East Africa is a region in Africa.
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
| 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.
- Addis Ababa — the huge capital of Ethiopia and a major hub for NGOs and the African Union
- Antananarivo — also known as Tana, is the capital of Madagascar
- Dar es Salaam — Tanzania's hot and humid metropolis has little to keep the traveler there, but is a major transit point of the region
- Kampala — the bustling, friendly capital of Uganda
- Kigali — aside from the genocide memorials, there is little to interest the traveler in Rwanda's capital; this is a passing through city
- Lilongwe — the largest city in Malawi is remarkably green
- Mombasa — historic coastal Kenyan city thought to be more than 2,500 years old
- Nairobi — the capital of Kenya and the largest city in East Africa
- Port Louis — the capital of Mauritius
- Andringitra National Park — one of the most biodiverse areas of extraordinary Madagascar
- Axum (Aksum) — the ancient capital of Ethiopia famous for its stelae and the ruins of various palaces
- Mount Kilimanjaro — Africa's highest mountain and a great trekking destination in Tanzania
- La Digue — the quietest, most picturesque and most exclusive Island in the Seychelles; home of L'Anse Source D'Argent, one of the world's top beaches
- Nyika National Park — large highland national park in Malawi
- Rwenzori National Park — home of the almost mythical, otherworldly scenery of the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda
- Serengeti National Park — huge national park in Tanzania, perhaps the archetypal African game park; becomes the Masai Mara National Park over the border in Kenya
- Simien National Park — stunning mountain scenery and important wildflife populations in Ethiopia
- Volcanoes National Park — in Rwanda is full of impressive rainforest and volcanic scenery of the Virunga Mountains, and is perhaps the best place in the world to see rare mountain gorillas. Also crosses into Uganda where it is known as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
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.
If you're planning to travel to East Africa during Ramadan, consider reading Travelling during Ramadan.
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.
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.