For many centuries ago, the Eastern region of Africa has widely opened her doors to visitors from every part around the globe. It is made up of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. It boasts of the most attractive weather, fertile soils, an impressive coastline, friendly people with rich cultures and so much more. With the introduction of the 90-days East African Single Tourist visa at only $100, it is now possible for every visitor to explore East Africa to the maximum.
If you’re wondering what unique adventures that the ‘cradle of mankind’ has to offer you, then take a serious reading throughout and endeavor to have a taste and feeling of all the highlighted adventure activities…
Conquering Africa’s highest peaks
The six highest mountains in Africa are found within the Eastern region. These are Mt. Kilimanjaro (5895m) which is also the world’s highest free-standing mountain, Mt. Kenya (5199m), Mt. Rwenzori (5109m), Mt. Meru (4566m), Mt. Karisimbi (4507m), and Mt. Elgon (4321m). They are very popular with both skilled, amateur and thrill-seeking mountaineers from all over the world and they can be climbed with great ease. Most of these mountains are found within the two arms of the East African Great Rift Valley. There are many mountain climbing clubs in the region offering climbing expeditions at a considerable fee.
The best Safari adventures in the world
A large number of visitors come here for wildlife safaris where they can watch interesting wild animals (including the big 5) as they roam freely in their natural habitat rather than in city zoos. In the Swahili language, to go on a Safari means making an overland journey to see wildlife. East Africa has the world’s largest concentration of wildlife species in its vast plains and the dense jungles. Here you would find the rare mountain gorillas, lions, buffaloes, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, and a lot more. You may not know but four of the top five fastest animals in the world call East Africa their home. These are the cheetah, wildebeest, lion and the Thomson’s gazelle. The best safari adventures can be made in scenic national parks like Maasai Mara, Murchison falls, Kidepo Valley, Tsavo, Serengeti, Aberdares, and Queen Elizabeth.
Enjoy the ‘greatest show on Earth’
Your African adventure won’t be complete without witnessing the world’s largest mass animal migration, “The Annual Great Wildebeest Migration” also referred to as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Here, approximately 1.8 million Wildebeest, 400,000 Zebras, and 300,000 Gazelles roam in a circular form for 1800 miles between Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park in search of water and pasture. This mass exodus was listed as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa and at times it turns into a tug of war as predators like lions, hyenas, and crocodiles tussle it out with the migrating animals as they cross the area’s rivers. Get in touch with a local tour company to know the best time for enjoying this great show.
Tasting Africa’s finest cuisines while sipping the world’s best coffee!
You’ll find the continent’s most delicious and healthy food only in East Africa. Due to the area’s volcanic fertile soils and the abundant rainfalls, the region produces plenty of food and this has earned it the title “Africa’s food basket”. You should try out common traditional cuisines like the Luwombo and Matooke from Uganda, Ugali, Mchomo, and Githeri from Kenya, coconut bean soup, Makubi, and Plantain soup from Tanzania. The great taste of these dishes draws its inspiration from the skillful preparation process by the local chefs.
Other indigenous foods include cassava, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum, etc. Just try to look around for local restaurants that serve traditional African foods, and the rest will be like a love story. East Africa also grows and processes the world’s best coffee. Grown on the fertile slopes of East Africa’s volcanic mountains in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya, high-quality coffee is produced, processed and then sold to be enjoyed in several parts of the world. In case you can’t find any East African coffee in your country, then you’ll have to come for it from its source and perhaps, you’ll also carry some coffee packs with you back home for your early morning sips.
Forge memorable bonds with Africa’s friendliest people
Ugandans are described as being the most hospitable and well-mannered people, Kenyans are said to be the most humorous while Rwandans are crowned as most appealing! All this tells you that East Africans are very heart-warming, and cheerful easy-going people. It would be a shame if you leave this part of Africa without making a native friend. Also, take some time to learn Africa’s most widely spoken native language Swahili which is used by over 300 million people on the continent.
Learn about the cultures of the continent’s fiercest tribes like the Maasai warriors, the Turkana nomads, the Karamojong, the Pokot and understand their unique way of life. Other interesting tribes in the region include the Baganda, Tutsi, Sukuma, Luo, Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Nandi, Akamba, Hutu, Itesot, etc. The area has more than 300 ethnic groups or tribes with plenty of languages being spoken. Millions of non-Africans have also called this area their home for more than two centuries. Before flying out, buy some traditional souvenirs adeptly made by these tribes including the colorful Kangas, Gomesi, Kanzu, mats, Kitenge, backcloth, facemasks, hats, bracelets, sandals, statues, etc.
Plenty of outdoor fun activities to indulge yourself
With the continent’s best climate, you can never run out of things to bring you those colorful fun moments while visiting East Africa. Did you know that you can do white water rafting and also kayak on the wild rapids of the world’s longest river, Nile? Somewhere in Jinja lies the source of this river, served by the world’s second largest lake, Victoria. If you enjoy swimming, then there are plenty of pristine white sand beaches on the Indian Ocean coast and the most popular ones are Unguja, Watamu and Diani beaches. Here you can bake yourself under the intense sun, while also enjoying tropical fruits.
You can also hike in some of the continent’s most beautiful natural sceneries here in E. Africa like the huge equatorial rainforests, ie. Mabira and Aberdare forests, the rift valleys and the highlands. The area also has several iconic waterfalls like Murchison, Rusumo, Sipi, Thomson’s falls. In case you prefer to relax on a paradise island while being surrounded by tropical greenery, then you’d head to either Pemba, Mafia or Ssese islands for a once in a lifetime delight while not forgetting that this region boasts of the world’s largest number of bird species.
Hop onto a boda-boda and explore the daily life
There’s nothing more interesting than having an observation of local people going about with their everyday activities while riding you’re riding on a boda-boda. For many decades, boda-bodas have been the most commonly used form of transport for all East Africans due to their easy accessibility, flexibility, low cost and the personal comfort they offer. You’ll beat the rush-hour traffic jam and reach almost every place with these boda-bodas. As long as your rider is attentive and you’re wearing a helmet, you will without a doubt have exciting hops from one end of the city to the other. You’ll explore life in the crowded markets, bus parks, street life, and also race against time with these agile riders because there’ll be nothing to delay you.
Absorb the area’s rich history by visiting iconic places
The East African region has plenty of rich historic trails that date as far as the Stone Age era. There are many sites of historical and cultural interest to take you back into the ancient life of the people of this area. Such iconic landmarks include the 16th century Fort Jesus built by the Portuguese, the Uganda Martyrs Shrine, the 13th century Gedi ruins, the Stone Town and the Old Slave market in the spice island of Zanzibar, the Olduvai Gorge (where the earliest human skull was discovered), national museums, the 1994 Rwanda genocide memorial, former royal palaces of kings and chiefs, ancient religious structures built by the region’s early missionaries, independence monuments, etc.
Not forgetting, the region has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites on the continent and among these include caves, royal tombs, hills, caves, rock paintings, ecological conservation areas, etc. There are also plenty of exciting ancient towns to give you interesting sights like the Old Town of Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Lamu Old Town, Kilwa and interior ones like hilly cities of Kampala and Kigali.
That is how you will have an ultimate adventure of Africa’s most loved and most visited region. With plenty of teeming wildlife, friendly people, impressive landscapes, attractive weather and the abundance of nutritious food, you’ll never have enough of East Africa. But be aware, you might end up disliking your home country and decide to settle here like millions of others did before. Anyway, you’ll always feel at home because the East African region will keep offering you the best bargains in every sphere of your life!