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Kenya elections and Nairobi security risks?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:14 AM

Hello,


Question for Armchair Bushman and all Kenya experts on safaritalk ....... what is your opinion of the current general elections that is scheduled for March 4th?  What about security arrangements for pre-elections?  What would you advise would-be visitors to Kenya?

 

Thanks in advance,

Hari


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#2 Safaridude

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:03 PM

Isn't that what the pith helmet is for?

 

Sorry for being insensitive about a serious subject, but I couldn't resist...



#3 twaffle

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:59 AM

I can't answer unequivocally one way or another Hari, but I went to Kenya early in 2008 when all the violence after the 2007 elections was going on and saw no evidence of problems.  So if I hadn't known about the awful goings on, I would have had no idea.  I didn't, however, travel by road anywhere as it was a fly in, fly out safari.  So I think if you are just transiting through Nairobi and on to Arusha I don't think it would be much of a problem.  If you group is flying down to the Mara, I also think it should be fine but this is where a good ground agent is an advantage.  I used Bush and Beyond in 2008 and my driver said that they have, on occasion, chartered a plane to evacuate clients out of an area because of local problems at no extra charge to the clients.


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#4 Sangeeta

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:41 AM

Where are the Kenya based folk? I have similar concerns. In fact, may have a long road segment myself in late March & wondering if that is wise!

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#5 twaffle

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:33 AM

Where's your long road segment Sangeeta?  It may help some of the on the ground experts assess risks.


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#6 Sangeeta

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:53 AM

It's the Arusha-Nairobi shuttle transfer by road. Third week of March. I would have preferred flying, but my sister & I are on a longish trip and have to watch our pennies. Except I keep thinking that this may be the silliest money we ever tried to save.

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#7 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:59 AM

I suggest you fly that segment, Sangeeta.  It just isn't worth the risk......


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#8 armchair bushman

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

Very difficult to say, honestly.

 

Some respectable opinions are saying there will be very little to worry about.  Others are saying, it's time to make contingency plans.

The UN and US embassies are all having talks regarding contingency plans. 

 

If this election is anything like 2007/2008, there will be very little issues in the areas between safari destinations.  People who were on safari last time experienced no issues.

 

I would say, in general, tourism operations will continue as much as possible, and transport by road or air should be fine.  however, Sangeeta, if you're thinking of changing to flights instead of road transport, you should make those changes soon.

 

Tourism is going to be quite low at that period as many people do not want to be in the country around that time.  I do know, however, that plenty of camps, lodges, hotels and tour operators will still be in business.  So they're not expecting "the worst".

 

I, for one, will still be here in Kenya and continuing with my daily life, but I have my "Plan A, B, and C".



#9 Patty

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:26 PM

I can't answer unequivocally one way or another Hari, but I went to Kenya early in 2008 when all the violence after the 2007 elections was going on and saw no evidence of problems.  So if I hadn't known about the awful goings on, I would have had no idea.  I didn't, however, travel by road anywhere as it was a fly in, fly out safari.  So I think if you are just transiting through Nairobi and on to Arusha I don't think it would be much of a problem.  If you group is flying down to the Mara, I also think it should be fine but this is where a good ground agent is an advantage.  I used Bush and Beyond in 2008 and my driver said that they have, on occasion, chartered a plane to evacuate clients out of an area because of local problems at no extra charge to the clients.


Same here except we traveled by road and also spent a night in Nairobi. The only issue we had was that KQ canceled our flights coming and going due to lack of passengers.

#10 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for all your inputs.


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#11 Sangeeta

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:33 PM

Why soon, AB? I would have thought it may be better to wait & see? Or do you think there may be flight cancellations like Patti mentions?

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#12 PE213

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:48 PM

I have no experience of Kenya but having been in Zambia at the time of the Election in 2011 can only speak from that experience. We were staying in LZNP and had a road/boat transfer scheduled back to Lusaka on the second morning following the election day. The election result resulted in significant disturbance and road closures due to celebrations and some violence that resulted. We were advised by our agent and the camp management that it was not considered safe to travel by road and a plane transfer was arranged for us at no additional cost. The member of our party that had a morbid fear of flying in small planes had to overcome her fear and survived the trip. Whilst a different country it does perhaps point toward avoiding long road trips at such times to be sure of reaching your destination!


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#13 Anita

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

Ok this KQcancellation around elections has me concerned. Currently am on KQ from HK to JRO via NBO for 21/22March reaching JRO at 9:40 am. I can cancel this and take Qatar which reaches JRO at 10:05 am. Not much difference in timing but will be few added bucks. The date is almost 3 weeks after elections but from what little I read, post election surprise violence is the biggest concern which could lead to people cancelling booked flights and flights cancelling dates. How do you guys assess this risk?

#14 Patty

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:14 PM

Ok this KQcancellation around elections has me concerned. Currently am on KQ from HK to JRO via NBO for 21/22March reaching JRO at 9:40 am. I can cancel this and take Qatar which reaches JRO at 10:05 am. Not much difference in timing but will be few added bucks. The date is almost 3 weeks after elections but from what little I read, post election surprise violence is the biggest concern which could lead to people cancelling booked flights and flights cancelling dates. How do you guys assess this risk?


If there's no post election violence, I think you'll be OK. Visitors may be fewer but I don't think there will be massive cancellations. If it's any consolation, KQ didn't cancel all Europe-NBO flights during that time. We were on CDG-NBO but AMS-NBO was still operational and I believe LHR-NBO was as well (maybe not every flight). By the time we realized what was happening, it was too costly to rebook so we decided to roll the dice knowing with near certainty that our flight would be canceled. We ended up getting re-routed CDG-AMS-NBO on the day of departure arriving only an hour or so later (without our bags). That said, I don't know if you have as many re-routing options from HKG.

Oops, if you saw my earlier version of this post mentioning the re-route through Dubai, ignore that. I'm getting my KQ mis-adventures mixed up as that was a completely different trip :P

Edited by Patty, 29 January 2013 - 04:29 PM.


#15 armchair bushman

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:29 AM

At this stage, with just about 3 weeks to go, I'm quite confident unrest will be minimal/non-existent.

Nevertheless, it would be silly to throw caution completely to the wind.



#16 Sangeeta

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 06:59 AM

Just booked my air from Arusha to NBO after all the advice above. Feeling much better having done it, but another time, it would be nice to simply drive down to Amboseli without going via NBO.

Cheli & Peacock do arrange pick ups from the Namanga border for those who may be interested in simply driving down from Arusha and exchanging vehicles at the border.

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#17 AKR1

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:16 AM

I am just returned from Kenya and all was very calm. However please read this story in today,s New York Times that is disturbing.
http://www.nytimes.c...?ref=world&_r=0

#18 armchair bushman

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:36 AM

The problems between the orma and the pokomo have been going on since august last year.  and there are many grievances there that have not been addressed for years.  They are forgotten tribes of Kenya, and the government cares little for their well-being.

 

The situation in much of the rest of the country is quite different.



#19 Sangeeta

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 06:02 PM

Keep us posted, AB and others. Wishing all of you a safe and peaceful day.

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#20 samburumags

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:30 PM

Thinking of Kenya and all my friends tonight, fingers crossed all goes calmly


But, in the gathering darkness, deep behind my soul, someone, something whispers "Africa"" (Mark Owens "Secrets of the Savannah")





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