East Africa

East Africa is a region in Africa.

Understand

East Africa is regarded as the cradle of mankind, as the first species of the Homo genus evolved here, and migrated to the rest of the world. Within the historical era, East Africa has received immigration and influences from the Bantu peoples, Malay peoples of Southeast Asia, the Islamic world, and the Western world.

The region is also famous for its savannas, with the well-known African flora and fauna.

Countries and territories

East Africa regions
Burundi
On the shores of Lake Tanganyika; largely deforested and has precious little to interest the visitor
Comoros
Tiny Indian Ocean island group between Madagascar and Mozambique
Djibouti
Small country across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen and largely Arabic in nature
Eritrea
This relatively small nation has heavy Arab and African influences
Ethiopia
Africa's second largest population; an old Christian country, home to castles, beautiful monasteries, and wonderful food
Kenya
Known for its world-class safaris and beautiful beaches
Madagascar
Expect the unexpected in the land of the lemurs and the so-called eighth continent
Mauritius
Tropical Indian Ocean island
Mayotte
Réunion
Rwanda
Gorillas in the mist
Seychelles
A group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar
Somalia
One of the least visited nations on earth, it is by no coincidence that the nation is also wrought with political instability, civil war, and rampant kidnapping/abductions
Tanzania
Mt. Kilimanjaro and major game parks
Uganda
Wildlife abounds and this is the best place for treks into the Congolese jungle to visit the nearly extinct mountain gorillas

Somaliland is unrecognised by any other nation but, from the traveller's perspective has all the characteristics of a separate country and is somewhat safer to visit than its erstwhile "overlord", Somalia.

Cities

Street view in Mombasa old town

Other destinations

Chapel of the Tablet, Axum

Understand

Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th and holiest month in the Islamic calendar and lasts 29–30 days. Muslims fast every day for its duration and most restaurants will be closed until the fast breaks at dusk. Nothing (including water and cigarettes) is supposed to pass through the lips from dawn to sunset. Non-muslims are exempt from this, but should still refrain from eating or drinking in public as this is considered very impolite. Working hours are decreased as well in the corporate world. Exact dates of Ramadan depend on local astronomical observations and may vary somewhat from country to country. Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.

  • 6 June – 5 July 2016 (1437 AH)
  • 27 May – 24 June 2017 (1438 AH)
  • 16 May – 14 June 2018 (1439 AH)
  • 6 May – 3 June 2019 (1440 AH)
  • 24 April – 23 May 2020 (1441 AH)

If you're planning to travel to East Africa during Ramadan, consider reading Travelling during Ramadan.

Talk

English is understood throughout some of the East Africa region.

Swahili is understood and spoken by a large number of people, especially Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, where it is an official language.

Stay safe

If you are travelling by boat, yacht or jet ski, you should be vigilant around the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, due to the activities of Somali pirates. There have also been incidents involving jihadists attacking non-Muslims in various parts of East Africa where they would target those who are unfamiliar with the Quran.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 11, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.