenya recognises dual nationality, but it hasn't fully enacted laws around this. If you're a dual national, always travel on your Australian passport.
Full travel advice: Local laws
Carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate. You may need to show it to enter and leave the country.
If you're a foreign resident, always carry your alien identity card. You could be fined or detained you if you don't.
Only use radio taxis via callout. Always use a reputable tour or taxi company, especially to and from Nairobi's airports at night.
Piracy occurs in the waters off northern Kenya. Don't sail within 1000 nautical miles (1850km) of the Somali coast.
Full travel advice: Travel
In February 2019, the US Government warned that extremists may target Westerners in Kenya. The warning covered:
coastal areas of Kenya
Be alert in public places. These include:
hotels, tourist resorts, including beach resorts and beaches
places of worship
Terrorism is a major threat in Kenya. Terrorist group Al-Shabaab continues to threaten attacks.
Kenyan authorities are still in a high state of alert.
Further attacks are possible and could happen at any time.
Attacks could happen in random locations. Terrorists could target Kenyan institutions or places where foreigners gather.
Terrorist acts could include:
roadside bomb attacks
attacks on civil aviation
An attack could happen anywhere in Kenya.
Areas prone to terrorist attack include:
Mombasa, Lamu County, coastal Tana River and Kilifi Counties — extending 65km inland in Tana River county, and 20km inland in Kilifi county
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
churches and other places of worship
offices of non-government organisations (NGOs) and government buildings
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.
An attack is possible at any time.
A major terrorist attack on the DusitD2 Hotel complex in Nairobi in January 2019 resulted in 21 deaths.
Many terrorist attacks have occurred in Kenya in the past few years:
In August 2018, 10 Kenyan soldiers died in Lamu after multiple attacks.
In September and October 2017, people died in gun attacks in Kwale county on Kenya's South Coast.
Since May 2017, more than 70 people have died in attacks in Lamu, Mandera and Garissa counties.
In October 2016, a guard was attacked at the US Embassy in Nairobi.
In October 2016, 12 people died in an attack on a guesthouse in Mandera town.
In September 2016, 3 militants died in an attack on Mombasa Central Police Station.
Due to security concerns, Australian High Commission staff in Nairobi are on high alert.
Security has been increased for travel to Kenyan Government buildings, the CBD and areas north to Mombasa.
Consider known terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Avoid areas prone to attack.
Always be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
Report any suspicious items or activities to police.
To protect yourself when attending sporting events and public gatherings:
be alert, especially at football matches
avoid catching public transport
avoid public venues that show sporting events such as sports bars, nightclubs and restaurants
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.
Westerners are targets for kidnapping in Kenya.
Armed groups from Somalia have kidnapped Western aid workers in the Somalia border region. They have also kidnapped foreigners and residents in coastal resorts and towns in eastern Kenya, especially Lamu county.
Kidnapping is a high threat in these regions for:
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
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
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
Violent clashes along the A2 Highway between Isiolo and Moyale have caused several deaths and injuries. If you choose to travel along this road, be extra careful.
During periods of unrest:
be cautious throughout Kenya
avoid large gatherings, protests and demonstrations
monitor the media for reports about unrest
avoid affected areas
follow instructions from local authorities
Crime is high in Kenya.
the northern Rift Valley
coastal regions north of Mombasa
If you travel to remote areas, border regions, or coastal regions, you risk being attacked or kidnapped.
Crime increases during holiday periods.
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 have occurred 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
If you're attacked, don't resist.
Violent criminals often target Westerners in Nairobi. Crimes include:
Reports suggest foreigners are being targeted in private homes in Nairobi, tourist areas and while travelling by road. Several incidents have occurred at night outside residential security gates.
Some Australians have been killed in home invasions.
Violent crime is extremely common in the Nairobi suburbs of Buruburu, Eastleigh, Kasarani, Kibera, Mathare, Pangani, South B and South C, as well as the CBD.
If you're living in Kenya, invest in strong personal security measures. Regularly review your personal security arrangements.
Due to widespread HIV/AIDS, if you're a victim of violent crime such as rape, visit a doctor immediately.
Violent herder clashes are common in central and north central Kenya. These clashes are aimed at either private ranches or wildlife conservation parks.
Herders are often armed and violent towards property, wildlife and, in some cases, landowners.
Travellers haven't been targeted. However, a dual British-Kenyan landowner was killed in March 2017. A Swiss national was killed in April 2017.
The government has increased security in Nyandarua and Laikpia countries.
Clashes between local groups have occasionally caused violence in north and north-eastern Kenya. Clashes have also happened in the Mount Elgon region of western Kenya.
If you're travelling to north, north-eastern or western Kenya, first ask the police for advice. Travel in a convoy or with a police escort.
Armed attacks, violent cattle rustling and counter raids are common along the Kenya-Ethiopia border and the Kenya-South Sudan border.
Reports suggest there are bandit groups and robbers at unauthorised border crossing points on the borders with Uganda and Tanzania. Back roads from Nairobi to the Tanzania border are hotspots for robbery and bandit groups.
The region bordering Somalia is extremely dangerous.
If you plan to travel to central and northern Kenya, get up-to-date advice on security and other conditions from your tour operator before you travel.
Police regularly confront criminal suspects in public places. Random gunfire has killed or wounded bystanders in crowded areas.
Scams are common. Criminals often use fake police, hotel and government identification to extort money from travellers.
To protect yourself:
be wary of demands for money, including from people claiming to be police or officials
always ask for and carefully check identification
Serious incidents in Kenya's national parks and conservation areas are rare. However, crime happens.
Visitors to the Ngong Forest Reserve and Ngong Hills risk being robbed. In June 2017, thieves robbed tourists at gunpoint in the Samburu National Reserve north of Nairobi.
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
get an armed escort from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for any travel to Ngong Forest Reserve or Ngong Hills
follow all park regulations and instructions from local authorities and park wardens
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 it
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.
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 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.
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.
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 1000s 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
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.
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 medicine is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use
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:
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.
Polio outbreaks happen in Kenya.
Check your vaccination status for polio with a doctor or travel clinic. Do this at least 8 weeks before you travel.
If you aren't vaccinated, complete the full course of vaccinations before you leave. If you've been vaccinated in the past, get a booster dose if needed.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include:
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 facility standards vary. Medical facilities are adequate in urban areas but may be extremely limited in other places.
Before receiving treatment, public and private facilities need either:
an up-front deposit
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.
Get legal advice in Australia and Kenya before going to Kenya for commercial surrogacy arrangements.
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, even jewellery purchased outside of Kenya
distribute religious material in public without a licence
It's also illegal for men to have same-sex relations.
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia.
Kenya has conservative dress and behaviour standards, especially in coastal and rural areas. Take care not to offend.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan will be from late April to late May in 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time. Muslims don't eat, drink or smoke between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan.
Some people are against same-sex relationships and being affectionate in public. Displays of affection can lead to harrassment,particularly for same-sex couples.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
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.
Kenya has strict laws about importing or exporting certain goods, including:
religious materials and antiquities
If you're a foreign resident, always carry your alien identity card. If you don't, you could be fined or jailed.
It's illegal to work without a valid visa. Authorities can fine or jail you for paid or volunteer work.
To work in the charity sector, get a valid work permit through the Charity Register.
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.
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:
The local currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES). Kenya is introducing new banknotes. Starting from 1 October 2019, the old one-thousand shilling note will not be legal tender and other notes will be phased out.
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.
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.
You're 6 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Kenya than in Australia.
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
Check if your travel insurance policy covers you when using a motorbike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Only use official taxis and limousine services. Arrange these through your hotel.
Only use radio 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.
Avoid public transport. Public transport options such as buses and minivans ('matutus') 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 trains. Passengers' belongings have been taken from their compartments. Watch your belongings at all times.
Pirates have attacked ships to the north of Kenya. These attacks have happened around Somalia's waters and the Gulf of Aden.
Don't travel within 1000 nautical miles (1850km) of Somalia's coast. Somali pirates have attacked ships further out than this.
If you travel in Kenyan waters, despite the risks:
first check the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reports
arrange personal security measures
be alert to threats
Enhanced security checks are in place at Kenyan airports. Allow at least an hour to get through security.
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
Call 999 or go to the nearest hospital.
Call 999 or visit the nearest police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
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.
Limuru Road, Rosslyn
Phone: (+254) 20 4277 100
Fax: (+254) 20 4277 139
Facebook: Australia in East Africa
Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
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
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.