• Evelyn Nakazi

4 Memorable Experiences To Have in East Africa

Here are 4 Most Memorable Experiences you should have in East Africa

Everyone that visits Africa hopes to bag a collection of unforgettable experiences that they can relive from memory for the rest of their lives. Africa is where your every expectation is exceeded and where your imagination blends flawlessly with reality when images once frozen in your favorite nature magazine stand majestically before your eyes.

East Africa is vast and a highly diverse part of the continent full of fascinating cultures, dramatic scenery and extraordinary animals, it offers some of the most amazing travel experiences in the world. From the Kenya’s pristine coastline stretches of beach edged by the azure blue waters of the warm Indian Ocean to the vast African savannas through to the continent’s highest peaks and high up the rainforest jungles of Uganda and Rwanda, the vibrant cities, people and cultures, myriad experiences await you in East Africa and here are four of our most memorable ones.

The great Migration in Masai Mara a true african safari experience

Wildebeest Crossing The Mara River

1. Witness The World’s Greatest Migration

The Wildebeest Great Migration is the world’s most dramatic wildlife spectacle that happens in Kenya’s Masai Mara & Tanzania’s Serengeti National Parks every year between May and December. It doesn’t matter what kind of experience you’ve had with wildlife, the Great Migration will sweep your mind with everlasting memories about Africa. Perhaps you’ve seen it in Disney’s Lion King animation or on National Geographic channel, even that doesn’t come close to describing this great African safari spectacle.

Wildebeest, of all migratory animals, take the crown for the most dramatic migration on earth. Wildebeest (also known as gnu) are members of the antelope family, but they look more like cows with their big horns, stocky build, and shaggy manes. They live in huge groups of over one million individuals, along with thousands of zebras and gazelles.

During the dry season, this giant herd roams the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of Tanzania and Kenya in search of fresh grass and water. It is a round-trip that spans hundreds of miles and two countries. The herd moves as a great swarm, and individuals must keep up or risk being picked off by the lions, hyenas, and crocodiles that gather to hunt.

To witness such an event in the birthplace of humanity is an emotional experience that could never be fully captured by mere photos or words. The Great Migration takes place in some of the most wildlife-rich natural areas in the world, making the experience all that more rewarding.

This is one of those world travel bucket list items that we all dream of experiencing during our lifetime.

To be a witness to this quintessential wildlife experience, start with Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania’s north. Here you’ll see newborn Wildebeest and Zebras during calving season. The abundance of young prey also means you might have a greater chance of experiencing Lion, Leopard, and other predator attacks during your visit.

Move into Serengeti National Park, definitely one of the best places to witness the Great Migration, as large herds of Wildebeest and Zebra begin to congregate. The Grumeti River makes for an imposing barrier which the animals need to gather up the courage to cross. It is also here where the Wildebeest will begin to mate, hopefully offsetting their population losses during the migration.

Animals that survive the Grumeti River crossing now face an even more daunting task crossing the turbulent Mara River which will give them access to the fertile grasslands of the Maasai Mara. But the threat of crocodile attacks here increases considerably, often causing great panic among the herds. This makes the Mara River a great place to witness dramatic attacks, as well as the triumphant herds that manage to make it safely to the other side.

And lastly the Maasai Mara National Reserve before they turn back. The animals that make it to these feeding grounds can now fatten up before returning to the Ngorongoro to give birth again. But they also face one of East Africa’s greatest densities of lions. The survivors will make their way south in a few months, leaving behind the big cats that preyed upon them to defend their home territories.

All year round from January through to December this great wildlife spectacle unfolds, but if you want to catch the peak of the migration drama, book your East African safari for between July and early October. Iconic Travels can help you with organizing the great migration trip including your transportation, food, accommodation and the itinerary.



FROM US$7,328 PP

Mountain Gorillas & Masai Mara Migration Safari

Duration: 6 Days, 5 Nights Inclusive: accommodation, meals, transfers, local flights, park fees & gorilla permit

Visiting: Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda Masai Mara National Park, Kenya


Gorillas and Uganda wildlife safari

FROM US$5,589 PP

Mountain Gorillas and Uganda’s Wildlife Safari

Duration: 7 Days, 6 Nights Inclusive: accommodation, meals, transfers, local flights, park fees & gorilla permit

Visiting: Queen Elizabeth National Park Bwindi Impenetrable N. Park

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda a memorable African Experience

A family of Mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

2. Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda & Uganda’s Misty Jungles

East Africa’s mountain gorillas are the most adorable giant creatures to spend time with and every traveler that has enjoyed the experience will truthfully testify to that.

What makes the mountain gorillas (Eastern gorilla, gorilla beringei) an African safari thing is that they’re classified as endangered, they’re only found in two places in the world shared between Uganda, Rwanda and DRC and that the 1988 Hollywood hit, “Gorillas In the Mist” featuring Sigourney Weaver shone a bright light on the gorilla’s plight inviting the world’s attention to their dying population.

There are only two populations of mountain gorillas left in the world. The first lives in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, with groups scattered between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The second population lives deep in Bwindi. (Iconic Travels organizes gorilla tours to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest).

If there is a safari that brings you any closer, on foot, to wild beasts assumed capable of mauling you, but too gentle to care about your existence, the gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda is it.

One second you are bushwhacking through thickets of one of the oldest tropical forest on earth, pulling yourself up a steep lava slope, toehold to toehold. The next, you turn a corner and sunlight streams through the canopy to illuminate a matted clump of black against a curtain of rain forest green. You’ve known this was coming and still you gasp. Seated perhaps 30 feet away is one of the roughly 1000 mountain gorillas remaining on earth, a saggy-breasted female, and soon you see that she is cradling an infant in her lap. She wraps one arm around the juvenile while scratching her own ear with an extended index finger.

She is the advanced sentry for one of the gorilla families, you were allowed to track, and to the extent that she seems to care at all about your arrival, her attitude smacks of “What took you so long?” You freeze, then tiptoe forward to give all other trekkers in your group a clear sightline. Cameras are unholstered faster than six-shooters at a gunfight.

Soon two juvenile siblings tumble out of the brush, abruptly disrupting the maternal one-on-one time. As the imps wrestle and roll, the mother flops on her back in surrender.

Any anthropomorphism must be forgiven; it is impossible not to be struck by the humanoid nature of these neighbors on the evolutionary chain. While observing so much of African savannah wildlife — lions, buffallos, elephants, giraffes — one marvels at their prehistoric form and questions our placement in the same biological class. With the mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda, which share 98 percent of our DNA, we look into a mirror, and they look impassively back. That’s a memory that’ll stick your cerebellum forever.

It’s not just the mountain gorillas you’ll experience on your journey into Uganda or Rwanda, these parts of the world shine with stunning scenery, deep freshwater lakes, soaring misty mountains and myriad species of animals and birds not found anywhere else in the world.

Talk to someone at Iconic Travels to help you start planning your trip for months to come.



FROM US$7,328 PP

Mountain Gorillas & Masai Mara Migration Safari

Duration: 6 Days, 5 Nights Inclusive: accommodation, meals, transfers, local flights, park fees & gorilla permit

Visiting: Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda Masai Mara National Park, Kenya


Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi

FROM US$2,734 PP

Uganda Gorilla Trekking, Fly to Bwindi

Duration: 3 Days, 2 Nights Inclusive: accommodation, meals, transfers, local flights, park fees & gorilla permit

Visiting: EBB to Kihihi Airstrip Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

 Chale Island: Kenya's only private island resort, Chale Island is surrounded by coral reefs and covered in thick tropical vegetation. The Sands at Chale Island hotel curls around the main beach on the island's windward shore.

Chale Island: Kenya’s only private island resort, Chale Island is surrounded by coral reefs and covered in thick tropical vegetation. The Sands at Chale Island hotel curls around the main beach on the island’s windward shore.

3. Walk the Soothingly Warm Colored Coastline of East Africa

Astride the equator on roughly the same latitude as the Seychelles and Maldives, Kenya enjoys the same geographical conditions as some of the world’s top sun, sea and sand destinations that no safari enthusiast should miss out.

Although Kenya and Tanzania are justly celebrated for their national parks and wildlife, they’re also home to some of the continent’s best beaches. The Indian Ocean is soothingly warm, colored varying shades of green and blue. Coral reefs, many of them protected inside marine national parks, shelter much of the coast, providing habitats for a plethora of sea-life.

There’s enough breeze for sailing and wind-powered adventure sports, but not so much that it’s going to blow you away.

Once upon a time, there wasn’t much in the way of beachside hotels beyond Mombasa and Malindi. Nowadays, however, there’s accommodation at every level, from backpacker hostels to chic boutique properties.

The same goes for the restaurant scene, where a wide selection of places serve modern takes on traditional Kenya cuisine, as well as international dishes.

The Batwa Tribe Dance for visitors in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable N.Park a memorable African Safari Experience

The Batwa Tribe Dance for visitors in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable N.Park

4. Dance with the Indiginous tribes of Uganda

A huge part of experiencing the real Africa, is by interacting with the local indigenous people. On your trip to Uganda, you’ll definitely meet a variety of ethnic groups. Each destination you’re bound will reveal a new tribe that occupies that part that can give a whole new experience out of your world.

It’s not about simply seeing Africa, but more so experiencing Africa – meeting its people, embracing their warmth of welcome, understanding their beliefs and seeing through their lens a completely different perspective on life. You can’t imagine how different African life is until you see it and feel it for yourself. Meeting with a tribe in Uganda is an exceptionally humbling and heartfelt experience.

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