THE US State Department is advising people 'to exercise caution' when travelling in Kenya because of an expected increase in political activity in the period following this week's general election. The State Department warns of 'localised disturbances that have the potential to disrupt highway travel', and says: 'The probability of violence, looting and other criminal activity may be high during this period.'

The American Embassy says all non-essential travel should be avoided during the period immediately after the election. 'Security in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, which had deteriorated in 1991 and early 1992, has improved due to new security measures undertaken by the government of Kenya. Travellers who do not hire reputable safari firms or knowledgeable guides or drivers are at risk.'

The State Department says that safaris are best undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles so that there will be a back-up in case of mechanical failure. 'Solo camping is risky.'

In Nairobi, Mombasa and the coastal beach resorts there is widespread street crime. 'This is mostly of the 'grab and run' variety, and confidence tricks by people pretending to be police or other government agency officials. Wherever crime is a problem, walking alone or in public parks, along footpaths or beaches at night could result in being victimised. There is a high incidence of residential break-ins.'