East Africa is a region teeming with unbelievable activities and things to do. Hiking to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, experiencing the savannah of the Serengeti, trekking with the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and observing the lion prides of the Maasai Mara are all well-known bucket list items in East Africa. While those hot spots are undeniably incredible, there are so many adventures and sights in the area that intrepid tourists shouldn’t miss. Check out our list of awesome things to do in East Africa for your next trip.
Safari the Akagera National Park
If you’re going to East Africa, it only makes sense to visit this wildlife haven. Although the Serengeti and Maasai Mara are impressive beyond belief, the hordes of tourists sitting arriving in droves are much less enjoyable. Plus, it is wildly expensive. For a more quiet, cheaper, and off the beaten path safari experience, check out Akagera National Park in Rwanda. Akagera has recently been able to reclaim its title of a Big Five safari park, with both lions and rhinos reintroduced to Rwanda in the past few years.
Snorkelling Mafia Island
Located just off the coast of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, Mafia Island is one of East Africa’s best diving locations. Scuba divers visit this small archipelago from all over the world in order to see an assortment of healthy coral reefs and massive schools of fish. The real reason, however, to visit Mafia Island is to encounter a whale shark. These gentle sea giants are found just a few kilometers from the Mafia Island harbor, and snorkelers can spot up to 20 of these graceful creatures at a time.
Ancient Streets of Lamu
Although Stone Town in Zanzibar is a beautiful old island with fascinating Arabic influences, it is often critiqued as being overrun by tourists. If you’re looking for a calmer destination, check out Lamu Island in Kenya. Reachable only by boat from Mombasa or Diani, this island possesses the similar Arabic influences of Stone Town at a fraction of the price. Explore old ruins, indulge in fresh seafood, and laze your days away on bright white sand beaches.
Beaches of Bujumbura
Though Burundi has experienced political unrest since the attempted coup in 2015, Bujumbura, the country’s capital city, still possesses one of the best beach scenes in the region. Head to Bora Bora beach club for parties every weekend, or just spend the days relaxing on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
Rafting the Nile
The roaring white rapids of the Nile river in Jinja have delighted travelers and locals for many years. Located just a few hours from the Ugandan capital of Kampala, spend a day or two testing your wits and physical prowess against some of the roughest waters on earth.