East Africa is one of the best tourist destinations in the world, and should be on every travel lover’s wish list. Here, tourists can enjoy breathtaking views, exciting activities, comfortable accommodation, and mouth watering food. For a fun-filled, memorable trip to East Africa, here’s an insider’s travel guide that can help you plan your visit, and make the most out of your vacation!
In both Tanzania and Kenya, the currency is called Shilling, and tourists can go to a money exchange, or a spot at the airport, to get the local currency. However, most places accept foreign currencies such as the US Dollar. It is a good idea to carry some cash, so you can avoid ATM and bank fees. Before visiting a money exchange, you should do some research so you can get the best exchange rate.
Saving money is also very important, so you can have an amazing, budget friendly trip. It is a good idea to make bookings online beforehand, as it can help avoid any last minute inconveniences, and can help you find deals and discounts. Eating at local bars and eateries, and enjoying street food can help you save money while also enjoying a great new experience. You can also use local transport e.g. tuk-tuks and dala-dalas (minibuses), or affordable services such as Uber, Bolt, and Taxify!
In East Africa, the most widely-spoken local language is Swahili, while there are many speakers for languages such as French, Arabic, and Sheng. In almost every popular tourist spot, most people can speak English. However, for remote areas, it is a good idea to learn a few basic words in Swahili, or carry a phrasebook or online app. It is a good idea to learn important questions and greetings in local languages.
East African food is unique and extraordinary, as the cuisine is a special blend of Swahili, Arabic, Turkish, Indian, British, and Chinese influences. The food is made with rich ingredients and flavored with spices such as garlic, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, cumin, coriander, vanilla, turmeric, cardamom, and lemongrass.
Tourists can eat at fast food chains and international restaurants, but for a unique and authentic insight into East African food, they should eat street food at places such as Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, and Forodhani Night Food Market. Popular dishes of the region include Ugali, Nyama Choma (barbecued meat), Chipsi Mayai (chips and eggs), Mshikaki (meat skewers), kebabs, Mandazi (doughnuts), Uji (porridge), spiced potatoes, grilled fish, octopus curry, coconut bean soup, prawns, Kuku Paka (spicy curry), lobster, Zanzibar pizza, biryani, and date nut bread. Travellers can also enjoy drinks such as sugarcane juice, ginger tea, and avocado shake.
The region experiences its dry season between June and October. This is when the weather is pleasant, and there is little to no rainfall. From November to February, travellers find the region in its wet season, but the showers are short. The peak of the wet season is from March to May, when the region faces abundant rain and frequent thunderstorms that can interrupt the vacation.
Tourists must visit Dar Es Salaam to see Tanzania’s bustling urban life. They can also go to Coco Beach and try the fresh seafood. At Kilwa Kisiwani, they can learn about the region’s rich heritage and history. At the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Selous Game Reserve, and Arusha National Park, they can see animals such as wild dogs, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, lions, elephants, wildebeests, antelopes, gazelles, zebras, giraffes, kudus, elands, and duikers. At Lake Manyara, tourists can go on a boat tour, or spot amazing birdlife such as flamingos, storks, owls, and bee-eaters.
In Zanzibar, Stone Town gives an amazing insight into the local culture. Tourists can go to beaches such as Kendwa, Nungwi, and Paje, to enjoy the scenic view, and experience activities such as swimming, snorkelling, kiteboarding, and surfing!
In Kenya, tourists can visit historical locations or go snorkelling in Mombasa. Nairobi is a top-rated tourist location in Kenya, and is home to the spectacular Nairobi National Park. At Lake Nakuru, tourists can spot stunning biodiversity, as it is home to lions, rhinos, zebras, baboons, buffaloes, giraffes, leopards, monkeys, flamingos, eagles, storks, and pelicans! At the Maasai Mara and Amboselli Park, they can enjoy the scenic landscape, watch the wildlife, or go on cultural tours to meet the indigenous people! You can also climb the glorious Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tourists can visit Volcanoes National Park in the heavenly Virunga Mountains in Rwanda for gorilla trekking, or hike in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest. Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda is home to vervet, blue, red tailed, and colobus monkeys, olive baboons, chimpanzees, apes, and gorillas. In Rwanda, Kigali is a wonderful tourist spot and is one of the best cities to see in East Africa. In Burundi, tourists can visit Ruvubu National Park, Rusizi River, Mount Heha, and Saga Beach, to see beautiful wildlife and birdlife, and gorgeous views of the lush greenery.