I’m sure everyone has heard of the unspeakable events which have taken place in Lamu over the past month. For those who haven’t, there have been two separate cases of kidnapping by Somali pirates. You can read the news articles here:
A British couple visiting Kenya as tourists were attached at the lodge they were staying in. The husband was shot and killed and his wife kidnapped. The last reported sighting of her was on an island just outside of Kenya’s jurisdiction in Somalia territory. To this day, there is yet to be word of any ransom or other such demands from the kidnappers (suspected Somali pirates).
An elderly French woman who has been living in Lamu for many years by herself was attacked and kidnapped. Police believe the kidnappers to be gang related however the similarities to the previous case cannot be overlooked. As before, any form of ransom is yet to be heard of.
It is a sad state of affairs. I can only imagine the negative impact these occurances are having on tourism. I haven’t yet been to Lamu but now I don’t really want to go. Desirability is a tender thing. It can be destroyed by the simplest act of evil. Although Kenya has had issues in the past (such as the violence surrounding the previous elections), generally, Kenya is a hot spot for tourists with so much to offer. It would be terrible for Kenya to garner a label of “do not visit” such as Congo, Columbia, Iraq etc.
I would like to assure everyone out there that even though these aweful events have occured, Kenya is still a beautiful country well worth visiting. Yes, perhaps it would be a good idea to keep your Lamu visit very brief for now but don’t let these instances deter your dreams of visiting this african paradise. I have been to Kenya many times and have lived here for a while and not once have I felt threatened in any way. The people are friendly and greet you with a smile (while trying to get you to buy something from them of course :P). So anyway, moral of story? Don’t scratch Kenya from the “must visit” list!
But these acts of terror get you thinking. Traveling to a foreign country is usually a daunting task. The cities, people and culture are unfamiliar. Only when thinking of visiting a country do the horror stories emerge. Often, one can decide not to visit a country because of the crime rate, terror activities etc. The truth is, we have the exact same issues found in foreign countries in our home country.
I always thought Norway was the safest place on Earth. What happened just a few months ago? Killing spree. At the end of the day, you are not safe anywhere. It is imperative that one travel wisely. Stay out of dangerous areas and walk away from bad situations where possible. If your gut feeling tells you something isn’t right, trust it as it always speaks the truth.
So here’s wishing safe travels to everyone :)