Is it safe to visit Kenya after killing of Tristan Voorspuy?

The Masai Mara is a popular tourist destination. Photo © Andrew Watt

Whenever a shocking news report from a popular tourist destination is brought to the attention of holiday makers, questions begin to be asked about the safety of traveling there, especially with the threat of terrorism affecting locations worldwide.

Following the death of British expat Tristan Voorspuy, Kenya is back in the spotlight, especially as the area in which he was murdered is a popular destination for tourists and a particular favourite of the Royal Family.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly update their travel advice, highlighting areas around the globe that tourists from the U.K. should avoid. Although it released a “travel update” following the shooting, the FCO has not advised against travel to Laikipia, nor to any other safari destinations in the country. This indicates the FCO believe the threat to British visitors is low.

Tourism officials in Kenya have also quickly moved to reassure tourists after the tragic incident.

In a statement, the Kenya tourist board said: “We extend our condolences and sympathy to the family of Mr Voorspuy and to the other Kenyan farmers and ranch employees who have been caught up in the conflict over pasture in the affected area in recent weeks.

“The present unrest and insecurity are restricted to a few localities and a small number of ranches and that the well-known wildlife conservancies and tourism facilities in the rest of Laikipia are not affected and remain calm and peaceful.

“Tourism activity continues as normal in most of Laikipia and throughout the rest of the country with holidaymakers currently on safari in the country’s national parks and visiting its popular coastal resorts.”

Travel advice map 16In Kenya, the areas in which the FCO currently advise against all but essential travel to are:

  • Areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border
  • Garissa County
  • The Eastleigh area of Nairobi
  • Lamu County and those areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself
  • Within 15km of the coast from the Tana river down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river

Around 117,000 British residents travel to Kenya each year and the FCO advises that most visits are trouble-free.

Earlier this week, Kenya Police spokesman Charles Owino said security has been intensified in Laikipia to protect visitors, investors and tourist facilities, including camps and lodges. He also revealed that police were escorting tour vans transporting tourists to ranches and conservancies so they could enjoy game drives without fearing for their safety.

He also reiterated that to date, no tourist has been affected by the ranch invasions by herders.

You can see the FCO’s travel advice for Kenya in full on their website.