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15 Exhilarating Things To Do In East Africa

East Africa is a magical destination to explore. The neighbouring region of South Africa beckons you with amazing landscapes, lush tropical forests, mesmerising mountain views and more. Sense the splendour of the vast savannahs and incredible wildlife. Discover the top things to do in East Africa that offer plenty of adventures and mind-blowing experiences. Read on to find out why the excitement never stops when you holiday in this incredible region.

Top Things To Do In East Africa

1. Feel the Ground Shake at Serengeti, Tanzania

This annual spectacle is where you see more than 1.7 million wildebeest and zebras migrate. The amazing migration happens in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. This is a lifetime experience and is recognised as one of the Wonders of the Natural World. In August/September, herds of wildebeest cross the Mara River. Giant Nile crocs wait patiently for their prey as the animals run past. Northern Serengeti is just the place to be to see the moment unfold live. Watch the greatest show on earth when vast numbers of animals move together.

Price: $60 (adults), $30 (children of age 5 to 16), Free (children below age 5) – park tickets

Timings: 24 hours

Pro Tip: Book a tour of a Serengeti Wild Camp for a guided experience.

2. Hike to the Top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

This is one of the top things to do in East Africa at Mt. Kilimanjaro. Standing tall at 5895 meters above sea level the grand attraction needs no introduction. Hiking through the five ecosystems that the mountain offers is a trekker’s dream. The experience is filled with adventures of sights from rainforests to arctic snowcaps. Don’t forget that Kili is a challenging climb that is a 6 to 8 days route.  Alternatively, there is a one-day hike from Arusha to climb the mountain that you can opt for. With the right amount of training, you don’t need rope or technical climbing skills to be an adventure seeker.

Price: starts from $1000 (hiking cost)

Timings: Based on the tour

Pro Tip: If you are a fitness enthusiast then the view from the top is worth it. 

3. Make Chimps Your Friend at Kibale National Forest, Uganda

Be among the highest concentration of chimpanzees in Africa. The Kibale National Forest is where you will see the friendly chimps. Join a chimpanzee tracking group on an all-day habituation visit. Wander nest to nest with researchers. This amazing top thing to do will leave you spell-bound. Look out for the black & white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey or the red-tailed monkey. Learn about the different plant species and birdlife around. Follow the rules such as keeping a distance of 8 m from the primates, avoid eating near the chimps and more. 

Price: $40 (park entry)

Timings: 24 hours

Pro Tip: The guided groups are normally of 6 people and it is better to book in advance.

4. Dive into the Ocean Waters in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Off the coast of Tanzania are the beautiful scuba diving experiences. The waters around the island of Zanzibar are a whole new world. Dive into the depths with your scuba diving gear and be among 400 different types of colourful fish. Swim by whale sharks, manta rays and reef sharks. There are great diving sites that also offer shallow dives. Let the coral gardens and amazing ocean views be a part of your holiday. Beautiful Zanzibar beaches will be a memory to cherish lifelong. So, snorkel, scuba dive, swim with the dolphins, parasail and more to make this an unforgettable memory.

Price: $110 (for two dives)

Timings: 8.00 am to 5.00 pm

Pro Tip: You could opt for dive packages with a certified diver.

5. Go on an African Safari at Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Africa Safari, Kenya

Take a short trip from Nairobi with a backdrop of the wondrous Mt. Kilimanjaro. Spend a day at the Amboseli National Park that is home to the African Elephant. The amazing scenes of mountainous backdrops and the swamps of the park are eye-catching. Don’t forget to take some lovely pictures of your journey into the wild. Lions, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and buffaloes wander the open air. So, sit pretty in a Land Rover with your guide beside you and be part of the animal kingdom. You can also opt for a night-time safari or a walking safari for some more fun among the big cats.

Price: $50

Timings: 6.00 am to 6.00 pm

Pro Tip: Insist on an expert ranger during your safari tour to learn more about the ecosystems and the wildlife.

6. Visit the Hottest Place on Earth at Danakil, Ethiopia

The out of the world experience is to witness the wonderful sights at the Danakil Depression. Choose a 3 to 4-day tour and explore the sights of sulphur springs, geysers, volcanoes and salt lakes. This is where temperatures can soar to the heights of 40°C to 45°C. That sounds tough to endure, but worth it. The geological depression is a result of the divergence of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. Notice boiling water bubbles and sulphur gases that make this the most dangerous place on earth. Danakil lies around 410 feet below sea level and is the most inhospitable place to endure.

Price: approximately $ 600 (Danakil tour)

Timings: Based on the tour

Pro Tip: Visit during November to February when the temperatures are mild.

7. Witness the Great Migration at Masai Mara, Kenya

Masai Mara, Kenya

This bucket list activity happens in the Masai Mara in Kenya. An epic adventure is an annual event when over 2 million animals migrate. The herds of antelope, wildebeest and zebras make their journey from Tanzania. The Masai Mara Reserve is a must-visit attraction between July to October. Herds migrate from the Serengeti ecosystem to the Masai Mara. Witness the splendid river crossing when large numbers of zebras, Grant’s gazelle, elands and impalas embark on their great migration. Live out your Lion King dreams as you seek elephants or giraffes.

Price: $70

Timings: 24 hours

Pro Tip: Enjoy a sundowner overlooking the grassy plains, to imbibe the African spirit.

8. Tick off the Big Five Safari Bucket List Adventures

East Africa is home to the elusive Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo). Wander the numerous parks and conservancies in Tanzania such as Serengeti National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Mkomazi National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. Learn about the breeding practices and conservation efforts in the great parks. Some of the wildlife have been roaming the natural habitat for centuries. Book yourself on a safari tour and enjoy the sights of the wild.

Price: Based on the safari tour

Timings: Based on the tour

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to shoot the animals with your camera as this is your best snapping chance of the Big Five.

9. Hear the Gushing Sounds of the Nile River, Uganda

Nile, Uganda

The River Nile is known as the father of African rivers. Take a white water rafting tour and feel the full force of the Nile. The river is at a length of around 4132 miles and a great place for white water rafting or kayaking. Crisscross the 8 different rapids that also include a waterfall on a rafting tour. Check out the amazing views, birdlife and the enormous beauty of East Africa on the tour. Pick a whitewater raft guiding tour near the town of Jinja that offers day trips. Day trips down the 12-mile stretch of the White Nile River is an exhilarating thing to do.

Price: $40 per person (white water rafting)

Timings: Based on the tour

Pro Tip: Try the tubing on the Nile experience which is thrilling.

10. Get your Ultimate R & R at Diani Beach, Kenya

Diani Beach is located in the east of Nairobi and south of Mombasa. This is one of the best beaches in Kenya with warm Indian Ocean waves. Spend time on the silvery sands of the beach with clear waters. Take a ride on the express train from Nairobi to Mombasa and reach an amazing destination. After an approximately five-hour exhilarating train ride, hop on to a taxi for an hour-long ride. Have a time of your life snorkelling to spot colourful fish and sea turtles. 

Price: Free (rates for water sports equipment apply)

Timings: 24 hours

Pro Tip: Watch out for the cheeky colobus monkeys that can challenge you by stealing your lunch.

Also Explore: 30+ Unique Things to do in South Africa

11. Savour a Culinary Delight of Ethiopian Cuisine

Ethiopian Cuisine

Sample delicious injera, a kind of sourdough pancake. Have it with stews and sauces to make a delightful meal. Enjoy a staple Ethiopian meal in one of the famous restaurants such as Dashen or Habesha 2000. Share one huge injera served on a mesob which is a traditional woven basket. Dip the flat break into the spicy stews and forget the forks on the table. Take a tour of the sega bet or meat shops and pick up a tib (grilled beef) or tire sega (high-quality raw meat cube). Sit outside on plastic tables and sip the local beer Tella as you bite into tasty Ethiopian dishes.

Price: Based on the dish

Timings: 12.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Dashen Traditional Ethiopian Restaurant timings)

Pro Tip: Try the exquisite signature dishes on the menu.

12. Be among Rothschild Giraffes at the Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Take a stroll with the Rothschild Giraffe in the Giraffe Manor. Stay in the plush guest rooms with antique furnishings. Visit a wildlife sanctuary that is situated in the Karen suburbs for the endangered giraffes. Simply watch them lumber along as they extend their necks to feed on the leaves of the trees. Or let them join you for breakfast through the window, a guest you will get accustomed to. Feed them as their blue tongues come probing during breakfast time. Experience a unique top thing to do and learn about the efforts taken by the sanctuary.

Price: starts from $875 per adult (room rate), $15 for entry to the conservation centre

Timings: 24 hours

Pro Tip: You can support the efforts of conservation by donating a fund online.

13. Witness African Culture in the Omo River Region, Ethiopia

Omo River

Take an authentic ethic tour of the Omo Valley. Make immortal memories here as your guide will let you take a close look at tribal life. Experience the many cultures, tribes and meet fascinating people. The Lower Valley of the Omo is a UNESCO  World Heritage site. This is where the discovery of many fossils was made, especially the Homo gracilis. The site is located near Lake Turkana in southwestern Ethiopia. 88 tribes live in the Omo Valley, a region that will show you the ways of  African life and culture.

Price: Based on the tour

Timings: Day tour

Pro Tip: You could donate to the livelihood of the Omo tribes who live in a challenging environment.

14. A Canopy Walkway in Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

The Canopy Walkway is an unmissable thing to do in Rwanda. This is a 91-meter long suspension bridge across the rainforest at the Nyungwe Forest National Park. Walk on the bridge that is suspended at a height of 50 metres above the amazing park forest. The views are spellbinding of the bio-diverse park. Catch a glimpse of canopy wildlife at eye-level with mountain backdrops and dizzying views below. The beautiful park is home to 322 species of birds and 75 types of mammals. The park also offers the famous chimpanzee tracking tours.

Price: $60 per person

Timings: 8.00 am, 10.00 am, 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm

Pro Tip: Book a guided tour to include a comprehensive park tour.

15. Enjoy a Game Drive at Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

Game Drive at Lake Nakuru National Park

Take a fascinating game drive to be amid wildlife and over 400 species of birds. Look out for large pythons that can often be seen dangling from the trees, lions, leopards, Rothschild’s giraffes, and hippos. Lake Nakuru allows you to explore wildlife amidst the Acacia forest and is gorgeous all year. The park is home to white rhinos, hippos, waterbucks, rare tree-climbing lions, and more. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise where beautiful flamingos flock. The bright pink birds and the amazing wildlife in the grasslands will remain a lifetime experience.

Price: $60 (park entry)

Timings: 6.00 am to 6.00 pm (park timing)

Pro Tip: The game drives are organised in the comforts of a Safari Van or Land Cruiser, so book a tour in advance.

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