OK I'm debating going to Kenya for Worlds.
I've got a few questions. Originally I was just going to ask where to go but now I have concerns about going in general
1) Is it safe for me to go? If I go i'm not just going to hang out on the beach in Mombassa. I'll want to go to Iten, Eldoret, etc see some of the training camps. Is it safe for me to travel alone? (I may go with someone who goes over there quite regularly but I figure I'd like to travel some on my own) or should I have someone else come with me? How should I travel in the interior of Kenya? I might be a little bit apprehensive to begin with but the State Department advisory on travel there and story I read on the homepage makes me a bit apprehensive. Before I figured the biggest concern was some irrational fear like a freak terroist act, now I think it is some random carjacking.
2)Where else should I go besides Mombassa? I don't know much about Kenya at all.
Add anything else you want to as well.
I went to S. Africa over Christmas and had a great time. I mainly was staying in tourist areas but felt really safe despite all I heard before hand.
OK I'm debating going to Kenya for Worlds.
If you don't go, everyone on the board is going to call you a pussy. So you've pretty much gotta.
Pack Heat and you'll be OK.
I went to Kenya a couple years a go, spent a month there, no problems.
iten and eldoret are completely safe. i travelled all around both cities by myself, walked around at night time, etc. iten is a very small town, so there really much isnt too it. eldoret is a good bit bigger, but is easy enough to travel around foot, or if need be, take a taxi. i would frequently ride a matatu from eldoret to iten, which only costs 40 shillings (about 50 cents.) white guys stick out there, so youll catch a lot of stares but anytime i ever needed help with anything, the people were overly friendly and would go out of their way to help me. if you wanted to spend a couple days there, you can get a hotel with hot water for about 7 or 8 bucks a night, or im sure you could find someone to host you for free. i spent most of my time at the home of bernard barmassai, former wr steeple holder, who has a very friendly and welcoming family. im not familar with mombassa, but with the two towns mentioned above, youd be in less danger than walking down the mean streets of ithaca.
make marijuologist a moderator
Where are all the Kenyan posters?
From what I've heard and read, Mombasa is a fun and reasonably safe city, but Nairobi is much more dangerous, especially for foreigners. (You probably have no desire to go to Nairobi anyway.) Like you, I'd be most interested in Eldoret and Iten.
I just got back from living in Kenya this past semester. As a whole, it is quite safe if you are smart about where you go. You'll pay more than everyone else for nearly everything based solely on your skin color, but it's not all bad. Mombassa is an ok city, but if you travel up or down the beach a ways, the atmosphere is much more relaxed. Malindi, Watamu and Kilifi are all wonderful places to the north (although I know Kilifi was hit by the flooding in November, so the situation might not be so great there). Besides that, if you can get up to Lamu for a couple days, that is always a rich cultural experience. Nairobi has quite a few swank clubs as well as down to earth Swahili restaurants. If you're looking to go all out, go to the Carnivore (in Karen) which has been ranked in the top 50 restaurants in the world several times. As a first timer, you should take a cab most anywhere at night in Nairobi, and stay west of River Road. Things get shady pretty quickly on that side of town (One of my classmates got her necklace stolen and in yelling out "thief" got the kid who stole it beat to death with 2x4s). Nairobi as a whole though is reasonably safe (more dangerous I’ve heard than Johannesburg, but as long as you’re not wearing shorts and playing with your camera you’ll be fine). Outside of the coast and the major cities, there are tons of national parks you can go explore. Mount Kenya has some great routes as does Mt. Elgon in Western Kenya. You can also go to some of the game parks like Masai Mara, but honestly, the road there is pretty shitty and looking at animals in the back of a dusty jeep all day can get old. A great alternative is to go Lake Nakuru (smaller that Masai Mara, but has all the basic animals) or, better yet, to Hell’s Gate National park just outside of Naivasha. You can rent bikes (rather decrepit but they do the trick) and bike through the park. There aren’t the wide selection of animals (mainly just zebras, cape buffalo, giraffes, antelope) but you really get to experience it much more when there is nothing between you and them. Additionally, there are some great sandstone gorges there that you can hike through (and apparently where they filmed Tomb Raider) and you can camp in the park for a nominal fee. Unfortunately, Eldoret isn’t really all it cracked up to be. It is basically a service town, although you can get a tour of the cheese factory there if you go on a weekday (which is a pretty big deal). As mentioned, Iten is small. I only made it there for a morning, but when you go, be sure to head up to Kamariny Stadium (very cool). Lornah Kiplagat’s training camp is just outside of town and they have some amazing facilities there. Also, if you’re up around Iten, check out Thompson’s Falls in Nyahururu. There are some stairs carved out of the rocks going down to the falls, and if you get there in the morning you can do workouts with the local athletes. Kakamega forest is also beautiful (the sunrise on buyangu hill is phenomenal and should be taken in if at all possible). Traveling much further north than Iten can be dangerous and usually people travel in convoys. That being said, if you get the chance to go to Maralal to see the world’s view, you won’t be sorry you took the risk. As far as travel, you can rent vehicles, but it’s much cheaper to go by matatu. Really that principle goes for your entire experience in Kenya. It is easy to ride posh and charter vehicles around, eat and nice restaurants, sleep in hotels for the most part. If you get off the beaten path a little though, the experience is much different. Hope that helps.
Been down there for training 15 times, never had a problem whatsoever. Not even close to it actually. However, take a flight from Nairobi to Eldoret, try and avoid the car trip up there (the flight takes about 30 minutes and costs around 50 USD)They drive like crazy on that road. At least get a good driver.
From Eldoret airport, take a taxi (pay 1000 Kenyan shillings) to the center of Eldoret. Eldoret is not a place to stay for longer periods of time, though. Few runners there and sort of just a crowded place.
You should consider going straight up to Iten. The travel is 30 minuters drive from Eldoret. Up there, stay at the Lornah Kiplagat camp located right by the road http://www.lornah.com/ and about 1 km from St Patrick high school. Nice people, they can probably hook you up with travel from the airport etc also. In Iten you are pretty close to (under 1 hour) to the camps in Kaptarakwa, about 50 min-1 hour from Kip Keinos farm (close to Eldoret) and of course all of the Iten camps.
Travel within Kenya, we usually just rented a regular taxi for day rental if we wanted to go around abit. Paid 4000 shillings a day (which is 90 USD) including driver. Safer than renting a car by ourselves. And he just stayed with us the whole day. Quite convinient. Or for just small trips, jump on the local "buses" that go everywhere. Costs close to nothing. And never had any problems with that either.
Shoot me an email if you need help [email protected]
Weldon, there is violence in every country, every single day.
I think you should not miss this event. I am thinking about going myself since there is now a nonstop from Bangkok to Nairobi.
This is a historic occasion, the first ever major international championship of running in the one country that is arguably the "Capitol of Running."
Yes, you should go to Iten and Eldoret too. I'd love to do that but I just had an achilles surgery last week, so I'll be out of commission until at least mid-April.
Some of my most memorable experiences in my life have been from travelling to countries that are truly "3rd World." You'll find warmth, humanity, humility, and a who different mentality about life and the world. It is truly an educational and enriching experience to travel to 3rd World countries.
So go to the public health dept., get your shots and enjoy. From what I've read, it's best to just use Nairobi as a transit point, and get out into the rural areas, which will probably be safer anyway.
Ive been there once TDY for the Air Force. We worked most of the time but the only thing I would recommend is not to travel alone in the evenings or night time.
Although that was 2000 things may have changed. I had fun and never felt in "danger" I guess the way I look at it if you have a friend or someone who knows the place.
Better safe than sorry know what I mean? Not a shot at Kenya either just CYA in a place you've never been in your life before.
I'm sure you will have a blast and I'm sure Mayeroff is right its a once in a lifetime opportunity. So go and have fun and see the sights just be careful.
Ive been there once TDY for the Air Force.
Probably looking for 'terrorists'. How perfect.
Safety is overrated, have fun!
Never take the State Dept. warnings at face value. They are exaggerated at best and panic-mongering at worst.
Good info Marius.
Been down there for training 15 times, never had a problem whatsoever. Not even close to it actually
So, considering what you wrote, what do you think of all the top Americans' deciding not to make this trip because it is apparently too inconvenient and too dangerous (or whatever their reasons are) ? Are you suprised? Do you think they are missing a great experience?
I'd like to hear what you think about that.
Just like USA here where somebody can shoot you at a shopping Mall (Utah last week) it doesn’t happen quite often in Kenya. Isolated incidence of violence are just everywhere in the world, but even compared to South Africa Kenya is far ahead and really safe.
Also just as the way your president is scaring you that “terrorist will kill American people” we really don’t have terrorist threats in Kenya. There will be maximum security in Kenya during W XC, and if you miss it you are missing lifetime experience test of country world leaders in distance running.
Yes its safe to travel to Kenya! I spent two months training at the Kip Keino High Performance Training Center, which is about 6 miles outside of Eldoret. White guys do standout, but i found everyone to be very nice and helpful. I would recommend that you make a stop by the Kip Keino High Performance Training Center, when i was there Daniel Komen... the new one... was training there.
I actually think there's a major difference between an elite athlete going and a tourist doing so. A lot of what's required for the trip - especially the vaccinations- and the climate they're about to find at the other end - are liable to wreak havoc with an elite runner's training and racing plans. A tourist is just a tourist. I'm not going to critical of anyone who ran and qualified at Boulder but doesn't wish to go to Mombasa.
im not familar with mombassa, but with the two towns mentioned above, youd be in less danger than walking down the mean streets of ithaca.
That's true. My brother got the shit beat out of him here last year by some thugs. They were harassing this girl, he tried to help out, and boy did he get the worst of it. Broken nose, 2 black eyes.
that story about the 2*4s is crazy. But vigilante justice definitely exists much more so in other parts of the world. My Kenyan friend used to tell us some just incredible stories.
And I figure tourists have to pay more but Kenya still is very cheap. A friend of mine was in the peace corps in morocco. She was at the local market and held something up to ask how much it was. He gave her a price. Then she said in Berber that that was way too much. He laughed, said she wasn't a tourist, and then cut the price by more than half.
The guy I might travel with is black (african american) so we should do an experiment and see if black American get the same price as white Americans. Maybe they'll charge me less since I'm a novelty.
Wejo, you will not be much of a novelty in Kenya because you are white. Tourism in Kenya is big, and people are very accustomed to white tourists, especially in Mombasa. If you went very far north, things would be different. In small, out of the way villages, kids would come to check you out, out of curiosity.
In my experience, Kenyans treat black Americans like other Americans. Your wealth makes you different, more than your skin color.