East Africa Itinerary
Any East Africa itinerary will include a balance between wildlife, landscapes and culture. A trip to East Africa is like no other with a diverse range of experiences available from wildlife safaris, to beautiful beaches to large metropolises, the region offers endless possibilities to explore.
East Africa Itinerary – Safaris and Islands
Day 1 – Nairobi
Explore the cosmopolitan life of Kenya’s busy capital city. Get to know the city’s colourful markets (Village or Masai market), restaurants and bars. Spend an afternoon at the National Museum and Nairobi National Park where animals roam against the backdrop of Nairobi skyscrapers. While you are on site, dine at Carnivore, a Brazilian style meat house, located within the Nairobi National Park, serving up Nairobi wildlife. If you have the time, visit the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, close to the Nairobi National Park, which takes in elephant calves and rhinos from all over Kenya that were orphaned as a result of poaching.
Day 2 – Lake Nakuru
This beautiful lake is transformed into a pink haze as hundreds of flamingos descend upon it. While the flamingos are what drives safari caravans to the region, the savanna boasts a wide variety of wildlife, including lions and zebras.
Day 3 – Lake Naivasha/ Great Rift Valley
While most come for the games drives, this lake is a bird lovers paradise. Birdwatchers can take a cruise on the lake between the floating islands of papyrus reeds and may even spot a hippo or crocodile. Visit the Great Rift Valley on route from Lake Naivasha to the Masai Mara.
Day 4-5 – Masai Mara National Reserve
The famed Masai Mara is the largest and probably the most popular game park in the world. With everything from elephants and wildebeest, to lion and hyenas, the variety of wildlife is truly astonishing.
Day 6-7 – Mombasa
Upon returning to Nairobi, catch a plane to Mombasa, a colonial town on the Eastern coastline of Kenya. Spend the day wandering the Old Town, visiting Fort Jesus and Mombasa Tusks. If you have more time, spend another day or two exploring Mombasa’s beautiful beaches: Diani Beach and/or Tiwi Beach.
Days 8-10 – Lamu
Either fly from Mombasa or overland your way to Lamu Island, a World Heritage Site, that is straight out of a scene from Arabian nights. There are no cars on the tiny island’s cobblestoned streets – donkeys are the central means of transport. You could spend eternity on the island’s white sand beaches but if you are on a time crunch try and limit your time to 2 days, which should include a visit to Shela Beach on the North end of the island and a day trip on a dhow, traditional sailboat, visiting Takwa ruins and Kiwayu.
Days 11-12 – Serengeti National Park
Fly back to Nairobi and then hitch a flight to Arusha, the gateway to the Serengeti. Spend a few days discovering the wide-open plains of the Serengeti, home to the iconic big 5 and herds of zebras and wildebeest.
Days 13-14 – Ngorongoro Crater/Laratu
Travel to the astonishing Ngorongoro Crater, home to over 30,000 animals including impalas, zebras, hippos, leopards and endangered black rhinos. Visit the fascinating Olduvai Gorge, the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ where some of the world’s oldest skeletons were discovered.
Day 15 – Dar Es Salam
Spend a day in Dar Es Salam, Tanzania’s vibrant capital. You can visit the Makumbusho Village Museum, Kigamboni, the Tanzanian equivalent of South Beach, or if you have a full day to kill head out to Bongoyo Island, an uninhibited island just off the coast of Dar Es Salam.
Days 16-17 – Zanzibar
Catch the ferry to exotic Zanzibar and explore the island’s many beaches, nature trails and old town. Zanzibar, was nicknamed the Spice Island because it was an important stop in the spice trade centuries ago. The spice tour is an interesting trip around the island where travellers can explore plantations, smelling cinnamon, vanilla and cloves. Spend some time walking around Stone Town, a World Heritage Site, exploring the vibrant open-air market, the House of Wonders and the Arab Fort. For beach lovers, there are tons of patches of sand to discover: from the East Beach (famous for its scuba diving and dolphin trip) or Kendwa Beach.
Any East Africa itinerary should include at least a few of these must-see game parks and cities.