There were some worries prior to the event about the move, the area is notorious for robbers who attack motorists and pedestrians and at least one murder has been recorded there two years ago. The Police put in place a security plan including road closures to ensure the tournament passed without incident. Parts of Langata Road and Aerodrome Road were closed to motorists apart from those bearing VIP stickers; parking and shuttle busses were also put in place for the fans between the stadium and Highway Secondary School, All Saints Primary School and Kenya Railways Sports Club. Security fears were vindicated after a woman was raped leaving the tournament. Other commentators have said that the area is no more dangerous than the surroundings of the RFUEA Ground and that the attack was partially a result of bad luck or poor judgement to decide to walk home rather than take a taxi or bus.
For the first time the tournament was held in early November, rather than the traditional June, in order to avoid clashes with other world class rugby events so that more prestigious teams could send sides to participate and thus further raise the prominence of the event in the world rugby calendar. The Rugby World Cup 2011 ended in October and the IRB Sevens World Series began two weeks later in late November. The hope is that the Safari Sevens will become a warm-up event to (and possibly even an integral part of) future IRB Sevens World Series.
Standard tickets cost KSh300 (Friday) or KSh400 (Saturday and Sunday) per day (KSh1000 for all three days - equal to £6.39 or €7,43 or US$10.25). VIP tickets were KSh1000 (Friday) or KSh2000 (Saturday and Sunday) per day, KSh4000 for all three days - equal to £25.58 or €29,73 or US$41.00).
A strong panel of match officials blending experienced regulars from previous editions of the Safaricom Sevens with up and coming match officials from the region and overseas referees with international experience. Hong Kong’s Lee Wing Yi Gabriel became the first top female referee to officiate at the Safari Sevens (though Kenya’s own Sarah Agola, who also officiated, was a veteran of six tournaments having made her officiating debut at the 2005 tournament).
Tournament hosts and defending champions, have finished in the top ten every season of the IRB Sevens World Series since 2007-2008. Played for the first time under their new coach Mitch Ocholla in this tournament.
The Emerging Springboks are a national representative side of players who have never won a full South African cap. They made their debut at the Safari Sevens in 2003 (losing to Kenya in the final). They lost to Kenya again in 2004 before winning in 2006 and 2007 (beating Zimbabwe both times).
Cited security issues rather than a lack of funding for their decision to miss the tournament; Kenyan security forces had been engaged for three weeks in a military offensive inside neighboring Somalia after a series of terror attacks on Kenyan tourism targets. Mwamba RFC filled their berth.
The first tiebreaker is the head-to-head result between the tied teams, followed by difference in points scored during the tournament. Spain and Samoa tied on points and their head to head result; Samoa won Pool C by virtue of the fact they scored a total of 140 points to Spain's 76.
Tanzania made history by putting together a national representative under-19 side for the event.Zimbabwe also sent a national representative side as they have done to several previous Safari Sevens tournaments. Uganda sent their school national champions Hana Mixed School.
All eight of the Kenya provinces were represented in the tournament.