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COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Kenya - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya due to the threat of terrorism and a high crime rate.
Border with Somalia - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Lamu counties bordering Somalia, due to a risk of kidnapping and attacks.
Border with South Sudan and Ethiopia - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to Turkana and Marsabit counties, within 110 km of the borders with South Sudan and Ethiopia, due to armed banditry and cross-border violence.
Regional advisory - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the following areas, due to a risk of kidnapping and attacks:
- within 50 km of the coast of Tana River County
- within 50 km of the coast of Kilifi County (from north of the city of Malindi to the Tana River County limits)
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place and a daily curfew is in effect from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. You must wear a face covering in public.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
There is a threat of terrorism. Credible information indicates that westerners may be targeted by extremists in Nairobi, Naivasha, Nanyuki, Meru, Narok and the coastal areas of Kenya.
Terrorist attacks have occurred:
- in Nairobi
- in the coastal region, including in Mombasa and Malindi
- in the Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties, near the border with Somalia
Foreigners have been targeted in some attacks. Further attacks cannot be ruled out.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
On January 15, 2019, a terrorist attack causing many casualties took place at the Dusit Hotel complex in the Westland district of Nairobi.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places
- Stay at hotels that have robust security measures, but keep in mind that even the most secure locations cannot be considered completely free of risk
Areas bordering Somalia and portion of the Coast region
Kenya’s border with Somalia is closed, but it is porous and Somali militias and bandit groups have carried out cross-border attacks against foreigners and humanitarian workers in this region. Some incidents involved the use of improvised explosive devices and have resulted in injuries and deaths, including at the Dadaab refugee camp, 80 km from the Somali border. The risk of such attacks in the region remains high.
Disputes between Somali clans also make the region unstable and dangerous. There is an increased military and police presence and frequent roadblocks due to the Government of Kenya’s efforts to limit Somali incursions and gun-running in the border area.
There is also a risk of kidnapping in the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa bordering Somalia and the coastal areas of Lamu County. Groups based in Somalia and northeastern Kenya have targeted humanitarian workers, tourists and residents in the past and deaths have occurred.
Beachfront accommodations on the coastal area are vulnerable to criminal activity, such as armed robbery, break-ins and carjacking.
Areas bordering South Sudan and Ethiopia - Avoid all travel
There is an extreme threat of kidnapping, terrorism and cross-border violence in the northern counties of Marsabit and Turkana within 110 km of Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Neighbourhoods of Nairobi
Criminal activity remains high in several neighbourhoods and areas of Nairobi. Police capacity to respond to crime and other incidents is very limited.
Northern and Western Kenya
Some areas located in Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir and Mandera counties are considered unsafe. The ongoing threat posed by terrorism is joined by various regional, tribal or clan-based conflicts involving land, cattle and water. Consider using armed escorts when travelling within these counties; escorts can often be arranged through local police stations.
- Avoid venturing away from tourist areas
- Do not travel after dark
Tribal conflicts have occurred in the Mount Elgon area in the western counties of Trans-Nzoia and Bungoma. If you decide to travel to that region:
- remain vigilant at all times
- monitor local media
There is a high crime rate in most regions of Kenya, particularly in major cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, and at coastal beach resorts. Traditionally, crimes increase in the weeks before Christmas.
Be aware that there have been incidents of “mob justice” in which a crowd lynches suspected criminals prior to the arrival of police.
Carjacking, home invasions, kidnappings and robberies occur, including during daylight hours and in neighbourhoods normally considered safe.
Tourists have been the target of carjacking, robberies and kidnappings while travelling to or from the international airports in Nairobi and Mombasa.
- Only use transportation organized by reputable tour companies or well-marked taxis
- Be particularly vigilant if you are commuting alone
In Nairobi, exercise extreme caution in informal settlement communities, such as Kasarani, Kibera and Mathare, due to the high level of crime and limited capacity of police to respond to incidents.
The Old Town of Fort Jesus in Mombasa has a similar crime rate to other areas of the city during the day. However, there is a greatly increased risk of criminal activity at night, including robberies, attacks and other street crimes. Crime rates are also high on and around the Likoni Ferry (which links Mombasa and the southern resorts).
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times, particularly on roads linking a city centre to residential areas
- Do not walk outdoors at night, particularly in isolated areas
- Exercise caution while walking during daylight hours and if travelling after dark
- When confronted by robbers, comply and do not offer resistance
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs.
- Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Avoid showing signs of affluence or carrying large sums of money
- Ensure that your credit and debit cards, cash and any other financial resources are not all kept in the same place
- Store your belongings in safekeeping facilities
- Never leave your bags unsupervised at a ticket office or a registration desk
- When you leave your hotel room, ensure that the door is locked and the “do not disturb” sign is displayed
Thieves travelling on scooters or on foot have targeted the bags of car or scooter passengers.
- Keep your windows closed, doors locked and valuables out of reach and sight
- Be especially vigilant when stopped at traffic lights
Incidents of passport theft have occurred in the departure area of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. There have also been cases where checked luggage has been pilfered.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all airports
- Store your valuables in locked hand-luggage
- Do not exchange currency in the public areas of the airport
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Criminals have been known to impersonate hotel employees, police officers or government officials in attempts to get money from tourists.
If you are approached by someone claiming to be a government official or police officer and they fine you for an alleged offence, ask for an official government receipt.
Police officers are required to identify themselves. There is a complaint process through the Kenyan Police Service to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse.
Exercise caution if you are travelling to Kenya to meet someone with whom you have developed a relationship on the Internet (friendship, business or romance). Foreigners are often lured to Kenya, especially during the holiday season (Christmas and New Year), to meet their online contact in person. Once there, they become victims of crime. Some have lost thousands of dollars and some have been arrested for failing to pay debts accrued locally or exorbitant bills racked up as a result of scams.
More about overseas fraud
National parks, safaris and reserves
Tourists have been victims of crime, sometimes involving violence, in national parks and reserves, as well as on safaris.
- Remain aware of your surroundings at all times
- Avoid camping alone or without expert local assistance
Visitors travelling overland to certain game parks and reserves have been attacked by armed bandits. Exercise caution on the roads between the following regions due to attacks, robberies and vehicle hijackings:
- Malindi to Lamu
- Nairobi and the Amboseli, Masai Mara, Nakuru and Tsavo game parks/reserves
- Nairobi and the Mount Kenya/Aberdare area
Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.
- Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
- Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
- Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
- Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice
The Kenya Tourism Federation operates a 24-hour Safety and Communication Centre, which provides information on tourism and road conditions, and has information about regional assistance in an emergency.
Contact information for the Kenya Tourism Centre
Foreigners volunteering with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have sometimes reported incidents of fraud, threats and mistreatment by local personnel.
If you are contemplating volunteering with NGOs in Kenya, you should contact the National Bureau of NGOs before making any commitment and before departing Canada, to confirm that the organization you wish to work with is legitimate. All NGOs in Kenya are required by law to be registered with the National Council of NGOs, a self-regulating, non-partisan body.
Learn about entry/exit requirements specific to working for an NGO or to do volunteer work.
Demonstrations take place regularly. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Attacks involving sexual assault have occurred.
Safe-travel guide for women
Forced marriage affecting foreigners occur. It sometimes occurs without the affected person’s prior knowledge or consent.
Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.
Major highways are generally in good condition but minor roads are poorly maintained. Drivers do not respect traffic laws, and drinking and driving is prevalent, especially at night.
Keep this in mind when planning travel by road, as driving at night can be risky. Excessive speeds, poorly maintained vehicles, poor lighting and inadequate signage pose hazards.
During the rainy season, some unpaved roads become impassable, even with four-wheel drive vehicles. You should drive defensively and always be aware of your surroundings.
Serious traffic delays are common. The road from Nairobi to Mombasa is particularly congested and can be dangerous for tourists unfamiliar with local driving conditions. You should travel by air or train if possible.
Use authorized border crossings when travelling by vehicle between Kenya and Tanzania.
Public transportation is unsafe.
Inter city buses
Long-distance buses have been involved in serious accidents.
Intra City travel
Local mini buses (matatus) and motorbike taxis (boda-bodas) are generally poorly maintained, recklessly driven and not adequately insured. Matatu hijackings and incidents of passengers being robbed have occurred.
Use reliable taxi companies, and confirm the fare in advance.
The Madaraka Express Railway line between Nairobi and Mombasa is reliable and safe. Other passenger train lines are not safe and are routinely late.
The Likoni Ferry (from Mombasa to Likoni) is unsafe due to a combination of high crime rates, uncontrolled crowds, limited safety training, frequent breakdowns and inconsistent maintenance. Stampedes and overcrowding on the ferry have resulted in multiple injuries.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
Kenyan authorities may impose curfews in response to changes in the security situation. Monitor local media for the latest information.
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory. While some countries have started to ease some of these measures, most remain in place.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel.
These could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- exit bans
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
- border closures
- airport closures
- flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
COVID-19 – Ending of the grace period
The COVID-19 grace period for foreigners in Kenya has expired. You could be fined if you remain in the country without the required authorization.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from Kenyan authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Kenya.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
As of January 1, 2021, you won’t be able to obtain a visa at a Kenyan port of entry.
You should obtain your visa online prior to your departure.
Tourist visa: required
Transit visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Work Permit: required
Tourist visas are valid for up to three months.
You must have a visa if you are transiting Kenya to another destination. Your stay may not exceed 72 hours. If you are connecting to a flight directly without leaving the airport, you don’t need a transit visa.
Be sure to check the visa validity immediately after issuance.
If you don’t have a valid visa you could be detained, taken to court and charged for being in Kenya illegally. You could be subject to a fine or deportation.
- eVisa – Kenyan Department of Immigration Services
Kenyan Immigration authorities may extend your visa for one month at a time, for a maximum of three months. Each extension costs KSH 1000, and must be requested while the visa is still valid.
To extend your visa, contact immigration authorities once you are in the country.
You must pay all visa fees in exact cash and only in U.S. dollars, British pound sterling or euros. You can’t pay for a visa with a credit card.
There is no fee for visas for children under 16 years.
East African tourist visa
The East African Tourist Visa allows for multiple entries to Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
This visa is valid for 90 days and cannot be extended.
You must obtain this visa from the authorities of the country that is your first entry point. If you plan to begin your trip in Kenya, you must obtain it from the High Commission for the Republic of Kenya or on arrival.
You must have a valid work permit to work or volunteer in Kenya. It is illegal to work or volunteer in Kenya with any other type of visa.
As a foreign worker in Kenya, you must carry the necessary work permits and documentation with you at all times, even when volunteering. Strict actions will be taken if you don’t comply, including deportation.
To obtain an electronic working permit, apply online with the Department of Immigration Services. You must visit the Kenya Immigration headquarters (Nyayo House in the Central Business District of Nairobi) after completing the online application to obtain your permit.
Apply for a work permit - Kenyan Department of Immigration Services
Canadians planning to work or volunteer (including, temporarily or part-time) in Kenya for any period are required to have a work permit.
The National Council of NGOs can provide assistance in obtaining a work permit for individuals planning to work for a local NGO if contacted in advance.
If an employee moves from one organization to another, the first permit becomes void and the individual must apply for a new permit to work with the subsequent organization.
Consult with the NGO with whom you are planning to volunteer, as well as with the Kenya Immigration Foreign Nationals Services for full information and requirements.
More information about Kenyan work permits - High commission of Kenya
Due to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease in neighboring countries you may be subject to a quick thermal scanner screening and/or a health questionnaire at the airports upon boarding or disembarking a plane and at land border crossings.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
The Kenyan authorities regularly carry out spot checks for proof of yellow fever vaccinations. Carry a copy of your proof of vaccination with you at all times.
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - January 16, 2021
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has identified this country as no longer poliovirus-infected but at high risk of an outbreak. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in East Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in East Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
Rift Valley fever
Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites and avoid infected animals and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in East Africa, like avian influenza, Ebola, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
COVID-19 - Testing facilities
Consult the following links to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test:
- Local COVID-19 testing facilities - Kenya Civil Aviation Authority
As part of the Trusted Travel initiative put in place by the African Union Commission, travellers leaving Kenya must also have their COVID-19 test authenticated online and obtain a travel code before departure.
Good medical facilities are available in Nairobi, but health-care standards in other parts of the country vary and can be very limited. Medical facilities may require proof of insurance or up-front payment before starting treatment.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
You must carry photo identification or a copy of your passport at all times. Police and immigration officials have the right to demand proof of your identification, residency or valid visas. You should cooperate with authorities if you are asked for identification. Failure to present proof of residence or a valid visa to authorities when requested to do so could result in fines or arrest. Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it’s lost or confiscated.
It is illegal to work or volunteer in Kenya without a valid work permit. Kenyan authorities strictly enforce this law. Convicted offenders could face heavy fines, jail sentences of up to five years and deportation.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment and heavy fines. You could also face fines and jail time if you are convicted of being in a location where there are illegal drugs, even if they are not yours.
There are strict restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages and on consuming alcohol in public places.
Smoking is prohibited in all public places. Convicted offenders could pay heavy fines or face a jail sentence.
Possession of ivory or other banned wildlife items, even if purchased outside of Kenya, is strictly prohibited. Killing, buying, selling or trading any protected wild animal or any of its parts is illegal. Offenders can be arrested and given lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.
Photography of government buildings, foreign embassies and missions (including the Canadian High Commission), airports, military facilities or other sensitive locations is prohibited and may lead to arrest or detention.
Illegal and restricted items
The use, manufacture or importation of plastic bags, including garbage bags and shopping bags, is illegal. Convicted offenders, including tourists, can face very heavy fines (up to USD 40,000), imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
Learn more about the plastic bag ban.
To carry firearms, you must obtain permission from local authorities prior to entering the country. Firearms are strictly forbidden in wildlife reserves and national parks.
Possession of pornographic material is forbidden.
Kenyan law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face lengthy prison sentences.
Even though there are few convictions, LGBTQ2 persons are routinely harassed by the police, and societal discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Kenya.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Kenya.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Kenya, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
Traffic drives on the left.
While driving, drivers must always carry:
- a valid driver’s licence
- vehicle registration documents
- proof of valid insurance
- a valid vehicle inspection certificate
These documents must be produced on demand by a police officer.
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a private motor vehicle in Kenya.
You may drive using a Canadian driver’s licence for up to 90 days from the date of entry into Kenya.
An International Driving Permit is accepted, if presented with your original Canadian licence.
Residents of Kenya may apply for a Kenyan driver’s licence with proof of a valid Canadian driver’s licence.
If using a Canadian licence for any of the above cases, it must be in English or a certified translation must accompany it and be presented on demand.
Private motor vehicles must have 2 emergency triangles.
If you are stopped due to a traffic violation, the police officer may ask you to pay an on-the spot fine. Police, however, are not permitted to accept cash on the spot without issuing an official receipt. If you disagree with the traffic ticket, you have the right to ask for due process. The officer should provide you with information on when and where you can go to be properly charged, and then you may pursue that process.
More about the International Driving Permit
Exercise common sense and discretion in your dress and behaviour, particularly in the coast region, where the majority of the population is Muslim.
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2021, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around April 12.
The currency is the Kenyan shilling (KES).
ATMs are widely available.
Credit cards are widely accepted at major hotels, but not always in more remote locations.
Many banks and hotels exchange foreign currency. It is also possible to convert Kenyan shillings into foreign currency at the airport upon departure.
M-PESA is a common form of electronic funds transfer accepted across Kenya, including at national parks. National parks do not accept cash and generally accept credit cards, but at times, due to technical difficulties, only payment via M-PESA is accepted.
Travellers who import the equivalent of U.S. $5,000 or more must provide documentation stating the source and purpose of the funds.
Natural disasters and climate
Rainy seasons and droughts
Drought is the most prevalent natural hazard in Kenya affecting mainly the eastern, north eastern and coast area, as well as parts of the Rift Valley.
There are normally two rainy seasons in Kenya: from October to November, and from late March to mid-June. Seasonal flooding and mudslides can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
If you reside in or are travelling to affected areas:
- exercise caution
- monitor local news and weather reports
- follow the advice of local authorities.
Volcanoes and earthquakes
Natural disasters are possible due to regional volcanic and seismic activity. While there have not been any recent incidents, pay careful attention to all warnings issued.
There is no reliable centralized number to reach emergency services. Research and carry contact information for local police and medical facilities.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the High Commission of Canada in Kenya is only providing emergency assistance at this time. If you need consular assistance, contact the High Commission by email or telephone.
Nairobi - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the the High Commission of Canada in Nairobi and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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