UK Government issue travel update for Laikipia

Laikipia travel advisory

The UK Government have issued their latest travel update for Kenya.

In the update, listed under the safety and security section (local travel), the message reads: “On March 7, 2017, the government of Kenya declared that parts of Laikipia County were ‘dangerous and disturbed’.”

The British government issued a previous update following the murder of Tristan Voorspuy, but did not change the official travel advice warning against travel to the region.

Mr Voorspuy was fatally caught up in the potent mix of politics, drought and land grievances which was behind the rising number of ranch invasions in Laikipia County.

Over the past few months, hundreds of herders have driven thousands of animals into the ranches which are mostly owned by Kenyans of British extraction.

Ranch owners say their businesses are at risk as lodges, essential to the Kenyan tourist industry, are damaged and wild animals killed.

Last week, British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, condemned the killing of the expat and called on the government to address the security situation in the region, but stopped short of issuing a travel advisory covering the region.

The invaders argue that the ranches have pasture and water, while their animals are facing death due to the ongoing drought.

The herders, armed with poisonous spears and guns, they have cut through fences in conservancies, enabling them to drive in cattle, sheep and goats and ignored government directives to leave the ranches.

It is estimated that in the past four months, 15,000 pastoralists from the neighbouring counties of Samburu, Isiolo, West Pokot and Baringo have driven more than 140,000 livestock into ranches, conservancies and private farms in Laikipia North and West, threatening the wildlife in one of Kenya’s richest biodiversity regions.