COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Kenya travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Last updated: ET
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
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)
Neighbourhoods of Nairobi - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the neighbourhoods of Eastleigh, Kibera and Pangani, in Nairobi, due to the high crime rate.
Safety and security
On February 9, 2023, the US Embassy issued an alert saying that “Locations frequented by U.S. citizens and other foreigners and tourists in Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya continue to be attractive targets to terrorists planning to conduct potentially imminent attacks. Terrorist groups could attack with little or no warning, targeting hotels, embassies, restaurants, malls and markets, schools, police stations, places of worship, and other places frequented by foreigners and tourists. The government of Kenya has increased counter-terrorism patrols.”
Security alert - Embassy of the United States in Kenya
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
Be particularly alert during religious holidays, sporting events and public celebrations. Terrorists have carried out attacks during these events.
- 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
Due to increased banditry, local authorities have announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the following counties :
- West Pokot
Kenyan security forces are engaged in security operations in these counties.
If you are in an affected area:
- maintain a low profile
- follow curfew orders
- monitor local media for the latest information
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
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.
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.
Safety Centre - Kenya Tourism Federation
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.
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
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Kenyan authorities may impose curfews in response to changes in the security situation. Monitor local media for the latest information.
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Attacks involving sexual assault have occurred.
Forced marriage affecting foreigners occur. It sometimes occurs without the affected person’s prior knowledge or consent.
General information and advice about forced marriage
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.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
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 the Foreign Representatives 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.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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 foreign representative for your destination.
You must 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 neighbouring 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 more about travelling 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.
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 8 September, 2022
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 28 June, 2022
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 17 March, 2023
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
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.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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.
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.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
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.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
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.
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 of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
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.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a 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.
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 insect bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock, and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley 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.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- 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.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners.
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.
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.
Medical services and facilities
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.
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.
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, 2SLGBTQI+ persons are routinely harassed by the police, and societal discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Kenya.
Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
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.
Travellers with dual citizenship
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Kenya.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Kenya by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Kenya to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
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.
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
In 2023, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 22.
In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when :
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.
Nairobi - High Commission of Canada
Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda
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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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