Kenya unsafe? Bah! Hakuna Matata! Image courtesy of Kenya Tourist Board
11 April 2013 Written by 

Kenya unsafe? Bah! Hakuna Matata!

Africa has unquestionably beautiful tourism destinations. Only in Africa will you find scenery like the pyramids, the great wildebeest migration, snow capped mountains on the equator and exquisite animal species like the zebra and giraffe. However, albeit the attraction, many countries in Africa have a knack for dangerous political elections. The famous coups in the Islamic north, the religious wars in the west, the racial feuds in the east and south are what come to mind. It begs one to ask a pertinent question. Is our country, Kenya, safe to travel to?

For years on end, Kenya was an African beacon of hope as a peaceful nation. All that changed in 2008. A political election gone bad resulted in the death of over one thousand people. The tourism was affected. Kenya became among the many countries listed as "potentially dangerous." That year and we did not boast of our usual 1.5 million tourist mark. Record lows were held in hotel bookings and in safari expeditions. Only a few months ago, Kenya was faced with a similarly heated contested election. The results were challenged and the matter was taken to the Supreme Court. However, unlike last time, peace prevailed. It is safe to travel to Kenya for a number of reasons.

Once bitten, twice shy

More than 1000 Kenyans died for their political leaders in 2008. The populace has become wiser. They were affected while the elite stood far from the atrocities. The terrible lessons and memories serve as a conscience prick to the country not to stoop to violence. 2013 saw a peaceful election and proved that the country will not return to its vomit. When the main opponent in the 2013 polls lost to the current government, he filed a court petition to look into the matter. The amiable reaction by the populace showed that they supported this kind of arbitration as opposed to the violent kind.

Kenyan politics has matured

Thanks to a new constitution, Kenyans have power in their hands. In 2008, politicians were accused of inciting their tribesmen to go out and fight while they rested in blissful peace. The new constitution gives the people power. The period before the elections had novel instances such as a presidential debate with a live panel. The socio-political temperatures have been cooled by the new constitution and as a result, the tourism industry needs not work with one foot in and the other out.

Presence of foreigners

Since the recent global economic crisis, Kenya has had an influx of Europeans and Americans. These foreigners, many who were affected by the recent global economic crunch, have found solace in the fair-weathered country of Kenya that has a very affordable economy in comparison to their home countries. The Europeans and Americans have been integrated into the culture. They shop, go to movies, attend church and report to work like ordinary Kenyans. Their governments have also set up their company African headquarters in Nairobi e.g. Google and General Electric. The presence of the Asian community is well noted too. The Chinese and Japanese governments have had an influx of their citizens in the country to work on the infrastructure. The Asian community has grown and is possibly bigger than the white-folk's. The presence of the Asian, Americans and Europeans encourages tourism attraction. It speaks volumes; Kenya is becoming cosmopolitan and it is safe to travel to.

So pack your bags, book your tickets, reserve your hotels and welcome to the home of The Lion King. Hakuna Matata!



Ernest Wamboye Wakhusama

Ernest Wamboye is a writer and editor working in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also a volunteer Brand Ambassador at AfricaTalentbank.com and an origami artist and storyteller at Arts & OAK, a company that he founded. Ernest is married to Waturi and they both live in Nairobi, Kenya.
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