Is it safe to go to Kenya following recent political unrest?
Local experts are advising travelers to wait and see.
"If you haven't booked anything yet, I'd wait two weeks and see what happens," said Sylvia Berman,owner of Post Haste Travel in Hollywood.
"Anyone who has plans in Kenya in the next four weeks, I've advised not to go," said Norman Pieters, owner of Miami-based Karell's African Dream Vacations.
The situation does seem to be improving slowly, says Fred Ngoga Gateretse, Africa specialist for iJET Intelligent Risk Systems, which advises individual travelers and corporations on safety. "In the tourist areas, the government has reinforced security," he says.
The most significant risk for tourists is when entering Kenya via the capital of Nairobi, said Bruce McIndoe, iJET president.
Several locally-based Africa travel specialists said they knew of no serious inci-
dents involving tourists save for some short-term disruptions to domestic air travel and gas shortages in late December. Major tour operators are whisking travelers away from Nairobi, Berman said. African Travel Inc. told The Washington Post it did not feel it was necessary to cancel any tours but was allowing clients to cancel trips booked for this month.
Travelers who have booked tours are at the mercy of their agent and operator.
Most travel insurance policies do not allow travelers to cancel because of "civil unrest," said Dan McGinnity, spokesman for AIG Travel Guard.
The Kenya Tourist Board's releases as of press time indicated that violence had been limited to areas far from the tourist track and that public transport, banks and offices in Nairobi had returned to business "as usual."
The U.S. State Department has issued an update that advises travelers "to consider carefully the risks of travel to Kenya at this time and updates information on safety and security concerns."
PHOTO: Courtesy of Fairmont Mara Safari Club. Tourist resorts have not been affected by unrest, says the Kenya Tourist Board.