March 25, 2008

Kenya Rising?

Hopeful news for Kenyans and for travelers who hope to experience the unmatchable wonder of dawn and dusk game drives through Kenya's national parks: the worst of the recent post-election violence may be over.

Before our trip to Uganda (see previous posts), I'd signed up for State Department alerts for Uganda and contiguous East African countries, and I haven't yet removed myself from the distribution list.

Yesterday I received this message from the State Department:

"March 21, 2008

This Travel Warning is being issued to update U.S. citizens on safety and security conditions in Kenya. Threats of political demonstrations and violence have dramatically receded following the widely accepted power-sharing agreement signed on February 28. The U.S. Department of State has rescinded the authorized departure order for Kisumu and environs and USG personnel and families are able to return there. The temporary suspension of the United States Peace Corps program in Kenya is under review with the goal of resuming the program in the near future. The U.S. Department of State continues to recommend that private American citizens in Kenya and those considering travel to Kenya evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing, potential threats from terrorism and crime. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning of February 8, 2008.

The power-sharing agreement signed on February 28 has been widely accepted throughout Kenya; parliament ratified it on March 18. Implementation of the agreement is expected to proceed. The threat of widespread civil unrest has receded, although there remains potential for spontaneous demonstrations in areas of the country previously impacted should implementation not proceed as expected. "

I don't know that I'd buy a plane ticket just yet, but I might go ahead and get some maps and guidebooks and start dreaming about a Kenyan safari to magnificent places like Masai Mara (photo) and Amboseli, true places of a lifetime.