Viewing cable 07NAIROBI944

07NAIROBI9442007-02-27 16:45:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Nairobi

DE RUEHNR #0944/01 0581645
P 271645Z FEB 07
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: STATE 23457 
 ¶1.  Embassy Nairobi grants country clearance and welcomes 
S/WCI Ambassador Clint Williamson and Foreign Affairs Officer 
Brendan Doherty.  Country clearance is granted subject to the 
actual security situation at the time of proposed travel. 
The embassy switchboard number is 254-20-363-6000 and the 
after-hours number is 254-20-363-6170. The control officer is 
Melissa Sweeney, work International Voice Gateway (IVG) 
telephone number 8-871-6186, cell phone 254 722-200-167. 
Hotel accommodation has been arranged at the Intercontinental 
Hotel at a cost above perdiem.  Therefore we suggest you 
request for actual lodging costs.  The hotel telephone number 
is 254-20-320-0000, and the hotel facsimile number is 
254-20-320-0003. An Embassy expediter and the control officer 
will meet you upon your arrival. 
¶2.  Security assessment: 
- There is currently a travel warning in effect for Kenya, 
which states that "American Citizens should evaluate their 
personal security in light of continuing terrorist threats 
and the limited ability of the Kenyan authorities to detect 
and deter such acts."  The U.S. Government continues to 
receive indications of terrorist threats in the region aimed 
at American and western interests, including civil aviation, 
and that the Kenyan government might not be able to prevent 
such attacks. 
- Nairobi is designated a critical threat post for 
transnational threat and crime by the Department of State. 
The RSO is required to brief all TDY visitors staying more 
than two weeks are required to attend a security briefing by 
the RSO at the regularly scheduled security briefing at 9:00 
a.m. on Thursdays.  Personnel on official USG business are 
required to stay in RSO approved hotels.  You may obtain the 
list from your sponsoring office. 
- Violent crime in Nairobi is sharply rising.  Carjacking, in 
order to commit an armed robbery, is the most common form of 
crime in Nairobi.  In virtually every instance, carjackers 
use weapons to rob and carjack their victims.  Most victims, 
if they are completely cooperative, are usually released 
unharmed, with their vehicles.  However, victims are 
sometimes tied up and put in the back seat or trunk of their 
own car.  Criminals who commit these crimes will not hesitate 
to shoot a victim who is the least bit uncooperative, or may 
appear to hesitate before complying with their assailant. 
The RSO recommends that if confronted with a criminal 
incident, victims acquiesce immediately and quietly.  Put 
your hands where they can be seen and avert your eyes. 
Though this does not guarantee your personal safety it is 
more likely you will survive the incident. 
- Street crime is particularly bad in downtown Nairobi and 
Uhuru Park and mission personnel are strongly urged to avoid 
the downtown area after dark.  Throughout the country reports 
of group attacks and muggings are on the rise.  Pickpockets 
and thieves carry out "snatch and run" crimes on city streets 
and near crowds.  Large public functions are particularly 
vulnerable to rings of organized thieves.  Visitors have 
found it safer not to carry valuables, but rather to store 
them in hotel safety deposit boxes or in room safes.  The RSO 
recommends leaving all important documents (passports, plane 
tickets, etc.) in a hotel safe and not wearing any jewelry on 
the street.  In addition, visitors should avoid hanging a 
camera around their necks, handbags on the backs of chairs, 
carrying a protruding wallet, and carrying or showing large 
amounts of money in public. 
- While traveling in vehicles, doors should be kept locked 
and windows rolled up.  Highway bandits are active on roads 
leading to the border areas and some areas in the 
northeastern portion of the country require special RSO 
approval prior to travel. 
- The Government of Kenya (and the Mission firearms policy) 
prohibit the importing and carrying of firearms except for 
U.S. law enforcement officers engaged in protective security 
or investigative duties. 
¶3.  Climate:  Weather conditions in Nairobi are sunny and 
mild year-round with daily temperatures ranging between 50 
and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  In April and May, it rains 
frequently and daytime temperatures are lower.  From June 
through September, dry, but often cloudy weather persists 
with cool nights. From October through November there is 
occasional rain, but most days are sunny and warm. 
¶4.  Health:  Due to the high altitude, Nairobi is not a 
malarial area and malaria prophylaxis is not needed; but the 
risk of malaria outside Nairobi is significant.  Therefore, 
if you are planning to travel outside Nairobi, particularly 
to areas below 3,500 feet elevation, it is advisable to begin 
using oral malarial medication before arrival and for four 
weeks following departure.  In addition, every effort should 
be made to use insect repellents, proper clothing, and 
barriers which discourage/prevent mosquito bites.  Travelers 
should also carry immunization records with valid yellow 
fever immunization as well as being current with other 
inoculations.  The embassy medical unit advises that local 
tap water is not potable.  Bottled water is safe to drink and 
can be purchased in local hotels, restaurants and grocery 
stores.  Individuals with sickle cell trait should carefully 
consider the altitude of this post.  Short-term (TDY) 
assignments carry an added risk because of the lack of time 
for acclimatization.  Dehydration and stress from exercise or 
illness compound the basic risks of high altitude.  For more 
information about sickle cell trait, contact your health unit 
or the medical clearances section of the Office of Medical 
¶5.  Internal travel: 
- Due to the dangerous driving conditions in Nairobi and in 
Kenya in general, post policy prohibits TDY'ers from driving 
USG or rental vehicles.  Waivers may be granted for 
operational reasons if approved by the RSO and the Front 
Office.  If riding with others or hiring a driver, note that 
it is inadvisable to travel at night outside well-traveled 
areas due to the lack of lighting, road signs, and warning 
signals on broken down vehicles. Many drivers exercise poor 
judgment and drive too fast.  Traffic accidents are common. 
Public ground transportation in Kenya, particularly after 
dark, should be avoided for safety and security reasons. 
Travel via passenger train in Kenya is considered unsafe by 
the RSO, particularly during the rainy seasons.  The trains 
and tracks lack routine maintenance and safety checks. 
- GSO has contracted with Jim Cab Services to provide 
additional transportation services for the mission.  In the 
absence of special arrangements for use of official vehicles, 
TDYers and visitors will be expected to use this service for 
their transportation requirements.  Because TDY 
transportation is reimbursed as part of the individual's 
travel expenses, TDYers will pay for their transportation 
directly to Jim Cab when the services are rendered.  Landline 
numbers for Jim Cab are 712-2565, 712-1205 or 712-0344; cell 
phone numbers are 0722-711001, 0722-714246 or 0733-735499. 
Never get into any taxi that has anyone other than the driver 
in it as carjackers sometimes use taxis to carjack other 
¶6.  Money matters: 
- For better exchange rates, it is recommended that money 
changing/accommodation exchange be undertaken through our 
contracted bank, the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA).  CBA 
has branches in the US Embassy building and the USAID 
building.  CBA,s hours of operation are Monday through 
Thursday, 9 AM to 12 noon and 1 PM to 3 PM; Friday, 9 AM to 
12 noon.  For TDYers, CBA will cash up to 500 US dollars per 
day and will change cash or traveler,s checks or personal 
checks.  If you are using personal checks, an exchange 
application form must be filled in and approved by the 
Financial Management Officer prior to visiting the bank. 
Your control officer will provide the form or you may pick up 
a copy in the Financial Management Center.  Certain ATM 
machines in town will accept US ATM and credit cards. 
- Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and restaurants, 
with VISA and Mastercard being the cards of choice. 
- The current rate of exchange is approximately 78 shillings 
to the US dollar. 
¶7.  General: 
- AEA Morale Store:  TDY membership in the American Employees 
Association (AEA) is available for five U.S. dollars per week 
or one dollar per day.  The AEA Morale Store offers a limited 
supply of liquor, soda, beer, snacks, Embassy souvenirs, and 
Kenyan crafts.   All products are sold in U.S. dollars.  Cash 
and travelers checks are accepted; no personal checks are 
- APO Use:  TDY personnel wishing to use the APO are required 
to present a copy of their TDY/leave orders to the APO 
supervisor.  Military members must also produce a valid ID 
¶8.  Entry requirements:  A visa to enter Kenya is mandatory. 
This applies to U.S. citizens arriving for any purpose and 
regardless of type of passport.  Travelers may obtain a visa 
in advance at a Kenyan embassy or consulate. Alternatively, a 
visa can be obtained at the airport for a voucherable charge 
of 50 U.S. dollars, but lines may be long and processing time 
slow.  Evidence of yellow fever immunization is usually 
requested upon entry to Kenya. 
¶9.  Departure:  Each person departing Kenya (regardless of 
age or type of passport) must pay a 20 U.S. dollar departure 
tax payable in Kenya shillings or U.S. dollars, unless it has 
been included in the price of your ticket.  Further, there is 
500 Kenya shilling (approximate) departure tax imposed on all 
domestic flights.