Nairobi Warnings and Dangers
A visit to Kenya wouldn’t be complete without stopping in Nairobi, the capital city and one of the largest cities in the country. Take a look at some of the hazards of the city that you should be aware of before you visit.
In general, walking the main streets of Nairobi where the shopping centers and sites of interest are located during the day is much like walking the streets in any large city. Walking is typically safe, but you should take care to watch your surroundings and keep your valuables close. Don’t accept rides from strangers, and if you want to take a taxi, make sure that you choose one that’s registered.
There is a slum area in Nairobi known as Kibera, or Kibich. If you’re interested in exploring that area, don’t go in alone. There are guides that will take you in and lead you through the area safely.
It’s best to avoid walking the streets at night if you can. After dark, it’s best to stick to registered taxis and travel in a group. Keep your valuables locked in your hotel safe, rather than bringing them out with you, especially at night.
Nairobi is a large and fast-growing city, and the road system hasn’t kept up with the population growth. As a result, you may experience very bad traffic during rush hours, such as the hours between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and the hours between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
If you can, plan your outings around rush hours. If you must drive in Nairobi traffic during rush hour, be prepared to spend some time in gridlock, and be patient.
If you need to convert your cash to the local currency, make sure that you do so inside a reputable bank. You may be approached on the street by people offering to convert your currency, but you shouldn’t trust such offers–they’re likely to be a trick. Furthermore, it’s always safer to avoid showing your cash when you’re out in public.
If you’re a smoker, it’s important for you to know that Nairobi has strict bans on smoking in most public places. If you want to smoke, there are several smoking zones inside the city that you can use. If you’re not in a smoking zone, you could be fined for smoking in a public place. The smoking rules are rigidly enforced, so make sure you know where you can and can’t light up when you need to.
When you travel to Nairobi, you’re traveling to the equator. It’s hot, and the sun is stronger there than it is in most places. Be prepared. Bring plenty of sunscreen and use it before you go out on the streets. Choose a waterproof variety, as you’ll probably be sweating.
A brimmed hat and sunglasses are also necessary to protect your face from the sun, and you may want to dress in long sleeves to protect your arms and shoulders. Be sure to choose breathable fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin.
Preparing for the possible dangers of Nairobi will help ensure that your trip is pleasant and uneventful.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Nairobi.