Updated: May 27
Just last week, two people told me they would not travel to Kenya because of safety concerns. One said he went many years ago but would not go now. I thought I must have missed some breaking news about attacks on American tourists in Kenya.
I had to ask myself, what are these guys talking about? I travelled to Kenya in 2019, 2021, and 2022. I speak to people on the ground and I read news regarding political and other happenings in this East-African country. How did I miss this?
Rather than dismiss these comments out of hand, I did some research. The state department tracks U.S. citizens who have died while traveling to Kenya. I did a search to see how many Americans have been killed by criminals or terrorists in Kenya the last three years. There have been a total of three deaths in three years. One was from a car accident. The other two are from unknown causes. Granted, there were few tourists visiting in 2020 due to Covid restrictions. Numbers rebounded in 2021 and really rebounded in 2022. At least 200,000 Americans visited Kenya during this time. Zero American tourists were killed while visiting the country.
Kenya is not without problems. Crime is high in Nairobi. The border with Somalia is very dangerous. There have been three major terrorist attacks with the last occurring in 2015. But let's compare Kenya to the United States. My state of Tennessee has a murder rate that is twice that of Kenya (10 per 100,000 versus 5 per 100,000.) The U.S. has experienced many more terrorist attacks (both international and domestic terrorist groups.) We have weekly mass shootings here. Unlike the USA, Kenya had a peaceful transfer of power after their presidential election in 2022 (we were there.)
Kenya holds the greatest game reserve in the world, the Masai Mara. It is home to warm, beautiful people. It is not a scary place. Be smart while in the capital and you will be just fine. Don't let fear that is not based in fact hold you back.