In Kenya, some places are heavily guarded in such a way that a suspicious look, flash of a camera or a two-minute stop can land you in trouble.
Some of these buildings and streets are heavily guarded and very few to no clear images of them exist online.
Heavy security presence in these areas is a show of how high profile these areas are. WoK looks at some of the most guarded streets and buildings in Kenya.
State House Nairobi & State House Road
The official presidential residence is the most guarded place in the country.
State House boasts a heavy security presence with special unit officers drawn from Recce Squad and the General Service Unit (GSU) constantly patrolling the residence.
Vehicles and persons entering and leaving the residence undergo security checks to ensure maximum security in the area.
Idling or photography in the area is highly prohibited. A selfie in the area might gift you a date with security officers and an overnight grilling.
Apart from the official presidential residence, the street has two foreign embassies. Members of the public using the road can spot the heavy presence of officers donning red berets.
Numerous motorists who have had their cars break down along State House Road, have narrated how security officers emerge from nowhere and help them fix their cars, so that they can get going as soon as possible.
The US Embassy & UN Avenue in Gigiri
This is one of the most heavily guarded buildings in Kenya. The US Embassy relocated its headquarters to Gigiri in Nairobi following the 1998 bombing.
There is heavy military and police presence in the area surrounding the consulate. Persons and vehicles entering the premises are subjected to through security checks and scrutiny.
The Road also hosts the United Nations offices in Kenya. Presence of soldiers and officers with sniffer dogs in the area is a common sighting.
Idling or photography in the area is highly prohibited.
Department of Defense (DoD) headquarters & Woodlands Road
Woodlands Road is used by tens of thousands of members of the public on a daily basis, however, a closer look, you will notice several sniper nests as well as huge ‘No Photography Allowed Here’ insignia along the DOD perimeter wall.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers man the road vigilantly, aware of anything that might be of threat.
Specially trained security officers guard the other side of the road where the Chinese Consulate is located.
Harambee Avenue, Harambee Annex & Vigilance House
Harambee Avenue is one of the most heavily guarded streets in the country. It houses the Office of the President, the Deputy President, and the National Police Service (NPS) headquarters.
The street is manned by specially trained officers who spot security threats before they can materialise.
Whenever President Uhuru Kenyatta is at the Harambee Avenue office, several layers of security are added to his detail.
Other specially trained officers form a blanket on top of the Recce Squad, making the street impregnable.
Parliament Road & Parliament Buildings
Parliament Road is among the most heavily guarded streets in Kenya. It plays host to over 350 elected leaders from across the country, so the security is understandable.
Each parliamentarian has 2 security details, do the math on 350 lawmakers.
Both ends of the road are guarded heavily by security officers with spikes on the road to control the traffic in and out. Heavy security checks on civilians ensures maximum security within the area.
A wrong look or flash of the camera could land you in trouble.
Bishop Road & The Israeli Embassy in Kenya
It is arguably one of the most guarded if not the most guarded road in the country. A security expert who spoke to a local daily in 2020, revealed that the street is impenetrable.
The road is home to the Israeli Embassy and the Fairmont Hotel.
Unlike several other heavily guarded roads, you will not see security officers patrolling Bishop Road. Security personnel here operate in stealth.
The road has rock boulders placed strategically along the street so as to force motorist to move in a weaving pattern at low speeds.
Photography and idling in the area is a bad idea.
Tumbo Avenue & The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK)
Tumbo Avenue is located between Times Tower and the CBK. It is one of the most guarded streets in the country, evidenced by a high security personnel presence in the area.
The road also has a side gate to the NPS headquarters at Vigilance House.
Occasionally the road is completely sealed off as heavy armoured vehicles enter and leave the CBK. Security officers who are heavily armed can often be seen patrolling the area.
Idling and photography in the area is highly prohibited. It is one of the streets in Nairobi you will not find even a single begger.
The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and military bases across the country are some of the other heavily guarded areas in the country.