Africa is HUGE! How huge? You could stuff the USA, Mexico, Peru, China, and India inside its borders and still have room for Japan, New Zealand, Nepal, Bangladesh and ALL of Europe with room to spare!! The continent is vast and varied, to say the least. Deciding where to go in Africa is your first decision when planning your safari. Each destination offers an experience that is unique and awe-inspiring; whether you travel to Eastern Africa or Southern Africa the wildlife will astound you. On a Wildland Adventures African safari, your most memorable and meaningful experiences will be among the people you meet, our exceptional guides and the indigenous people. Africa Program Director, Chris Moriarty, has spent years exploring the continent and can help you decide what will be best for you. This blog begins my three-part series on where to go on safari in Africa and for this one let's start with where to go in East Africa. (Where to go on Safari in Africa Part 2: Southern Africa)
East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda
East Africa is well known for the endless savannah grasslands of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and the seasonal migration of wildebeest and zebra between Kenya and Tanzania. The seasonal rain patterns over the rich savannahs support one of the most spectacular migrations in the world including 1.3 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra, gazelle. On safari in East Africa, you can also experience a diversity of habitats: dry soda lakes of Nakuru and Manyara, the baobab forests of Tarangire, the Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world and Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet, all add to the diversity of landscapes. Established dirt tracks inside national parks ensure exceptional wildlife viewing at a close range in safari vehicles. Off-road and night driving is not allowed in most national parks but can be done on private concessions which are more widely available on safari in Kenya. Bush walks with Maasai are permitted in designated areas and allow you to get you out of the vehicle to experience the African wilderness on foot. There are numerous cultural opportunities to interact with local tribes such as the Maasai, Datoga, Samburu, and Hadzabe hunter-gathers. Hot air balloon safaris over the African savannah are spectacular! Wildlife safaris in Uganda offer good plains game and over 10 different species of primates, including mountain gorillas. Safaris are easily connected with extensions to Zanzibar, where you can wash off the safari dust in the Indian Ocean.
Key Characteristics of Safaris in East Africa
· Vast open spaces and the diverse landscapes of the Rift Valley
· Enormous herds of wildebeest and zebra
· Two “peak” seasons: Jun-Oct (dry) and Jan-early Mar (short rains)
· Safaris in closed 4WD vehicles with open rooftops
· Mostly game drives in national parks, some walking in private reserves
· Numerous opportunities for cultural encounters with local tribes
· Private reserves in Kenya allow greater flexibility for game viewing – night drives, bush walks, off-road driving
· Easy extensions to gorilla trekking in Rwanda or the beaches of Zanzibar
· Maasai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro safaris
· Meet the Maasai
· Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda
· See Kilimanjaro
· White sand beaches of Zanzibar
· Massive migrations of wildebeest and zebra
Top Picks for an East Africa Safari Adventure:
· Serengeti Wilderness Safari: The classic safari experience to Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater, walking with Maasai, bow and arrow hunting with Bushman. Got kids? Check out the Serengeti Family Safari!
· Maasailand Safari: Wildlife safaris combined with a profound cultural experience living among the Maasai.
· Best of Serengeti and Maasai Mara Safari– Can’t choose? Do the best of Kenya and Tanzania
· Ultimate Uganda Gorilla Adventure– Trekking, boating and game drive adventure in the rainforest of Africa culminating in time spent with endangered mountain gorillas in the wild.
Interested in Southern Africa? Check out Where to go on Safari in Africa Part 2: Southern Africa
Considering a Family Safari? Check out Where to go on Safari in Africa Part 3: Special notes on guides, family travel, and other African Adventures
Ready to book your adventure or have any questions? Ask me!
Your friendly Africa safari expert,