East Africa is Africa’s leading tourism destination comprising of four major tourism destination countries of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania with extraordinary wildlife attractions that offer unique experiences.
There are various attractions in the region offering tourist a wide range to select from. The major tourism wild landscapes and wildlife species include the following
Nyungwe Forest National Park is the largest remaining area of montane rainforest in East Africa extending for 1,015 sq. kilometers through the mountainous region of Southwest Rwanda. Nyungwe forest joins Burundi’s 370 sq. km Kibira National Park forming a large contagious forest block at the border of these two countries. Nyungwe Forest National Park supplies water to 70% of Rwanda hence being the largest water catchment area in the country.
Mountain Gorillas And Chimpanzees
These closets apes and primates can be best viewed in Uganda and Rwanda. In Uganda, mountain gorillas can be tracked in Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla national parks located in southwestern Uganda. There are 14 mountain gorilla families in Uganda 13 in Bwindi impenetrable forest and 1 in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Ugandan gorilla trekking permits are sold at $600.
Chimpanzees in Uganda can be best tracked in Kibale forest national park located in western Uganda in Kabarole district. Kibale forest has one of the highest chimpanzee populations in east Africa and has habituated groups that can be trekked by tourists.
Mountain gorilla safaris in Rwanda only volcanoes national park that can be accessed after a 2-3 hours drive from Kigali. Volcanoes national park has 10 mountain gorilla families and also offers remarkable experiences to the tourists. Rwandan gorilla permits can be got at $750.
Chimpanzees in the land of a thousand hills can be best tracked in Nyungwe forest national park. Nyungwe forest has some of the oldest tree species that harbor the chimpanzees. The park has clear tracking trails that lead tourists deep the jungles with great sightings of the parks major wildlife species like birds and a number of monkeys.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
This is one of the wonders of the world and among the leading tourist attraction to Kenya and Tanzania. Every year, herds and crowds of wildebeest in Serengeti national park embark on a journey far north across the border to Maasai Mara national park in Kenya in search for fresh pasture and drinking water.
The wildebeest mainly comprise of zebras, buffaloes, elands and gazelles that are always determined to complete their journeys despite the hard times hey go through especially when crossing the Mara river with many deadly crocodiles and Maasai Mara national park with many lion numbers. Other deadly predators the wildebeest encounter include leopards, hyenas, cheetahs that eagerly wait to have feasts on the wildebeest. For greater wildebeest experiences, a tourist can choose any of the two national parks (Maasai Mara or Serengeti)
The Big Five
These refer to the wild animals that are very difficult to hunt and they include lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos and leopards. They can be viewed in three east African countries in Kenya in Maasai Mara national park, in Tanzania in Serengeti national park and in Uganda in Murchison falls national park. The leading predators of the big five the lions and leopards most times camouflage in the lush savanna grasses ready to hunt and get their meals while the other three of the big five elephants, rhinos and buffalos mainly depend on grass.
The big five are however very dangerous and deadly animals; this partly explains why they are termed as the big five. Tourists on game drives, nature walks or hot air balloon safaris (in Serengeti or Maasai Mara national parks) can view them.
East Africa has a number of bird species in all national parks, major lakes and rivers plus major swamps. Some of the birds are endemic to specific regions of east Africa like the rift valley. If you were to start naming the bird species, it list would not end but some of the noticeable bird species include the flamingos around lake Nakuru, shoebill stork in the swampy river Nile banks in Murchison falls national park, king fishers, egrets, marabou storks, Turracos, weavers, warblers, fish eagle and so much more.
There are well trained birding guides with enough information about all the major birds and are always willing to explain to the tourists.
The region is blessed with both volcanic and block mountains standing several meters above sea level. Tanzania is a home to the highest mountain on the continent – mountain Kilimanjaro, Kenya has the 2nd highest mountain – mount Kenya, Uganda the 4th highest peak – Stanley on mount Rwenzori. Other outstanding mountains include mount Karisimbi and Bisoke in Rwanda, Sabyinyo and Muhabura in Uganda. All these mountains can be hiked by all interested tourists however hiking in east Africa is a bit challenging and one has to be physically fit. Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya and Rwenzori are snow capped and have glaciers features on their peaks.
Sand Beaches And Islands
The two east African countries of Kenya and Tanzania are bordered by the Indian Ocean and have spectacular fine sand beaches where tourists can relax and sun bathe. The islands especially Zanzibar acts as best honeymoon destinations where tourists can go after enjoying wildlife safaris on the mainland. There are also various islands in lake victoria especially the Ssese islands in Uganda with a number o forests that harbor various bird species. These islands also beautiful beaches with well-developed resorts where tourists can relax.