International SOS has released a map showing which countries pose a travel security risk and Kenya’s status may or may not surprise you.
The Travel Risks Map 2016 lists some parts of Kenya as having a high travel security risk, putting us on the same level as Nigeria, DRC and Venezuela. Other parts of Kenya are considered to have a medium travel security risk.
High Risk parts of Kenya
Nairobi, Mombasa, Counties of West Pokot, Turkana, Samburu, Marasabit, Isiolo (north of Isiolo town), Garissa (areas west of Garissa town) and Lamu are said to pose a high travel security risk.
High risk is applied to regions where protests are frequently violent and may target or disrupt foreigners.
“They may be exacerbated by governance issues, including security or law and order capacity. Violent crime or terrorism pose significant direct or incidental risks to travellers and expatriates.”
“Communal, sectarian or racial violence is common and foreigners may be directly targeted. Certain parts of the country are inaccessible or off-limits to the traveller.”
Medium Risk parts of Kenya
Medium risk categorises areas where periodic political unrest, violent protests, insurgency and/or sporadic acts of terrorism occur. Travellers and expatriates may face risk from communal, sectarian or racial violence and violent crime. Capacity of security and emergency services and infrastructure varies. Industrial action can disrupt travel.
According to the map, travel in Kenya is, on the whole, more risky than what it is in Tanzania and Uganda.
So what does it take to be considered safe?
The status of “insignificant travel risk” applies to very few countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Greenland.
To be considered as posing an insignificant travel risk, rates of violent crime need to be very low, security and emergency services must be effective and infrastructure must be reliable.
“Transport services are of a high standard with good safety records and only occasional travel disruption,” International SOS said.
Medical Risk: Rapidly Developing Variable Risk
The map also rates medical risk in different countries. In this category, Kenya is considered neither high risk nor low risk but of “Rapidly Developing Variable Risk” – This status is applied to countries where there is a wide difference between the high quality medical care available in the major cities and what is generally available throughout the rest of the country.
In major cities: A high or international standard of medical care is available from several selected providers.
Elsewhere: Medical care, emergency services and dental care may be basic. Access to prescription drugs may be limited and counterfeiting and/or improper storage may be an issue. Serious illnesses such as dengue, malaria, typhoid, and cholera may pose a threat in some regions or throughout the country.
You can see the full map here.