East Africa is one of the best places to vacation in Africa for many reasons. The warm tropical climate, strategic geographical location and the amazing landscape are just some of the reasons. Add the presence of a variety of wildlife including all of the big 5, mountain regions and incredible Indian Ocean beaches, all with high-end resorts, in one region. Tanzania for instance, plays hosts to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain while the second highest, Mt. Kenya is found in Kenya. Lake Victoria, whose shores touch the lands of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, is the largest lake by area and the world’s largest tropical lake.
Many of these beautiful spots have been brushed aside by tourists and holiday makers, so we compiled a list of 5 underrated vacation spots in East Africa for memorable travel experiences.
Tsavo National Park in Kenya
Tsavo National Park, that includes both Tsavo East and Tsavo West, is Kenya’s largest national Park. It is located in Taita Taveta, near Voi, on both sides of the road that leads to the Coastal City of Mombasa. There are plenty of attractions as well modern, high class resorts in Tsavo that make it a great place to vacation. ‘Home away from home’ safari lodges with modern amenities such as Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, Voi Safari Lodge, Ashnil Aruba Lodge, Lion Hill Lodge, Satao Camp and many others are great vacation spots. The park has a serene atmosphere, and mostly hot, with the savannah extending into the horizon. The Park extends about 22000 square kilometres so there’s plenty of ground to cover during your game drive. Depending on the side, you will see elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, black rhinos, giraffes and hippos, just to name a few. There are a couple of small rivers flowing through in addition to Mzima Springs and Lake Jipe.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in western Uganda, in Rwenzori Mountains where you find Africa’s third highest peak. The scenery is spectacular and the ambiance tranquil, so you can bet that a stay in any of the hotels and lodges around will be relaxing. If you love wildlife of mountain climbing then the Ruwenzori will offer you unique experiences during your vacation.
Lake Kivu in Rwanda
Lake Kivu is located in Rwanda and its location by the border allows for resource sharing with Democratic Republic of Congo. It is surrounded by scenic mountain regions and the resorts with private sandy beaches allow for a great place to take repose. Lake Kivu Serena Hotel and Emeraude Kivu Resort are some of them that allow for activities including boat riding, fishing and swimming.
Matemwe beach in Tanzania
Matemwe is an exceptionally beautiful beach located on the North East coast of Zanzibar. It is the ideal place to escape to, away from your work or daily hustle, to relax on the white beaches and swim in the aquamarine waters. There’s no shortage of outdoor and water activities including diving, snorkelling and sailing. If you need to keep away from your devices and have fun by the beach while building sand castles, then Matemwe is what you need.
“What makes Mikumi special is that it’s somewhat forgotten,” said Karen Oakes, manager of Stanley’s Kopje, a tented camp that opened in the park in 2001. “It is often overlooked by tour operators…which means it is sort of a hidden gem.”
Mikumi lies along a trade route that has connected the East African coast with huge inland lakes for hundreds of years. The taste for ivory and other exotic goods has lured traders, travellers and explorers along this corridor since the 18th Century, when caravans carried cloth and beads, copper and spices, ivory and slaves across the same plains and hills now visited by tourists.