There are a great many reasons to visit East Africa, from palm-fringed beaches to the incredible spectacle of the Great Wildebeest Migration. Kenya can claim to be the place where safaris began – ‘safari’, after all, is a Swahili word meaning ‘journey’.
East Africa has almost an embarrassment of riches when it comes to wildlife viewing. The names of its most famous national parks and game reserves are enough to inspire anyone to reach for their bush jacket and camera.
We’re talking the Masai Mara, Serengeti, Amboseli and the Ngorongoro Crater – and that’s just for starters. You could visit East Africa a dozen times and have a completely different (but equally wonderful) experience every time.
Many travellers rate the migration as Africa’s best wildlife experience, and it’s hard to argue with them. The sight of tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra trekking across the plains or running the gauntlet of giant crocodiles whilst crossing the rivers that block their way, is one that you’ll never forget.
The migration is not so much a single annual event, as a continuous cycle of movement as the herds chase the rains and fresh green shoots to eat. Being in the right place at the right time to witness the most amazing action takes some careful planning. It’s something we’ve been doing for years at Journey Beyond – talk to us and we’ll get you front-row seats for all the drama.
East Africa has a range of great safari accommodation options, from decadent lodges perched on the rim of the game-rich Ngorongoro Crater to authentic, luxury tented camps in the heart of the savannah.
This region is a photographer’s dream. You’ll have seen the iconic shots of lone, flat-topped acacia trees silhouetted against the setting sun, and now it’s your turn to capture moments like this.
Wildlife encounters don’t just start and end with the migration: you can also dive on coral reefs off the coast of Zanzibar, or trek high into the mountains of Uganda or Rwanda in search of mountain gorilla.
When you really want to get away from it all, the less-well-known parks of Tanzania offer remoteness as well as exceptional game-viewing. Ruaha and the Selous get far fewer visitors than they deserve – a fact that the travellers who go there greatly appreciate.
Of course, animals are not the only inhabitants of East Africa. The region boasts a wonderfully diverse array of cultures, from the renowned and photogenic Maasai to the unique Swahili culture of the coast, best glimpsed through the carved wooden doorways of Stone Town.
Many tribes in East Africa have been able to embrace the benefits of ecotourism without compromising their traditions. At some lodges, the guides still wear their traditional attire. Being taken on a game drive by a Samburu warrior adds genuine local colour to the experience.
One distinct advantage of travelling in East Africa is that at dawn, you can find yourself in the middle of a huge herd of antelope as they cross golden grasslands – and then be walking along a pristine beach by sunset.
Light aircraft flights make combining ‘surf and turf’ in the same itinerary easier than you might imagine. All you have to do is decide which comes first: bush or beach. Some people like to begin on the coast, unwinding after leaving the city far behind. Others prefer to head to the ocean at the end of their trip, so that they return home relaxed.
It’s all about what works best for you: talk to us about your dream East African holiday, and we’ll help make it a reality. One thing is for sure: the combination of culture, wildlife and diverse scenery (from mountains to deserts to rainforests and lakes) makes East Africa a richly rewarding place to visit.
It’s a region we know well, and love. Our journey specialists are standing by to help you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime in East Africa, so contact Journey Beyond today.