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East Africa

At the heart of this region is the classic safari destination of Kenya, which like Uganda, sits on the equator. Kenya is nearly the same size, around 500,000km2, and shape as the largest country in Western Europe, France. It is bordered to the east by the Indian Ocean.

To its north and south of Kenya are the two largest countries in East Africa, Ethiopia at just over 1 million km2, and Tanzania at just under 1 million km2. Ethiopia is dominated by mountains and high lying plateaux while much of Tanzania is bordered  by water, the Indian Ocean to the east, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika to the west, and Lake Victoria to the north, the three largest lakes in Africa.

In the west of this region lie Uganda, which can claim the source of the Nile, and Rwanda. These two countries are very lush, being on the eastern fringes of the rainforests of the Congo Basin.

One thing that much of the region has in common is that it is sitting on a high level plateau, which makes the climate very pleasant, typically the days are hot and dry and the nights cool. Temperatures decrease with altitude, and the coolest part of this region is the Ethiopian highlands, and the most hot and humid is along the Indian Ocean coastline, where luckily a cooling dip in the clear ocean water is within easy reach. Even though the countries of East Africa are in the tropical zone close to the equator, where nights and day are more or less the same length all year round, there are seasons: typically two rainy season and two dry seasons annually.

East Africa can boast all of the continents highest mountains: Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya and the Ruwenzori mountains. Another major geological feature is the Great Rift Valley, which cuts through the East African plateau, starting to the north in the Middle East, and ending in Mozambique. In and around the Rift Valley many fossils of early man and the ancestors of the human race have been found, which is why it is often referred to as the cradle of mankind. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, which lies in the midst of the rainforests of the Congo basin, lies to the west of Uganda and Rwanda. It is a country that can offer unique rainforest safaris, and is considered here as part of East Africa.


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