Bribing a Kenyan Border Guard

Waiting for a flight out of Nairobi, a week after the airport had been almost destroyed by an arson fire, I was about to blow a gasket. The already inefficient African customs process was a nightmare, with passengers being herded under temporary tents on the tarmac and Kenyan security guards barking orders everywhere.

I buck up under pressure like that, but you don’t buck up to a Kenyan with an AK-47.

I handed my passport to one of the customs official for inspection, but through some sleight of hand he stole my yellow vaccination card. I still don’t know where it went, but it disappeared. Seems that my other traveling companion had suddenly lost hers as well. He announced that we couldn’t leave Kenya without our yellow cards. He offered to take us to a clinic to be vaccinated for a “low price”. I wasn’t about to be re-vaccinated by a sketchy needle in East Africa, so I denied this offer. He then offered to supply us with the needed documents…without needing to get re-vaccinated. After some haggling, it cost us $130 for two yellow cards signed by a fake doctor at Nairobi Agra hospital.


That’s $65 each. That’s a monthly salary for this guy, coughed up by a few unwitting Westerners.


If you’re from the United States, unfortunately you’re going to have to go through a little more visa trouble & expense than some other nationalities. Some countries will let you walk right in. Others will charge you out the butt, because they can.

Others just steal your stuff & then charge you to leave.