East Africa is home to some of the most sought after travel destinations on the continent. Loosely defined, the region encompasses multiple countries, each of which boasts unique cultures, landscapes and ecosystems.

Africa’s eastern nations offer a wide variety of attractions, from the finest national parks on earth, to picturesque white sand beaches snuggled against turquoise waters and traditional villages where cultures have been unchanged for hundreds of years.

How many countries are there in East Africa?

There are 10 countries that officially make up East Africa. These are; Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Somalia.

Here are 11 exciting travel destinations in East Africa:

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

One of Africa’s most iconic landmarks, Mount Kilimanjaro is a serene sight against the savannah foreground.

Standing at 5,895 metres, Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the continent and the world’s highest free-standing mountain.

11 Exciting Travel Destinations In East Africa
Mount Kilimanjaro | 11 Exciting Travel Destinations In East Africa

Previously accessible by experienced climbers only, today the climb up Mount Kilimanjaro is available to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and a hunger for adventure. Climbing with a guide is compulsory and the trek usually takes between 5 and 9 days depending on your route. Its advised that you allow a few extra days to acclimatise beforehand.

If you’re pressed for time, consider climbing the nearby Mount Meru instead.

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

One of the most famous safari destinations in the world, Maasai Mara National Reserve has a reputation for providing memorable wildlife encounters.

Not only does the Maasai Mara play a role in the annual ‘Great Migration’ but its also home to a high density of big game species all year round. It’s very possible to see the whole Big 5 in a single day along with huge herds of wildebeest, zebra and giraffe.

Masai Tribesman | 11 Exciting Travel Destinations In East Africa

Experiencing a river crossing during the migration is an experience that few safari goers will ever forget, as herds of wildebeest in their thousands attempt to cross the mighty Mara River with giant nile crocodiles lying in wait.

Visiting traditional Maasai villages and learning about their ancient way of life and culture is another highlight of visiting this incredible travel destination in East Africa.

Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Forming part of Africa‘s transfrontier Great Rift Valley, Omo Valley is one of the most remote travel destinations in East Africa. It almost appears as a civilisation thriving in a pre-colonial era.

For those willing to make the long and difficult journey away from East Africa’s usual tourist hotspots, the rewards are plentiful. Here visitors will be rewarded with incredible scenery and the chance to visit small villages that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

11 Exciting Travel Destinations In East Africa
Omo Valley Tribeswomen © Globotreks | 11 Exciting Travel Destinations In East Africa

The Omo Valley Region is home to many different tribes, each of which has their own ancient traditions with regards to dress, culture and ceremonies.

It is advised to join a tour in order to get the most out of your Omo Valley experience, some of which combine cultural visits with white-water rafting on the region’s famous rapids.

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Full of lush vegetation and blanketed in thick mist, Volcanoes National Park is nestled deep within Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains.

Africa’s oldest national park, Volcanoes is one of the best places on earth to encounter the great apes, primarily the critically endangered mountain gorilla. A subspecies of the wider-ranging eastern gorilla, there are only around 800 of these amazing animals left.

Silverback Gorilla | 11 Exciting Travel Destinations In East Africa

Spending time with a family of mountain gorilla’s in their natural environment is an incredibly moving experience that should be on every wildlife lover’s bucket list. Gorilla treks are led by experienced guides and depending on the location and weather, can sometimes involve a few hours of hiking.

Volcanoes National Park is also home to a variety of other rare species, including 29 bird species.