For an unforgettable travel experience that is enriching and rewarding, head for the East African countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
First thing’s first, if you want to do this on a budget then I advise bringing a tent and a warm sleeping bag as camping options are available everywhere and it saves you quite a lot of money.
For any backpacker in Nairobi I would recommend staying at the Wildebeest Camp, a safe and secure location on the outskirts of the city. Here you’re in the perfect spot for a safari in the Maasai Mara National Park (which crosses over into Tanzania where it is known as the Serengeti).
If you arrive in June/July you may just witness the annual wildebeest migration; a sight not to be missed. After this you can make the journey to Lamu Island which is situated off the north Kenyan Coast. Lamu is one of the oldest Swahili settlements left in East Africa and known for its narrow streets where donkeys are the main form of transportation. Dhow boat trips can be arranged through your hostel and are a great way to spend the day.
The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Tanzania is the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro. Surprisingly, it’s a hike that can be undertaken quite easily in five days, with the most challenging day being the summit attempt. Hikes can be arranged easily on the ground from the nearby town of Moshi.
While in Moshi, you can also inquire about tours to visit local tribes in the area. If you’d like to relax after the hike, head to the tropical island of Zanzibar, where you can take scuba diving courses, go on spice tours or relax on the beach.
A trip to southern Tanzania is also well worth the effort. Here the national parks are cheaper and less packed with tourists. A stop in the town of Iringa is a must for those interested in the Stone Age, with one of the world’s best preserved sites just a few miles outside of town.
The above counts for 0.01% of the attractions that can be found in east Africa. When you arrive you will find your own personal preferences that are off the beaten track, which is all part of the fun of exploring such a fascinating area of the world.
By James Creagh
Image: Zanzibar, via flickr.com