On March 15, 2020, Kenyan authorities imposed a ban on travelers from all countries with the presence of covid-19. For more information on coronavirus and travel restrictions, see the entry Entry and Health.
On January 5, 2020, a mainland military base in Lamu county was attacked by the Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabaab. Three US civilians associated with the military base perished, while there is currently no information on possible loss of human life beyond this. The attack illustrates well the difficult security situation in the area of Lamu Island. The unpredictable and unpredictable security situation is the reason why Norway has decided to tighten up its travel advice which now means that it also does not advise strictly necessary stays and travel to Lamu and Manda island.
Kenya held elections for president, parliament and county level in August 2017. Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the presidential election. However, the Supreme Court chose to cancel the result due to fraud in the election process. The re-election, which was held on October 26, was boycotted by the opposition as Kenyatta won the election with 98 percent of the votes cast and was elected president for a new term in November 2017.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga first announced that the opposition would not accept Kenyatta as Kenya’s legitimate leader and in January 2018 proclaimed himself “president of the people”. However, in March this year Kenyatta and Odinga entered into a very surprising agreement on cooperation for reconciliation and reform. The agreement has reduced the political tension in the country. However, it is unclear to what extent the agreement will help to solve the many underlying problems in Kenyan society.
Norwegian citizens are still encouraged to be vigilant, avoid large assemblies, stay up to date through local and international media and follow the directions of the Kenyan authorities. One should exercise critical judgment on news reports and social media messages.
- Countryaah: Nairobi is the capital of Kenya. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
Both resident Norwegians and Norwegian tourists are encouraged to be extra cautious. avoid traditionally unsafe areas and larger congregations, exercise caution when visiting malls and using public transportation, bring cell phones with contact information to family members, and register at www.reiseregistrering.no. One should keep abreast of developments through the media and the embassy’s website, as well as report to the authorities on suspicious circumstances and follow their instructions in the event of security-threatening incidents.
For any eventuality, one should also consider having an adequate supply of water, dry food, medicines, candles, money, fuel, etc. in the house, as well as always bring identification papers and phone numbers to family and key contacts when staying outside the home.
The Embassy’s website will be updated. Contact phone numbers are + 254 (0) 20 425 1000 or +47 23 95 76 00.
Kenya is a relatively safe and stable country. Tourism is an important trade route and Kenya has many popular tourist destinations, especially in the well-developed safari parks and along the coast. Kenya also faces security challenges and has recently been hit by several serious terrorist attacks. These have primarily been linked to Somali armed groups operating in the border areas between Somalia and Kenya, but also Nairobi was hit on January 15, 2019 with the attack on the Dusit2 complex. Kenya’s authorities are taking these security concerns very seriously and are cooperating with international partners in the fight against terror. Like other major cities around the world, there is a persistent threat situation in the major cities of Nairobi and Mombasa.
In 2017, there has been some unrest in parts of the Laikipia area, north of Mount Kenya, which is linked to the drought in the area. Norwegian citizens are requested to consult with travel agencies and accommodations, as well as follow local media, in order to stay as informed as possible when traveling to the area.
As a result of a complex risk picture in Kenya, the Norwegian authorities are encouraging Norwegians to take the necessary precautions and be aware, especially in situations and areas where many people are gathered. Norwegians in Kenya are recommended to register at www.reiseregistrering.no.
The risk to travelers in Kenya is primarily related to: 1) car traffic, 2) crime and 3) terrorism.
Road safety: Traffic in Kenya is considered to be risk # 1. Use of public transport should be avoided; both larger buses and minibuses, so-called “matatu”, have a high accident rate. They are often in poor condition and run irresponsibly. When renting a car, make sure the vehicle is in good condition, with solid tires, good, functioning seat belts etc. If not, reject the car and ask for a new one.
The road standard is poor in large parts of the country. Use caution while driving and avoid roadway driving in the dark. Do not drive the Malindi-Lamu section; the road is poor and has been exposed to road robbers.
Car doors are locked and the windows are closed when driving in the city center. Do not leave valuables in parked cars.
It is not advisable to stop to assist the crashed car, etc. In the event of an accident, report to the nearest police station instead of stopping.
Crime: Crime in parts of Kenya is high, and weapons are often involved. Armed hijackings of cars as well as robberies and assaults are increasing, especially in Nairobi. Tourists are cautious and do not walk in areas where they are not known or on deserted beaches. It is not advisable to travel on foot anywhere after dark. One should not carry visible valuables such as expensive jewelry, watches, camera etc. It is not advisable to visit slums without following local knowledge.
There have been some thefts of passports and the like at the Nairobi International Airport, JKIA recently. It is recommended to pay special attention to arrival and departure and take good care of the travel documents.
Terrorist attack: The terrorist threat in Kenya must be taken seriously. This is particularly true of the areas northeast of Kenya, including along the border with Somalia, the entire Kenya coast, including Mombasa and Nairobi. The embassy asks residents and travelers in Kenya to exercise caution and vigilance, especially in public places, in and around public buildings, hotels, tourist attractions, shopping malls, airports, public transport, markets and other places where many people gather. The Eastleigh district of Nairobi should be avoided.
Kenya has been hit by terrorist attacks several times, the largest against the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi in September 2013 and against a college in Garissa, northeast of Kenya, in April 2015. The militant group Al-Shabaab in Somalia has previously threatened new terrorist attacks in Kenya. They also claimed responsibility for the most recent attack (January 15, 2019) against 14 Riverside Drive in the Westlands district of Nairobi. 21 people were killed in this incident.
Look higher up about the attack on the military base on January 5, 2020
To give the Norwegian authorities the opportunity to establish contact with Norwegians in Kenya with preventative or follow-up information, it is strongly recommended that the journey be registered at http://www.reiseregistrering.no/
Choice of residence for longer stays: For longer stays in Kenya, including student stays and work for voluntary organizations, it is recommended to choose a residence with good security measures. Although work or study is in poor neighborhoods/areas, it is not recommended to settle in these areas.
Women’s safety: Women should avoid traveling alone at night if possible.
Sexual orientation: Homosexuality is punishable under Kenyan law, although the new constitution prohibits any form of discrimination. The penalty clause is considered “dormant”. Kenya is a multicultural and modern society, at the same time characterized by considerable conservative powers. There is a burgeoning social debate about LGBTI rights. In practice, many gays will be able to live a relatively undisturbed life as long as they maintain a discreet profile. Especially in Nairobi and in tourist areas it is problematic for gays to travel.
Local conflicts: In the northern and eastern areas, in the border regions with Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, there have been conflicts between different ethnic groups for a long time. The conflicts are often linked to cattle theft, land rights and political representation. Foreigners are not usually targets for this type of attack, but the general security situation is unstable and caution should be exercised. Driving should be done in convoy with escort.
Political turmoil: In light of past political turmoil and opportunities for violence, one should avoid meetings and demonstrations that can turn violent. Currently, the area in and around Mombasa is particularly vulnerable to riots, where there have been riots related to some mosques. The same goes for the city center in Nairobi.
Piracy: There has been a decline in cases of Somali pirates attacking ships and other vessels off the coast of Kenya. This is largely due to measures such as patrolling international naval forces and armed guards aboard commercial ships. Small, private vessels are still vulnerable, and boat tourists are advised to stay close to the coast.
This article is not exhaustive regarding the security picture in Kenya. Travelers and residents are advised to follow the local media and authorities. The Embassy’s website is updated with relevant information when the situation so indicates.
Insurance: Norwegian citizens are strongly encouraged to have valid travel insurance.
Emergency: In a crisis or emergency, the public is encouraged to contact the embassy at the following telephone number:
- In Kenya: +254 20 425 1000
- From Norway: +47 23 95 76 00
Outside the embassy’s opening hours, the public can contact the UD’s 24-hour operating center at:
- Phone number: +47 23 95 00 00
- Email: [email protected]
Coronavirus (covid-19): As a measure to prevent the spread of the virus, on March 15, 2020, Kenyan authorities imposed strict restrictions on entry into the country. As of midnight Wednesday, March 25, all international airports will close for all commercial flights, which means it will be difficult to get in or out of the country by air.
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
There is a visa requirement for all Norwegian citizens to Kenya. Visas should be applied for and paid online through the Kenyan website. Visa costs USD 51 when applying online. Please note that there are up to several fake visa application websites for Kenya.
Kenyan immigration authorities also issue visas on arrival at the airport if one has not applied online in advance. However, these rules can be changed quickly. Visa on arrival must be paid in cash with USD 50, EUR 40 or GBP 30.
Norwegians can also apply for a visa in advance from the Kenya Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Kenyan authorities accept the following travel documents:
- Emergency passport (We have found that people with emergency passports have encountered challenges when entering Kenya. However, the Kenyan authorities confirm that this is a document approved for entry)
- Refugee travel document (green travel document). NB: A visa for such a document mustbe applied for in advance at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm, at least three months before departure.
- Travel document for people staying on a humanitarian basis (blue travel document). NB: A visa for such a document mustbe applied for in advance at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm, at least three months before departure.
All travel documents must be valid for at least six months upon entry.
It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents and visas are valid. It is also noted that these rules may change.
All Norwegians who will be traveling to Kenya or residing in Kenya are encouraged to register at reiseregistrering.no, exercise special care and follow the directions of the Kenyan authorities.
It is recommended to take out comprehensive travel insurance for visits to Kenya.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Kenya has currently reported a small number of cases of infection. The authorities have implemented a number of preventive measures. Updated information on these can be found on the Ministry of Health website.
On March 15, Kenyan authorities imposed a ban on travelers from all countries with the presence of covid-19. Persons who have arrived in Kenya from abroad are quarantined for 14 days. The injunction has retroactive effect for persons arriving after March 1, 2020. As of midnight Wednesday, March 25, all international airports will close for all commercial flights, which means that it will be difficult to get in or out of the country by air. Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the corona virus. Follow local authorities’ advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation.
You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD’s answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.
Before leaving for Kenya, it is recommended to contact the National Institute of Public Health for official health travel advice and health guidance.
Kenyan authorities require yellow fever vaccine if visitors come from an area with yellow fever. For persons planning to stay in the border areas of Somalia or traveling to Somalia, it should be noted that Norwegian health authorities recommend vaccination against polio when traveling to Somalia, especially if staying for more than four weeks. The background is the recent increase in cases of polio (poliomyelitis) in several parts of the world, including Somalia.
Malaria medicine is needed in large parts of Kenya, with the exception of Nairobi/Highlands. East Africa is also a high risk area for HIV/AIDS. The high air pollution in Nairobi can also be troublesome.
Nairobi and Mombasas have several good private hospitals, doctors and dentists that can be used. The range of medicines is also satisfactory.
All Norwegians traveling to countries outside Europe and North America are recommended to register with the Foreign Service. This also applies to Norwegian citizens staying in Kenya for an extended period. Voluntary registration for Norwegians during foreign stays is done at reiseregistrering.no.
Kenyan immigration authorities require your passport to be valid six months after leaving Kenya. Some businesses require you to submit a passport when paying by credit card. It might make sense to have a copy of your passport on the trip. Should you be unlucky to be stolen or lose all of your identification documents, a copy of your passport could serve as identification for any emergency passport issuance. Scan the page that contains the personal information in your passport and send to your own email. Then you always have a copy available.
Power/phone. Current voltage: 240V. Three pins outlet. There is GSM coverage in the cities, urban areas and tourist areas. Several carriers offer 3G networks. The most common are Safaricom, Orange and Airtel. Telenor/NetCom subscription from Norway can be used. According to allcitycodes, the country code for Kenya is +254.
Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KES). 100 KES = NOK 8.20 (March 2017)
Visa and Mastercard as well as some other international credit cards are accepted. ATMs are available in the cities, and most hotels, restaurants as well as major grocery/business accept credit cards.
Normal opening hours bank, public office and shops. Bank: Monday-Friday at. 09-15, grocery store: Monday-Saturday at. 08-18, Sunday at. 08-13, Public Offices: Mon-Fri 7 p.m. 08-17
Emergency telephones: Police, ambulance, fire department 999
National Holidays: 1st New Year’s Day, Idd Ul Fitr (date varies), Good Friday, 2nd Easter Day, May 1st (Workers’ International Match Day), June 1 (Madaraka Day), October 20 (Mashujaa Day), December 12 (Jamhuri Day), 1st and 2nd Christmas Day.
Kenya is one hour ahead of Norway summer time, and two hours ahead of winter time. English and Swahili are official languages.
The use, possession and sale of narcotics is punishable by fines and imprisonment.
There are no strict dress codes in Kenya. But be aware that the coastal areas are mainly Muslim. Women in particular should therefore dress conservatively outside the hotels, with their shoulders and legs covered. Nudism is prohibited by law.
Gay acts are criminalized in Kenya. However, the section of the Criminal Code in this field is considered to be “dormant”. Especially in Nairobi and in tourist areas it is unproblematic for gays to travel. One should probably avoid demonstrating gay acts publicly.
Smoking in public areas is prohibited in Kenya and is particularly enforced in Nairobi and in the surrounding areas of airports.
In September 2017, the use of plastic bags was banned in Kenya. Avoid having plastic bags in your luggage upon arrival in the country.