When deciding where to go in East Africa make sure you include a visit to at least a few of its best destinations. Go on safari in some of Africa’s famous parks; the Masai Mara and Serengeti.

East Africa has some of the continent’s best treks–the most popular is Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. Lamu and Zanzibar are historically fascinating and their beaches aren’t too shabby either.

In East Africa there are many places to visit like:


A large proportion of Kenya’s tourism centres around safaris and tours of its great National Parks and Game Reserves. While most tourists do visit for safari there is also great cultural aspects of the country to explore in cities like Mombasa and Lamu on the coast.

The Masai Mara National Reserve is usually where the Maasai Villages can be found that most tourists like to visit. There is also a lot of beaches to visit in Kenya, where you can experience water boarding, surfing, wind surfing and many more fun activities that are good for Kenya’s economy.

National Parks

Kenya National Parks are controlled by Kenya Wildlife Services, who look after and protect the areas. The wages of workers in the National Parks are usually funded by entrance fees charged for safaris and tours. Unlike Animal Reserves, National Parks allow strictly no human habitation.

Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park, formerly Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve is in Kajiado District, Rift Valley Province in Kenya. The park is in size at the core of an ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border.

The local people are mainly Maasai, but people from other parts of the country have settled there attracted by the successful tourist-driven economy and intensive agriculture along the system of swamps that makes this low-rainfall area one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world.

The park protects two of the five main swamps, and includes a dried-up Pleistocene lake and semi-arid vegetation.

Lake Nakuru National Park
It is located around Lake Nakuru, to the south of Nakuru Town, in the Great Rift Valley. It is best known for its thousands, sometimes millions of flamingos nesting along the shores.

The surface of the shallow lake is often hardly recognizable due to the continually shifting mass of pink.

The number of flamingoes on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff. Also of interest is an area around the lake fenced off as a sanctuary to protect Rothschild giraffes and black rhinos.

Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya National Park protects the region surrounding Mount Kenya. Initially it was a forest reserve before being announced as a national park.

Currently the national park is within the forest reserve which encircles it. In April 1978 the area was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The national park and the forest reserve, combined, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Nairobi National Park

It is Kenya’s first national park and was established in 1946. It is located approximately 7 kilometres south of the centre of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, and is small in relation to most of Africa’s national parks.

Nairobi’s skyscrapers can be seen from the park. The park has a large and varied wildlife population. Only a fence separates the park’s animals from the city. Migrating herbivores concentrate in the park during the dry season.

It is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries. The park’s proximity to Nairobi causes conflicts between the park’s animals and local people and threatens animals’ migration routes.


Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south.

Cultural Tours
Touring Tanzania for culture is interestingly great as it encompasses more than 150+ ethnic groups.

There is plenty of traditional food, cultural practices (such as hunting with Bushmen, bees keeping, traditional medicine) that one enjoys within the boundaries. You will also get to visit a number of locations that normally people would be completely unaware of.

If you happen to be a person who loves to explore the world and meet new people in order to gain knowledge about different customs, a cultural tour is definitely the best type of vacation for you.

The services are not expensive and can turn out to be cheaper than expected provided you get the right information on where to stay, best tour companies and just knowledge of what you want. This way, it will save you time and costs as well.

While you are in Tanzania you may organize your safari to Serengeti and other National parks at an affordable price. If there’s one trip that will change your perspective on life, it is an African safari.

Scuba diving in and around Pemba and Zanzibar is another good experience.
You can also visit numerous historical Slave Trade sites, which could make for an interesting, if a little depressing, excursion.

Beaches: Did you know that Tanzania has some of the best, most unspoiled beaches in the world? They are stunning, with their white sand, palm trees, and cool Indian Ocean water!

Kayak the beautiful coastal waters with a tour operator.

Tanzania has two of the best Stone Age sites in the world: Isimila Gorge (near Iringa) and the earliest known examples of human art among the rock paintings, near Kolo, north of Dodoma — some of which are reckoned to be around 30,000 years old.

Kilimanjaro is one of Tanzania’s main attractions. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. Many visitors come to Tanzania to summit this great mountain. The main peak is estimated to be 5895m high making it a real challenge for mountaineers.

Tanzania is a country with great national parks, where you can see some of the finest African flora and fauna. Tanzania is home to several national parks and game reserves.

Safaris in Tanzania can be put into two categories, the Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara and Tarangire) and the Southern Circuit (Selous, Mikumi and Ruaha).

This is certainly an oversimplification and does not include other interesting but harder to reach parks such as Katavi and Gombe, just to name two. For tourists, the two first groupings are more accessible.

Wildlife Viewing:
Serengeti National Park, made famous by numerous Discovery Channel specials, hosts a wide range of wildlife, including lions, cheetahs, leopards, hippopotamuses, elephants, zebra, buffalo, water buck, crocodiles, gazelle, warthogs, and wildebeest.

One major attraction is the wildebeest migration, which occurs continuously between the Serengeti and Masai Mara (Kenya).

Ngorongoro Conservation Area also hosts an abundance of wildlife, particularly in the Ngorongoro crater. Formed by the same volcanic activity that generated Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley, Ngorongoro consists of the highlands around the crater (rich in elephants) and the crater itself (similar animals to Serengeti, but at higher densities and with a small population of black rhino).

Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve are far less popular but very enjoyable. You will find much greater variety of wildlife than you would in the Serengeti, if you are looking for a destination with fewer tourists these parks are for you.

Ruaha is known for having the largest elephant and giraffe population of any park in Africa and often goes by the name ‘Giraffic Park’, it is also a good place to see large prides of lion and the elusive and rare hunting dogs.

Additionally, Selous is the only other place besides Ngorongoro where you may see a rhino. You can also visit the Uduzungwa Mountains Park for a truly wilderness hike through unspoiled and spectacular scenery.

There are few places left in the world like this one. With new gates opened up on the Iringa side of the park with great camping it is a great addition to any visit to Tanzania.

Tarangire National Park is in the northern circuit of Tanzania and was named after the Tarangire River flowing within the park. Similar to Serengeti, the park has high concentrations of wildlife during the dry seasons. Also, over 570 bird species have been identified, and the place is surely a birdwatchers’ paradise.


Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania; it includes both Zanzibar and Pemba. Zanzibar has beautiful beaches and a historical Stone Town.

Zanzibar is great for scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming with dolphins. Other attractions include spice tours and the Jozani Forest, which shelters a small population of red Colobus monkeys.

Mafia Island Marine Park is south of Zanzibar and boasts some fantastic scuba diving and snorkeling. You may also get to swim with whale sharks, as this is one of the few areas in the world where they congregate annually.

Bongoyo Island is easy to get to with a boat from slip way. It is has a remarkable beach with excellent snorkeling in clear water, although you may be better off taking your own snorkels as renting is costly.

The island is not tide dependent therefore you can swim at any time. There is a residence price and a ‘muzungu’ price’ but still quite reasonable.

Sinda Island is a small uninhabited island of ínner sinder’ and outer sinder’.

Mbudya Island can be accessed from silver sands hotel. The water is amazing although it looks clear you cannot snorkel in it as it is surprisingly murky underneath the surface.

Lazy Lagoon There are just 12 rooms on the private 9km long white sandy island with deserted beaches. It boasts swimming at all tides in clear azure blue water, ideal for snorkeling to be mesmerized by the shoals of iridescent tropical fish hiding among the pristine coral gardens that protect the island.

The island is accessed from the mainland, just south of Bagamoyo town 70km north of Dar es Salaam. It is home to bushbabies, wild pigs, genets, baboons, duiker and Suni antelope. The bandas were well appointed and have solar powered hot water, a large shady verandah with spacious rooms and big windows.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa and one of the highest freestanding mountains in the world. Many people travel to Tanzania just to climb this mountain.

Does tend to be crowded with tourists. You can either organize your trek up the mountain from your home country through a travel agency, but you’ll pay a lot more for this convenience, or, if you’ve got a bit of time, hop on plane and save some money by organizing it in Arusha, Moshi or in Dar.

Be advised that there are as many incompetent and dishonest trek organizers as there are good ones. Ask around to make sure your guide will deliver on his promises.

Tanzania Mountains include climbing, trekking, rock climbing, hiking, walking safaris and game drives


Uganda is a country in East Africa. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the southwest by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania.

Famously called the Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill, it is home to one of the most diverse and concentrated ranges of African fauna including the highly endangered mountain gorilla and the endangered common chimpanzee.

Go on gorilla tracking. You’ll need to buy a permit which must be booked long time ahead due to limited availability (only few tourists are taken near the gorillas a day, in order not to disturb them).

With a permit in hand, you are allowed 1 hour on very close hand of a group of the highly endangered mountain gorilla in their natural habitat.

Rafting on the Nile. Uganda is a world class rafting destination and several companies arrange trips down the Nile – from half a day to 2-day trips, from peaceful family trips to very adventurous grade 5 rafting.

ATV / Quad biking. Guided tours from Bujagali along the banks of the River Nile using ride-yourself quad bikes (a 4-wheeled motorbike – also known as All Terrain Bike) with a local guide.

Do horse riding safari around the Nile and local villages.

Go on a Safari.
Go to Sipi, about 1 hour from Mbale. It is a beautiful little town on top of a hill, sporting fantastic views on and hikes to waterfalls. If you don’t feel like having a guide, tell them that you’d like to do it yourself and eventually they will leave you alone.

Great place to stay overnight in Sipi is the Crow’s nest with amazing views onto the waterfalls. Crow’s nest is alright but do not expect hotel quality service, and because of their slow service and bad food bringing our own food is recommended.


Rwanda is a relatively stable East African country and easily accessible from Kenya and Uganda. It is relatively easy, safe and simple to travel around. It is landlocked, surrounded by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.

Rwanda is not only the land of a thousand hills, but also a country rich in flora and fauna and stunning natural beauty in its scenic rolling and breathtaking green savanna.

The country hosts some rare species of animals like the silverback mountain gorillas as well as unique birds and insects in the tropical forest of Nyungwe.

You can visit:

National Museum of Butare in Huye.
The Genocide Memorial in Kigali – good insight into one of the world’s greatest tragedies. It’s free to walk around. Tour guides can be hired for small groups.

The Nyamata Genocide Memorial is a worthwhile complement to the Gisozi Memorial Centre in Kigali. Located in the town of Nyamata, 40 minutes south of Kigali on a newly paved road, the memorial is in a church where over 10,000 people were killed during the 1994 genocide.

Visitors take a short tour and see the evidence of the genocide that remains there today – victims’ clothing piled on benches, the roof pockmarked with bullet holes, and the open crypts behind the church that hold the remains of over 40,000 people from the area.

An extremely moving look into one of the places where the genocide was carried out. NOTE: If you wish to take photographs of the site, you will need to purchase a permit in Kigali before traveling to Nyamata.

The Ntarama Genocide Memorial, just 20 minutes away from the Nyamata memorial, is also worth visiting. Like the Nyamata memorial, this site was a church before the genocide, and was nationalised to serve as a memorial after thousands of people were killed within its walls.

The church itself is different than Nyamata, with victims’ clothing eerily displayed from the rafters of the church as a grim reminder of what happened there.Visitors can see large chunks of the outer wall missing, where grenades were used to force entry.

Ntarama also has a peaceful memorial garden and wall of names in the back of its compound.

Ask the resident guide for a tour in English or French, and remember to give them a donation for the site afterwards; it gets almost no support from the government. To get there, take the highway from Kigali to Nyamata and follow the signs for the Ntarama memorial, before you reach Nyamata.

Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda – a large lake bordering the DRC, it’s a nice place to relax for a week or so.

Parc National des Volcans, home of the mountain gorillas, and the setting for Gorillas in the Mist, author Dian Fossey’s research. If you can afford it it’s an excellent experience, and even possible as a daytrip from Kigali.

Boulevard de la Révolution n° 1, Kigali.You can buy them at the Tourism Office or through a tour operator. There are two other treks that you can do at the park, which are considerably less money: the Dian Fossey Trek and the Golden Monkey Trek.

You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a gorilla family. You will just not be allowed to take photos if you see the gorillas on one of these excursions.

Nyungwe Forest– in the southwestern region of Rwanda is one of Africa’s oldest and largest protected mountain rainforest. It is home to one of the largest concentration of chimpanzees and 12 other primate species.


Burundi is a small country in East Africa, although it has some cultural and geographical ties with Central Africa. It is surrounded by Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In Burundi you can visit various places.

Kibira National Park – Situated at the top of the apex Zaire-Nile, with its 40,000 ha (hectares) of preserved forest land, is the largest completely untouched natural area in Burundi.

Its forest constitutes a real shelter for chimpanzees, baboons, and monkeys (cercophitecus and colobus) scattering away at the approach of human beings and defying all laws of equilibrium and gravity.The park is criss-crossed by a network of 180 km of tracks and paths mainly used by guard car patrols and motorized tourists.

The guards of the park will scout for you in the wood undercover and you will be able to discover the fascinating attraction of the primeval forest and the varied, melodious songs of birds.

Mountain chains hide thermal springs, and access to the park is made through the tea plantations of Teza and Rwegura which count among the top scenic beauties of this region.

Ruvubu National Park – The National Park of Ruvubu lies on both sides of the Ruvubu River and is limited by high rise mountains. It was freed from human inhabitants and returned to the wild completely.

The track and length of the path network is approximately 100 km and includes many observation lookouts.

You will be accommodated in your newly erected chosen camp, and then you will be able to tell your friends when you are back home about tracking buffaloes along these trails where the joyful, gleeful songs of all the African birds accompany you.

You may think of it as springing forth at every winding turn on the path.

Rusizi Natural Reserve – The Natural Reserve of Rusizi may be your first nature trek in Burundi as it is very near the capital city of Bujumbura. The River Delta extends over 500 ha of vegetation made of Phragmites Mauritianus.

It is a natural shelter for families of antelopes and hippopotamuses that come here in quest of grazing land.At the end of the track if you are lucky enough you may meet with a few crocodiles fast asleep on the golden sand of the river banks.

The Rusizi Palmgroves (situated on the Cibitoke road 10 km away from Bujumbura) is an exceptional landscape that will no doubt make your mind drift away from your day to day preoccupations.

It offers to the visitor rich vegetation made of euphorbia, thorny bushes and tall palm trees of the “Hyphaena bengalensis var ventricosa” specie, and a completely adapted environment gratified by only a few sparse rains.

Right in the deepest part of the reserve you will be able to admire the natural ponds left by the Rusizi meanders. This place is a paradise for birds which come there by the hundreds and feed themselves by dive-fishing. If you are patient enough you will be able to see some hippopotamuses paddling in the shallow waters feeling at home as well as on the ground.

Bururi Natural Reserve – The Natural reserve of Bururi is a 3300 ha expanse of altitude damp forest. The town of Bururi offers visitors this wonderful panorama. In this place there are about 117 different species of birds, and 25 different species of mammals have been identified in a forestland surrounding of multifarious vegetation.

On a walking circuit along the botanical lanes and trails of this forest the visitor will fully enjoy the wild coolness of mountains densely covered with trees of many different species.

This region is only 33 km distant from Roumonge. The road through it will take you from the lakes along miles of breathtaking panoramas.

Vyanda Natural Reserve – This is a forest reserve that can be accessed from the town of Rumonge. The main attraction here is the ability to see chimpanzees. The chimps here are not habituated to humans so don’t come expecting the close encounters that are possible in some places.

Rwihinda Lake Natural Reserve – The Rwihinda Lake Natural Reserve is a real sanctuary for migratory aquatic birds which come to the site by the thousands to reproduce. All these now protected birds can nest more and more on these green swamps and islets of the lake.

Crested cranes and herons live a peaceful life there. The visitor can drift along on barges to approach many species of birds without risk of frightening them.

Nyakazu Break and the Karera Falls
The natural Forest Reserves of Roumonge, Kigwena and Mugara are in process of development to enable chimpanzees and cercopithecus monkeys to find enough food to stay there and procreate.

The thermal waterfalls situated in the Mugara reserve will give you a natural massage. The beaches of Tanganyika nearby will welcome you for a well deserved swim and rest.

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