East Africa is the most endowed and popular region within the Continent, boasting of some of the best safari destinations. Literally everything you ever wish in an African safari can be enjoyed in East Africa. Is it the endangered mountain gorillas, big five animals, chimpanzees, breathtaking sceneries for photography, the incredible golden monkeys, archeological sites, plethora of bird species, magnificent waterfalls, stunning Lakes and Rivers or antelopes? East Africa has it all. These phenomenal attractions and so much more can be explored during East African safaris.

It is also renowned for its jaw-dropping landscapes, with the highest mountains (Kilimanjaro, Kenya and Stanley). Interestingly, the two parallel Rift Valleys that make up the Great Rift Valley system are found in the region. This system extends from Red Sea junction, traversing the Ethiopian Highlands, Kenya and down to Tanzania, yet its western arm extends through the western boundaries of Uganda and Tanzania.

When it comes to wildlife species, East Africa is unbeaten and second to none with animals endemic to savannah, forest, wetland and water bodies found in the region. Notable species are mountain gorillas, Cape buffaloes, Oribis, lions, leopards, Rhinos, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, wildebeests, cheetahs, spotted  and stripped hyenas, Topis, Olive and yellow baboons, blue monkeys, Sitatunga, Roth’s child and reticulated giraffes, black and white colobus monkeys, Roan antelopes, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys, Zebras, L’Hoest’s monkeys, warthogs and many others.

Birders can never be disappointed during East African Safaris with over 2000 bird species across the different countries that make up the region. Holiday makers are offered with Albertine Rift endemics, forest, wetland, savannah and other indigenous bird species. The most sought-after bird species during East African safaris include shoebill storks, the green-breasted pitta, flamingos and Great blue Turaco among others while the Grey-crowned Cranes, Marabou storks, common ostriches, flamingos, African fish eagles and sunbirds are some of the commonly spotted bird species in the region.

Why undertake East African Safaris?

There are a million and one reasons to undertake East African safaris but the top ones include gorilla trekking tours, village and community visits, honeymoon tours, Birding tours, witnessing the annual Great Migration, mountaineering/mountain climbing, Big game safaris, volunteering, Beach vacations in Zanzibar Island, chance to experience East Africa nightlife, faith-based tourism, water sports and many others. Literally everything you desire during a safari.

Geography of East Africa

Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater Lake in the East African region, comprised of four main countries. Uganda and Kenya are in the North, Tanzania in the south while Burundi and Rwanda are in the West. Therefore the top safari destinations during East African safaris include;


Rwanda is one of the must-see safari destinations for East African safaris and it is where your dream of coming face to face with mountain gorillas can be achieved. Your tours lead you to the country’s four National Parks-one savannah and 3 forest-dominant that include Volcanoes, Gishwati-Mukura, Akagera and Nyungwe Forest National Parks.

Gorilla Trekking tours, golden monkey tracking, hike to Dian Fossey Tomb and climbing the Virunga Mountains are all conducted in Volcanoes National Park, at the extreme North-western part of the country. With a permit at $1500 per person, you dream of seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat can be made possible in Rwanda.

Besides chimpanzee treks, guided nature walks and birding, the exhilarating canopy walks are also offered in Nyungwe Forest National Park, in the south-west of the country. Travelers yearning for big five viewing experience are welcome to do it in Akagera National Park and also offers helicopter tours for viewing animals and general landscape of the destination


East African safaris without Uganda are incomplete because two amazing places offer chances of seeing mountain gorillas in their natural environment. This dream can be achieved from two destinations-Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, both at the south-western part of the country. Out of the projected 1060 mountain gorillas in the wild, half of them live in the mountainous forests of these two Parks and a total of 20 habituated gorilla groups can be trekked on a daily basis.

Gorilla permits, only issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority are required to venture into the jungles to search for these endangered Giant Apes and can be reserved/or booked at only $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and only Shs. 250,000 for East African Community residents.  These two Parks also offer opportunities of encountering Albertine Rift endemic bird species, interacting with Batwa pygmies, mountain biking, guided forest walks and many other adventures.

Besides Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, Uganda is home to other 8 National Parks that include Kidepo Valley, Semliki, Mount Elgon, Rwenzori Mountains, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale Forest, Murchison falls and Lake Mburo National Parks. Other incredibly popular tourist sites in the country are the Kasubi Tomb, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, Amabere ga Nyinamwiru Caves and waterfalls, the different Crater Lakes in western Uganda, Kyambura gorge, Sezibwa falls, Mabira Forest, Jinja City, Budongo Forest, Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Mabamba wetland and many others. Birding and cultural tours in Uganda will take your breath away.


If big game safaris are your idea for East African safaris, then Kenya is your ultimate destination but that’s not all. This country is also renowned for offering golden opportunities of experiencing the Great Migration of wildebeests alongside zebras, impalas and gazelles. Most of Africa’s iconic safari destinations are found in Kenya and these include Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Tsavo, Hell’s Gate, Aberdare, Lake Nakuru, Nairobi, Mount Elgon and Mount Kenya National Parks among others in addition to Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves.

Besides big game safaris and the Great Migration of Wildebeests, Kenya is also an incredible birding destination with over 1100 bird species including endemic and migratory birds. Expect unmatched beach experiences and Honeymoon Holidays in Kenya during your East African safaris.


Tanzania is not just the largest East African country but also teems with wildlife across its Protected Areas. This country has some of the largest National Parks and Reserves that include Serengeti National Park where the Great migration is witnessed, Ruaha, Selous (Nyerere) National Parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Mount Meru, Arusha, Saadani, Mikumi, Mount Kilimanjaro, Gombe Stream, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Katavi and Mahale Mountains National Parks in addition to Mafia Island and Mnazi Bay-Ruvumba Estuary Marine National Park.

Tanzania safaris also involve exploration of Zanzibar Island with tours of the historical Stone Town, Spice farm tours, Beach Holidays, trips to Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park and others.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Located in East and Central Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo is another incredible destination explored during East African safaris. Eastern lowland and mountain gorillas are trekked in this country, in two different places-Kahuzi-Biega and Virunga National Park respectively. This country is mostly in Central Africa but normally included in East African safaris.

Gorilla Safaris in East Africa

Planning East African safaris without including Gorilla trekking tours make your trip incomplete. The mountain gorillas can be trekked in three countries-Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo with an estimated population of 1063 individuals in the wild. The Eastern lowland gorillas are trekked in DRC only.

The Great Wildebeest Migration

The Great Wildebeest Migration is undeniably every traveler’s bucket-list experience for East African safaris, and enjoyed in two amazing places-Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Packing list for East African Safaris

An unforgettable East African safari experience is achieved when you pack the important items while keeping it light. A complete packing list should include light and neutral colored clothing that blend into the natural environment to include wildlife or bird guidebook, long-sleeved shirts, shorts, T-shirts, light-weight and rainproof jacket and pairs of long pants (depending on the duration of the safari), pairs of cargo shorts, insect repellant, pair of binoculars, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hat, comfortable walking shoes for gorilla treks, walking safaris and mountain climbing, comfortable flip-flops or sandals for moving around the lodge, camera with enough memory space, lenses and extra batteries, First aid kit (with painkillers, anti-nausea tablets, malaria meds, plasters, anti-allergies, insect repellant and muscle strain liniment), gardening gloves, toiletries (hand sanitizer, toothbrush, hair brush, toothpaste, wet wipes, moisturizer, nail clippers and others) and don’t forget your essential travel documents (such as travel and medical insurance, itinerary, vaccination certificate, passport, visas and e-tickets).

Best time for East African Safaris

The best time to visit East Africa for a safari is the dry season- June, July, August, September and October when grass is shorter, visibility better and conditions drier with few trees hence more thirsty animals converge around remaining water holes. In the wet season vegetation is luxuriant and spectacular hence baby animals make an appearance. Also, floors of gorilla trekking Parks are drier hence making treks for mountain gorillas less challenging although they are conducted all year round.

The rainy season is from March to May with short but intense rains, hence making landscapes verdant. Birding tours are also incredible and most animals begin calving. The Great wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park is perfect from January to September while in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve it is more interesting and unforgettable from June to October.

Beach Holidays in Zanzibar are perfect between June and September when there are low tides. However, adventure seekers can even take chances during months of high tides between March and May.

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