From the volcanic peaks and sweeping savannahs of Kenya and Tanzania, to the tropical forests of Southern Ethiopia, to the more arid landscapes of the Horn of Africa, East Africa is a region of vast geographic diversity, and has a huge amount to offer to visitors.
Whether you want to scale the peaks of Mounts Kilimanjaro and Meru, see the Big Five in their natural habitat in one of the region’s many national parks, or relax in a tropical island paradise, East Africa has what you need. Check out five must-visit destinations in East Africa below.
1. Arusha, Tanzania
Arusha lies in a perfect location for an exciting vacation. It is the ideal starting point for safaris in Tanzania’s two most famous national parks, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, where the Big Five and many other fascinating animals can be observed in their natural surroundings.
Tanzania’s two highest mountains, Kilimanjaro (the highest in the African continent) and Meru, are also within easy reach and provide truly thrilling mountaineering experiences. Neither is to be taken lightly, though—thorough preparation is essential before attempting these climbs.
2. Nairobi, Kenya
Famously, Nairobi is the only national capital in the world with a national park within its boundaries. The park is a great place to see lions, leopards, buffalo, black rhinoceros, giraffe, hippopotamus, blue wildebeest, plains zebra, cheetah and many other animals—and as it’s so close to the city center, it can be visited in a day trip.
The city itself is a bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis that, in addition to being the economic hub of East Africa, has a thriving cultural scene. From monuments and museums to bars, hotels, and restaurants, a stay in Nairobi can be a truly five-star experience.
3. Zanzibar Island
Is your idea of a perfect holiday relaxing on a dazzling white beach, sipping on a refreshing cocktail in front of crystalline blue seas? Zanzibar Island, easily reached from Dar es Salaam by ferry or plane, is for you.
More correctly known as Unguja, the island offers a wide range of places to visit, from the aforementioned beaches, to the historic streets and mosques of Stone Town, to fascinating treks through unspoiled forests such as Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park.
4. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, is a great basecamp to explore the country’s diverse and breathtaking landscapes, due to its central location. From the city, the Great Rift Valley and the Ethiopian Highlands can easily be visited.
It is also the perfect place to explore one of the most fascinating histories of any country in the world. At the National Museum and the Ethnological Museum (located in the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie), you can find a fascinating range of artifacts, and the city’s several cathedrals showcase Ethiopia’s more recent past.
5. Mombasa, Kenya
If you’re looking for the ideal combination of a city vacation and a beach resort, look no further than Mombasa. As well as offering easy access to some of East Africa’s finest beaches, the city has a history stretching back to the Middle Ages, with many fascinating sites to visit in the Old Town.
There are also a number of safari tour companies operating out of Mombasa, so it’s also a great base from which to explore Kenya’s amazing flora and fauna. Just remember to choose a reputable company!
Want to find out more information about locations in East Africa and beyond? Check out CrowdsourcedExplorer.com, where locals from thousands of cities worldwide have shared information about their hometowns.