Kenya tourism officials are working diligently to ensure the safety and security of visitors to the country. In order to keep the traveling public up-to-date on the situation on ground in Kenya, we are sending out continual updates on the current state of affairs within the country with regard to the tourism infrastructure.
Tuesday 29th January 2008: Security Update
Nairobi: In the early hours of this morning an ODM opposition party Member of Parliament, Mr Mugabe Were was shot dead outside his house in Nairobi by unknown assailants. Crowds of supporters gathered outside his home during the morning to express their grief and were dispersed by police using teargas. This developed into more violent protests along Ngong Road away from the centre of Nairobi and at the housing estate of Kawangware as well as disturbances in the Kibera slums and in Mr Were’s Embakasi constituency. The situation had returned to normal by late afternoon and the centre of Nairobi was not affected while the highways between the airports and Nairobi hotels remained open as usual. President Kibaki has sent his condolences to Mr Were’s family and appealed for the public not to rush to any conclusions on the MP’s killing until police investigations are completed.
The main tourist areas at the beach resorts and the safari circuit continue to receive international tourist visitors as usual and the current situation is as follows:
Mombasa and coast: there are no problems at any of the beach resorts and the roads between Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi, Nyali, Bamburi, Mombasa, Diani, Galu, Msambweni are all open and reported to have no problems. The international airport at Mombasa is operating as normal with both charter flights and daily scheduled services flying in and there is no problem with access to the airport on the roads from the north and south of Mombasa. The ferry at Likoni is operating as normal for tourists travelling to the south coast.
Safaris: all the national parks and wildlife reserves are operating as normal with most camps and lodges open for business. The roads linking the parks and reserves are all open and conditions are normal with the exception of roads through Naivasha town (see below). For tourist vehicles travelling by road to the Mara, the road passing Narok town is a stretch of approximately 4 kms [2.5 miles] and is now being monitored by a permanent security patrol to ensure that there are no problems for tourist vehicles. For the past week tourist vehicles have been driving along this route from Nairobi to the Mara daily without any problem and latest reports indicate that the road is open and that traffic is moving freely. The route to the Mara is south from Narok and drivers do not need to drive north to Bomet which is within the area recommended as off-limits to tourists (see below).
Areas to avoid:
The Kenya Tourism Federation continues to monitor the security situation to ensure that any areas considered unsafe for tourists are avoided. While the beach resorts, the safari circuit, the airports in Nairobi and the highways between them to the Nairobi international hotels are considered safe for visitors at the present time, the following areas are off-limits for tourists until further notice:
Naivasha and Nakuru:
As reported yesterday, the violent disturbances and clashes between rival groups in and around Naivasha were eventually brought under control by the police and security forces by yesterday afternoon. The roads were opened by police and army so that traffic was able to move in and out of Naivasha today. However tensions in Naivasha and Nakuru remain and the Kenya Tourism Federation recommends that road safaris through Naivasha town and on by road to Lake Nakuru should be suspended for the next few days while we monitor the situation and until we can confirm that peace and calm have been restored once again in the area. However air safaris may continue to Lake Nakuru National Park using the airstrips in the park. The Warden of Lake Nakuru National Park has confirmed that all is calm within the park and that tourist visitors have not been affected by the clashes beyond Nakuru. Lake Nakuru Park remains secure and safe for visitors with KWS rangers on duty.
Western Kenya, areas off-limits for tourists: In addition to Naivasha and Nakuru, the Kenya Tourism Federation continues to recommend that for the time being visitors should avoid the following areas where there have been continuing sporadic incidents of civil unrest: Nyanza Province, Western Province, and the western area of Rift Valley Province including roads to the north of Narok to Bomet, Sotik and Njoro, the areas surrounding Kericho, Molo, Londiani, Nandi Hills and Eldoret. These places are not normally visited by tourists and members of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators have avoided these areas since the onset of the post-election problems.
For visitors to Nairobi it is recommended that the high density housing estates and slums should be avoided, including Eastleigh, Mathare, Huruma, and Kibera but tourists have always been advised to keep away from these areas.
For visitors to the Coast it is recommended to avoid going into Mombasa “town” at the present time including the areas of Majengo, Tonononka, and Bondeni as some sporadic demonstrations had occurred previously in this area although all has been calm and normal for over a week now. Mombasa is an island and not a beach resort and the areas mentioned can be avoided by tourist vehicles transferring from the airport to the beach resorts on the north and south mainland.
Talks between political leadership:
Today the talks started in Nairobi between the political leadership of both sides with Kofi Annan mediating. Hopes are high that the talks will lead to a resolution of the political crisis and Mr Annan expressed optimism that this could be achieved within four weeks.