An East African Adventure
Experienced traveller Alanis, of Capture Anthropology, has put together a brilliant list of things to do in glorious East Africa!
East Africa is made up of many countries and territories - but is predominantly known to include Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. This scenic area is truly stunning, made up of great lakes, grasslands and the two famous mountains: Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro.
There is an incredible amount to see and do in this region of Africa, and most people will not experience most of it in a lifetime, nor in one trip alone. I have been lucky enough to visit both Uganda and Tanzania on two separate adventures and both changed my life and perspective in ways that I never thought possible.
It takes between 8 and 10 hours to fly to this region from London, and the climate - as you’d expect is warm and humid. During the shoulder season it can have more temperate moments and the odd shower is to be expected - so always take a rain coat - but generally, it is perfect for those who love being in hotter climates without the harsh or direct sunlight.
So, below I have compiled a list of 6 amazing things to do in East Africa.
Go on Safari - an absolute must!
Discover the big 5 under the African sun along with other amazing wildlife. From the
enchanting sight of elephant herds to the gangly gracefulness of giraffes, there is nothing on safari that won’t amaze you. I recommend two of my favourite national parks for this particular activity: Ngorongoro Crater and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Both have a history of their own and cover miles and miles of the gorgeous African plains.
Climb Kilimanjaro - Not for the faint hearted, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is for the true adventurers.
Kilimanjaro stands at 5,895 meters above sea level and sits just below the Northern border of Tanzania. Many climbers fly into Nairobi and cross the border to stay in Moshi prior to the expedition, since it is the most straightforward way of getting there. It’s a hard climb that takes you through a multitude of different ecosystems on the way up, plus, it’s the tallest free standing mountain in the world. Start in the rainforest and make your way to the ice caps that surround Uhuru (or Freedom) peak. And, even if you don’t summit, the views are phenomenal.
Visit some of the Great Lakes
Some of my favourite moments in both these countries were captured by the waterside, especially in Uganda, where you can also discover the source of the Nile - although, this is disputed. The many lakes and rivers across Uganda are truly magical, whether you invest in a water safari or stay in a wonderful lakeside hotel.
Take the ferry to Zanzibar to soak up the sun - an island paradise.
It is hot and luxurious, but also has one of the most interesting histories. Stone Town really captures the fusion of cultures that have influenced modern day Zanzibar and is home to an archive of fantastic architecture, particularly famous for its grand doors. And aside from being the birthplace of Freddie Mercury, it is also filled with rich foods and spices brought from India and Arabic settlers in its history.
Visit a local tribe or community to learn about daily life.
Whether you decide to do this through volunteering or through a tour company, it is no mystery why those who visit the heart of Africa never forget it. Outside of the tourist spots and the safari resorts live ordinary people who will show you just as much about their culture as the scenery and the buildings. Getting to know what life is really like in a destination is the best way of truly appreciating every part of what it has to offer.
Visit local markets to immerse yourself in the business of the bustling city.
An assault on the senses, it is hard to take in everything I came across in the city markets and souvenir shops. There is colour, there are smells, there are spices and there is a lot of noise. Which is why this is one of the richest experiences you can have in the heart of Africa. Whether you’re buying handmade jewellery or locally grown banana tea, there is something new to discover that you won’t find anywhere else. Do keep in mind though, that this particular experience can be overwhelming to say the least and isn’t for everyone. There are people everywhere so you will need to have your wits about you at all times.
About the Author
My name is Alanis and I run a small blog called Capture Anthropology. After spending a lot of my life travelling, and living abroad, I became obsessed with learning more about the world and the people around me. So, I did a degree in Social Anthropology and then started up my blog so I could keep talking about the fantastic world around us. I love adventure and sharing these experiences with everyone I meet.