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Kenya Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the border areas of Kenya because of threats by the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

U.S. citizens should also be aware of potential terrorist threats and the high risk of crime throughout the country. This replaces the Travel Warning dated November 10, 2015.  

Thousands of U.S. citizens travel to Kenya without incident. For your safety:

  • Avoid travel to the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa (including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and Liboi), the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu, the area of Kilifi county north of Malindi, and the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh.
  • In Mombasa, the U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens visit Old Town only during daylight hours, and avoid using the Likoni ferry due to safety concerns.

Terrorist attacks involving shootings, grenades, or other explosive devices have occurred, killing and injuring many in Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera counties, and also in the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi. Potential terrorist threats, such as bombings, kidnappings, and attacks on civil aviation, remain in Kenya, including within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and within the northeastern region of the country.

Al-Shabaab targets have included government sites, police stations and vehicles, public transportation, nightclubs and bars, religious institutions, universities, and shopping areas. The most deadly of these took place on April 2, 2015 at Garissa University College, where al-Shabaab terrorists killed almost 150 people, primarily students, and wounded many others. Additionally, there was an attack at the Westgate Mall in September 2013 that killed 67 people and wounded many others.

Violent and sometimes fatal crimes, including armed carjackings, grenade attacks, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time and in any location, including Nairobi. U.S. citizens and U.S. Embassy employees have been victims of such crimes in the past.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an updated Notice to Airmen for Kenyan airspace. For further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

To be safe, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities. 

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Kenya.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, at  telephone (+254) (20) 363-6000, 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. Citizens is (+254) (20) 363-6000. 
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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