Following this week’s bomb attacks in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, we are pleased to provide essential advice about travelling to the African country.
In line with the rising strength of the al-Shabab Islamist group in the neighbouring Somalia, the Kenyan security is becoming increasingly threatened. All trips to the eastern border of Kenya, where it shares a border with Somalia, are restricted to only those deemed to be essential. The Foreign Office has stated that all travel to Kenya should be avoided with particular emphasis on the eastern border, the capital Nairobi and the second largest city, Mombasa.
Every effort has been made by the Kenyan government to combat these attacks. Security has been tightened at all public transport stops and all vehicles are now ordered to have clear glass windows. Recently all the Somalian refugees have been rounded up to eliminate those extremists pretending to be a refugees. There have been constant attacks from Somalia since 2011, but now British tour operators have stopped all flights to Mombasa until at least November.
In the last month, over 82 people were killed during the separate attacks but now more information is showing that Yemen and Syria are developing bombs sophisticated enough to bring down planes, resulting in the Kenyan authorities warning its residents not to travel to Heathrow as reportedly that is where the threat is largest.
This warning comes after over 400 British holidaymakers were forced to cut their holidays short and be transported back to the UK. Although some of these travellers thought this was an overreaction, the attacks have proven to be continuous and unpredictable.
Small scale bombs and armed attacks are not all. Kidnapping, piracy and mugging are also a high threat and with this in mind Kestrel Travel Insurance urges all travellers in Kenya to be extra vigilant in public places and especially after prayer times. As foreigners are not normally targeted, if you stay within your hotel complex, you should be safe. If venturing outside, be careful around the coastal areas and surroundings of places of worship as these are often targeted. Whilst in Kenya, you must also remain frequently updated on the local media but only travel outside your hotel if it is absolutely necessary.
Because of the high risk of terrorism in Kenya at the moment, the Foreign Office is urging all those who must travel to Kenya take adequate travel insurance. There is no cheap option as at the moment Kenya is the highest risk country. You must make sure the levels of cover are high enough to cover your personal valuables and baggage, and to cover the cost of the trip in case of cancellation. Also it is a priority to make sure any medical conditions are correctly declared in order for the insurance company to cover any emergency treatment whilst you’re away.
As previously mentioned, kidnapping and mugging are a risk in Kenya. Most insurance companies will only accept the claim if you notify the local authorities of the event within a specific time period. It is worth reading through the policy wording to understand what your insurance company requires if this event arises.
If you wish to talk through your options or levels of cover for any arranged travel plans to Kenya, call our friendly, fully trained staff on (01624) 624594.