No matter where your travels take you, it will be nearly impossible to match the rich culture and cuisine that is found in eastern Africa. For those who have traveled this route, they would agree that this side of Africa has electric energy made even more apparent by its perfectly-posed wildlife and fearless safari leaders.
Needless to say, it is important to get out of your comfort zone on your travels. Eastern Africa does this extremely well, introducing its culture to curious travelers wanting a peek at this side of the continent.
What Is Waiting for You in Terms of Culture
Peruse Local Markets and Historical Sites
While eastern Africa has a wide stretch of open land ideal for wildlife to thrive, it also has been habituated by a lively people group whose culture is evident for all. Kigali City, the capital of Rwanda, is an excellent example of this, with its modern feel connecting current residents to the city’s past. One event, in particular, that is honored here is Rwanda’s genocide, which visitors can learn about in more depth at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
Diving deeper into the culture, travelers can stroll through the local craft market to purchase locally-created items ranging from baskets to dolls to bracelets. Support the local economy and learn about the story behind these souvenirs to make your visit even more meaningful.
Peer Into the Lives of Gorillas
Eastern Africa’s culture is very closely tied to its wildlife. You’ll have the chance to learn about this connection more intimately as you embark on a gorilla trek with experienced rangers. Having curated this activity to be as sustainable as possible, visitors are led on a hike lasting up to 7 hours, trekking through the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes.
Many would argue that there is nothing more surreal than camouflaging with your surroundings while searching for a secluded gorilla family. After spotting a family of these great apes, you’ll be allotted an hour to watch them do life, which largely consists of eating and playing.
Say Yes to Monkey Business
Home to the distinguishable and, quite frankly, adorable Golden monkeys is none other than the highland forests of Volcanoes National Park. While you’ll experience a variety of wildlife on this trek, your main purpose is to catch a glimpse of these playful primates. Given their current endangered status, this remarkable experience will be one that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Experience Additional Wildlife on Game Drives
What brings most travelers to Africa is its plethora of safaris promising front-row views to hair-raising wildlife. If this was your motivation to travel to Africa, you’re in luck. Eastern Africa is home to a plethora of reserves and national parks that strive to protect these species while also providing a safe opportunity for foreigners to experience them up close and personal.
A few locations you’ll spot this wildlife in during your game drives include Masai Mara National Reserve, Serengeti National Park, Amboseli National Park, and more. Keep your eyes peeled for rhinos, lions, elephants, buffalo, and leopards.
Before you leave, conquer your fear of heights by signing up for a sunrise balloon safari. Elevated above the vast landscape, you’ll be able to spot these majestic creatures from a new angle. If this isn’t convincing enough, you’ll also receive a champagne breakfast upon your safe landing.
What Is Waiting for You in Terms of Cuisine
Sample Local Coffee
Coffee has deep routes in eastern Africa, specifically in Ethiopia. Of course, this phenomenon spread worldwide, but it is still vastly celebrated in its more natural form in Africa. Kigali City in Rwanda has capitalized on this worldwide beverage, serving a sweet and savory flavor in its many coffee shops. During your travels, indulge in coffee the Rwandan way in one of its many aesthetic shops.
Take a Local Cooking Class
When in eastern Africa, you’ll likely feel inspired by the diverse cuisine. Form a deeper connection to the local culture by enrolling in a cooking class to discover how they prepare some of their most renowned dishes. You’ll gain a broad overview of the larger cuisine offerings, creating a bucket list of recipes to indulge in once more before your travels come to an end.
Indulge in These Favorite Dishes
Although your cooking class will provide a great introduction to the region’s famed dishes, there is never any harm in coming prepared with a list of recipes that you can’t leave without trying. One dish that reigns supreme in Kenya is matoke, a mixture of fried bananas, onions, tomatoes, and sauce.
In Tanzania, don’t miss out on a local favorite: mandazi. Bearing the appearance of a beignet sans powdered sugar, mandazi is fried bread that makes for a sugary treat. Some other popular foods to try throughout your trip include ugali, tibs, and mshikaki. Eastern Africa is an influential destination with a mixture of culture, cuisine, and wildlife that never ceases to inspire travelers. The aforementioned activities can all be experienced through our 15-day tour through Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda, but there are countless other trips led through eastern Africa that share similarities with this itinerary, all of which are exuding with culture.