Primates

Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda have no peers when it comes to watching primates. Encounters with mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are the major draws, but there are also golden monkeys and charismatic colobus.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Almost-guaranteed sightings of eastern mountain gorillas.

Volcanoes National Park Eastern mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.

Kibale Forest National Park Thirteen species, including red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkey.

Semuliki National Park Nine species, including De Brazza’s monkey.

Queen Elizabeth National Park Chimpanzees in beautiful Kyambura Gorge.

Nyungwe Forest National Park Chimpanzees and Angolan colobus monkeys.

Gombe National Park Chimps where Jane Goodall made them famous.

Mahale Mountains National Park Up-close chimpanzees in a stunning setting.

Kakamega Forest National Reserve Kenya's best primate reserve.

Big Cats

Lions sleeping under (or up!) a tree, a lone leopard draped along a branch, a cheetah accelerating across the savannah – these are some of East Africa’s most unforgettable experiences.

Masai Mara National Reserve Arguably the best place to spot all three cats, especially from July to October.

Mara Conservancies All three cats in abundance and without the crowds.

Serengeti National Park The Seronera River is big-cat central and sightings are likely year-round.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area What's thought to be the highest lion density in Africa.

Tsavo East National Park A good spot for relatively easy sightings of all three cats.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy Go lion-tracking with the experts.

Queen Elizabeth National Park Leopards and tree-climbing lions in Uganda.

Murchison Falls National Park Lions and leopards in northwestern Uganda.

Selous Game Reserve Africa's largest lion population, with leopards commonly sighted too.

Rhinos & Elephants

The African elephant and the rhinoceros are the enduring icons of the continent, whether as a symbol for the gravitas of its wildlife or the natural world’s remarkable resilience.

Amboseli National Park As close as you’ll get to a big-tusked elephant, with Mt Kilimanjaro in the background.

Samburu National Reserve Elephants set against one of Kenya's most beautiful regions.

Ruaha National Park Some of East Africa’s largest herds, with 12,000 elephants in total.

Tsavo East National Park Kenya’s largest elephant population with over 11,000.

Tarangire National Park Large dry-season elephant herds in one of Tanzania’s most underrated parks.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy East Africa's largest population of black rhinos in Kenya's Laikipia.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Both black and white rhinos in central Kenya.

Nairobi National Park The world’s densest concentration of black rhinos.

Meru National Park Both black and white rhinos without the crowds.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Your best chance to see black rhinos in Tanzania.

Hiking & Trekking

With soaring Rift Valley mountains with accessible summits, snaking forest trails and flatland savannah, East Africa has a range of trekking experiences to suit most time frames and fitness levels.

Mt Kilimanjaro Trek to the roof of Africa.

Mt Kenya Africa’s second-highest mountain with arguably better views.

Mt Meru Widely considered to be a brilliant alternative to Kili, and it's close to Arusha.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park Fabulous high-altitude trekking in mist-soaked forests.

Mt Elgon A vast volcano with quieter hiking trails.

Usambara Mountains Trails wind through pretty villages and even prettier landscapes.

Crater Highlands Enjoy rugged beauty and Rift Valley vistas with a Maasai guide.

Volcanoes National Park Hike through dense forest in search of Rwanda's gorillas.

Nyungwe Forest National Park Track chimps and other primates along the trails through primeval forest.

Islands

The islands of East Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline capture the essence of the region’s appeal. For an utterly different experience, Lake Turkana and Lake Rubondo are remote and rarely visited.

Zanzibar Island A magical name for a magical place, from Stone Town to perfect beaches.

Pemba Hidden white-sand coves and an intriguing culture.

Mafia Island Indian Ocean paradise with a marine park and few visitors.

Lamu Archipelago Manda, Manda Toto and Paté Islands are simply superb.

Wasini Island One of Kenya’s little-known jewels and a real step back in time.

Central Island National Park An otherworldly volcano rising above the extraordinary Lake Turkana.

Rubondo Island A beautiful Lake Victoria island with birdwatching, elephants and chimps.

History & Ruins

East Africa’s Swahili coast lies at the confluence of empires and trade routes with some stunning landmarks still in place. The powerful kingdoms of ancient Uganda also left their mark.

Gede Ruins An ancient and exceptional Swahili trading post in Kenya.

Kilwa Kisiwani Imposing and predominantly 15th-century Arab ruins in Tanzania.

Mnarani A Medieval Swahili port with fine mosques and massive baobab trees.

Kasubi Tombs Ancient royal tombs of the Buganda kings with other sites nearby.

Zanzibar Palaces Crumbling reminders of Zanzibar’s past grandeur.

Kondoa Rock-Art Sites Beguiling ruins of a very different (and more ancient) kind.

Kigali Genocide Memorial A sobering monument to Rwanda’s tragic recent history.

National Museum, Nairobi A fascinating journey through Kenyan history from an African perspective.

Beaches

East Africa’s coastline is utterly gorgeous and there are some near-perfect beaches, including some with stunning, remote stretches of sand that have yet to be discovered.

Kilifi Fishing village, empty sand and Indian Ocean perfection.

Zanzibar’s East Coast White sand and offshore reefs.

Watamu Marine National Park Seven kilometres of unspoiled beach with a lovely fishing village nearby.

Pemba Beautiful white-sand coves with plenty of space to spread your towel.

Tiwi Beach The alter ego to nearby Diani Beach resorts and its equal in beauty.

Diving & Snorkelling

Reefs proliferate all along East Africa’s coastline and the diving and snorkelling here ranks among the best in Africa, with abundant marine life and an exceptional array of coral.

Pemba Divers in the know swear by Pemba’s reefs.

Manda Toto Island Outstanding snorkelling in Kenya’s Lamu archipelago.

Zanzibar Archipelago Coral reefs and shipwrecks offshore from Zanzibar Town.

Kisite Marine National Park Snorkel with dolphins; diving is also possible.

Watamu Marine National Park Fabulous reefs, fish and sea turtles.

Diani Beach Professional dive schools and even a purpose-sunk shipwreck.

Maziwe Marine Reserve Snorkel with dolphins in pristine waters with a sand island nearby.

Malindi Marine National Park Sharks, turtles and a stunning ocean floor.

Creature Comforts

East Africa does luxury extremely well. There’s nothing quite like returning from a day’s safari to luxury accommodation and impeccable standards of personal service out in the African bush.

Ol Donyo An utterly extraordinary place close to Amboseli.

Segera Retreat An Out of Africa experience in Kenya's Laikipia.

Asilia Naboisho Camp A gorgeous tented camp in Naboisho Conservancy in the Mara.

Lamai Serengeti A northern Serengeti stunner with vast, beautifully styled rooms.

Shu'mata Camp Classic safari luxury on a perch near Kilimanjaro.

Giraffe Manor Top-end luxury with a Rothschild’s giraffe looking in your window.

Cottar's 1920s Camp Safari luxury and nostalgia in overdrive.

Mara Plains Palatial tents with details no one else thought of.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge An exclusive base for visiting Rwanda’s gorillas.