Unique things to do in East Africa beyond safaris

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East Africa is home to some of the most spectacular tourist destinations in the world. A heaven for travel lovers, this region offers adventurous safaris, exciting hiking and trekking trips, fun filled beach vacations, and unforgettable tours of historic landmarks. Although a safari in East Africa is a bucket list experience, there are a number of things tourists can do other than safaris. Here are some of the best things to do in East Africa!

  1. Beach Vacation

In East Africa, tourists can relax on sandy beaches, swim in crystalline waters, and enjoy exciting water sports. Zanzibar is home to stunning beaches such as Paje Beach, Kendwa Beach, and Nungwi Beach. At Mnemba Atoll, tourists can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving among the colorful coral reefs. At Kizimkazi Beach, visitors can swim with the dolphins. In Tanzania, popular beaches include Coco Beach and Mbeya Beach where visitors can enjoy fresh seafood and interact with friendly locals. Pemba Island is home to pristine and remote beaches which offer breathtaking views. Pemba is an amazing post-lockdown destination, as it is not very crowded. Vumawimbi beach is a heavenly location with soft sands, sweet smelling air, and crystal clear water. At Baobab Beach, travelers can spot nesting turtles and visit the inland caves which are said to be home to ancestral spirits. Mafia Island is another great beach destination, where visitors can spot over 460 species of fish, whales, and 5 species of turtles, and go to Mafia Island Marine Park, to enjoy activities like boat tours, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving!

  1. Climb a Mountain

East Africa is perfect for hiking and trekking. Tourists can climb Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the tallest volcanic mountains in the world. Mount Meru is a great place to visit as the climb is challenging and unforgettable. In Southern Tanzania, Udzungwa Mountains are a wonderful place for mountain climbing, as tourists can reach Mwanihana Peak in three hours. In Kenya, Mount Longonot is a dormant volcano that is an excellent spot for hiking. Mount Kenya is also an amazing spot for climbing, as tourists can spot animals such as monkeys, buffaloes, and elephants on their way. In Uganda and Rwanda, one can climb up Mount Kigali and Volcanoes National Park in Virunga Mountains to find gorillas, apes, and monkeys in their natural habitat!

  1. Visit a Museum

Learning about the history and heritage of any region is necessary to have an enriching and fulfilling trip. Tourists can visit the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi, where they can find artifacts such as fossils from Lake Turkana, ethnic displays from tribal groups from all across the country, collections of rocks and minerals, a mosaic map of Kenya made from butterflies, 900 stuffed birds and mammals, prehistoric bones and fossils, and an extraordinary collection of Hominid skulls! They can visit the National Museum of Tanzania in Dar Es Salaam, where they can find archeological artifacts, ancient Chinese pottery, fossil discoveries, old wood carvings, prehistoric rock art, ancient relics and coins, and indigenous ebony masks. Tourists can also go to the Karen Blixen Museum where they can learn about Kenya’s history of colonialism. Visiting a museum is a unique experience as tourists can learn about the rich heritage of the region.

  1. Explore Local Markets

Exploring local marketplaces can be a unique experience as tourists can get an insight into the vibrant local culture. At Forodhani Night Food Market, travelers can enjoy street food such as Chipsi Mayai, Uji, Mtori, Ugali, Kuku Paka, Mandazi, Samaki, Pulao, Zanzibar Pizza, and Biryani. At Mwengwe WoodCarver’s Market, visitors can watch as artisans and craftsmen engage in skills such as bead jewelry making, basket weaving, and wood carving. At Maasai markets, tourists can buy souvenirs and keepsakes and bargain for lower prices. At Darajani Market, one can join a fish auction and buy fresh seafood. One can also visit a spice farm to buy local spices such as cumin, turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, lemongrass, and cloves.

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