East Africa delivers a classic Out of Africa safari with its rolling grasslands, rich diversity of wildlife, colourful Maasai and Samburu warriors, luxurious lodges and tented camps. Visitors are warmly welcomed and the infrastructure is excellent, especially the network of airports serving the far-flung reserves via the international air hubs of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
East Africa is home to two of Africa’s most popular safari destinations - Kenya and Tanzania – along with gorilla encounters in the rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda, and the tropical beaches of Zanzibar. You can find out more about some of East Africa’s best experiences here, a round-up of our clients’ reviews and our own extensive travels in the region.
Kenya’s world-famous Masai Mara reserve is the setting for the region’s spectacular wildebeest migration between August and November each year, but it boasts one of the most diverse resident wildlife populations all year round. Kenya safari highlights include the Amboseli and Samburu wildlife reserves. Kenya combines well with gorilla trekking, tropical islands like the Seychelles, and Tanzania’s top reserves.
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Tanzania's most famous safari destinations - the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara - lie conveniently close to each other on the 'Northern Safari Circuit' and, along with Tarangire, deliver some of Africa’s very best Big 5 game viewing and wildebeest migration safaris. South Central Tanzania is less well known and offers uncrowded game viewing in superb reserves such as Ruaha, Selous and Katavi. For an off-the-beaten track experience into the wilderness, the exotic Mahale Mountains along Lake Tanganyika are fascinating - you'll find forests full of chimpanzees and glorious clouds of butterflies. When it comes to travel bucket lists, Tanzania is home to both the Serengeti - the setting for the wildebeest migration between January and August - and Africa’s highest peak and the only snow-capped mountain in the tropics, Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanzania combines well with gorilla trekking, tropical islands like Zanzibar, and Kenya’s top reserves.
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Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to endangered mountain gorillas. The gorilla population is growing thanks to a groundbreaking partnership between local communities, national parks and tourists trekking to see them. Gorilla trekking offers one of Africa’s most unique and unforgettable experiences – encounter wild gorillas in their natural habitat, no fences, no interference other than gentle habituation to the presence of humans in the rainforest. Uganda is also a famous bird-watching destination with exotic migrants and abundant resident species. It offers Africa's best on-foot chimpanzee encounters at Kibale Forest and unique combination safaris featuring big game and big primates in Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks.
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Tiny Rwanda punches above its weight when it comes to an East Africa safari. Fly into the capital Kigali and, within a matter of hours, you'll be in the emerald world of the Volcanoes National Park, the rainforest home to several mountain gorilla families. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda combines well with safaris in Tanzania and Kenya as well as tropical islands like Zanzibar.
Read more about a Rwanda gorilla trekking safari.