Four of the seven natural wonders of Africa are found within east Africa. These include River Nile, the longest river in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti migration and the Ngorongoro Crater.
In addition to those wonders, East Africa is also the destination for some of the best wildlife experiences in the world including gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking, birding safaris/bird viewing, and incredible game drive safaris.
East Africa is also the only region in the world where you can see wildlife wonders like the tree-climbing lions found in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
This explains why the region stands out as the tourism gem of the African continent and this is evidenced by the huge numbers of travelers who visit the region each year.
The longest river in the world has its source in east Africa. Discovered by British explorer John Speke, who established that river Nile has got its source in Lake Victoria at Jinja in Uganda before it flows northwards through South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt and empties its waters into the Mediterranean Sea.
Travelers can enjoy several excursions in the Nile waters including white-water rafting at Bujagali Falls in Jinja, top of waterfalls at Murchison falls national park where the Nile passes and cruising in the boat along the course of the river in the same park.
River Nile is such a significant resource in all the country where it passes offering a range of advantages including hydropower production, irrigation purposes, and it also serves as the main source water for both domestic and industrial purposes in Sudan and Egypt.
Gorilla trekking has been described as the best wildlife experience in the world by many travelers that have embarked on this encounter before.
The experience of meeting mountain gorillas in the wild is indescribable, so breathtaking and you will definitely become emotional and you fall in love with them as you watch a group of these amazing primates play, feed, converse and rest.
Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and they share up to 98% of the human DNA something that makes their behavior so similar to those of humans.
You can trek mountain gorillas through a gorilla safari that you can arrange through one of the trusted local tour operators like Africa Adventure Safari.
The cost of trekking mountain gorillas varies among the three countries with Rwanda the most expensive selling their gorilla permit at $1,500 per person, Uganda sells it at $600 while DR Congo is the cheapest at $450 though insecurity cases have scared away potential visitors.
For a successful gorilla safari, you may need to book your trip in advance given the limited availability of the gorilla permits due to high demand and strict conservation regulations.
An advance period of 6 months to 1 year is recommended, this will allow your local tour agent to arrange everything concerning your trip including buying your gorilla permit, booking your accommodation and planning for your transportation.
The Serengeti Migration
This another wildlife wonder exclusively found in east Africa. The Serengeti ecosystem which extends from northern Tanzania to southwestern Kenya hosts the world’s largest terrestrial mammal migration.
There are several game reserves in this ecosystem together with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania while the Kenyan part hosts the Maasai Mara National Park.
The Serengeti is made up of varied landscape with grasslands, woodlands, riverine forests, and swamps.
In addition to the Serengeti’s great wildebeest migration that takes place each year, the area also hosts a variety of wildlife including over 70 species of large mammals and over 500 bird species. Lions are numerous in Serengeti and are commonly seen during game drives in this vast park.
The great migration in the Serengeti happens each year featuring the movement of great wildebeest.
The migration usually begins between January and March in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, part of the Serengeti in Southern Tanzania. Here, about 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,000 zebras, 470,000 gazelles together with other wild game species begin moving.
During the movement around February, the animals give birth to about 500,000 calves as they graze in the plains of the southern section of Serengeti.
As the rain season stops in May, the animals continue moving northwest before they stop in the region around River Grumeti until late June and they finally arrive and stay in Kenya by either late July or August.
The great migration is associated with births and deaths of the animals with about 250,000 wildebeest dying due to predation, hunger, and thirst while on the journey.
Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano and the largest and highest Mountain in Africa found in Tanzania east Africa. From its base, the mountain rises about 16,000 feet (4,900 m) to an altitude of 19,341 feet (5,895 m) above sea level.
Kilimanjaro is a popular climbing destination to mountain hikers and is the major feature of the Kilimanjaro National Park. The mountain has got three distinct cones including Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira.
The top of Kilimanjaro can be reached via the official trekking routes that have been marked with the Machame route regarded as the most scenic one.
The government of Tanzania through the ministry of tourism set up guidelines to help hikers trek to the top of Kilimanjaro safely in order to avoid deaths that had become very common during hiking.
Though this wildlife encounter is also found in very many other parts of the world, east Africa is also very rich in game safaris.
In addition to vast national parks and game reserves like the already mentioned Serengeti, there are several other savanna parks in the region where travelers enjoy incredible game drives.
Some of the most eye-catching east African parks with breathtaking wildlife encounters include Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
A wildlife safari to these parks will enable you to meet all the African “big five” featuring lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant, and rhinoceros. Other common game in these parks include several antelope species, zebra, warthogs, giraffe, hyena, among others.
It is in Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda where you will find the amazing tree-climbing lions chilling high up in trees as they spot their prey grazing in the nearby plains.
In addition to game drives, travelers have got many other safari activities to enjoy while on their visit in these parks including chimpanzee tracking, birding, boat cruise, rafting, and community visits.
East Africa is one of the regions with the most thrilling cultural tours in the world. You will enjoy visiting some of the most unique tribes in the world with unique cultures,
The most exciting cultural tours in east Africa include visiting some of the unique tribes like the Karamajong of Northeastern Uganda who share almost the same cultures with their neighbors across the border in Kenya, the Maasai. The IK is also another rare tribe near the Karamojong occupying the steep slopes of Mount Murongole in Kidepo Valley National Park.
Alternatively, you can visit the Pygmies who live in DR Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda where they are known as the Batwa.
The good news is that when it comes to cultural tours in east Africa, you also kill two birds with one stone as these encounters are always packaged together with the main safaris in the national parks depending on your preferences.
The Batwa are always visited as part of the gorilla trekking safari in either Uganda or Rwanda while you can visit the Karamojong as part of your game drive safari in Kidepo Valley National Park.
Nevertheless, east Africa has got many more incredible encounters in addition to the above list that will reward you with a lifetime experience once you visit them. These include birding safaris, chimpanzee tracking, cultural and historical tours, nature walks, beach safaris, among others.
Click here to book your best wildlife safari in East Africa.
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