It actually stretches from the northern arid deserts of Ethiopia to the tropical forests of Mozambique and Madagascar, with 19 countries in between. While my East African adventure in 2006 only spanned 3 countries, the experience it yielded were quite diverse – from the usual Safari adventures to tracking Chimpanzees to the more extreme, whitewater rafting. Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, territories that were formerly under British control and each hold common thread yet bear its own unique character.
Catching sight of the Big Five – Lions, African Elephants, Cape Buffalos, Leopards, and Rhinoceroses.
The Big Five aside, Zebras along with giraffes have become favorites.
Witnessing not quite the migration but the start of it. From July to October, one could witness the great migration where wildebeest and zebra travel to and from the Serengeti National Park to the greener pastures of the Masai Mara National Reserves.
It is perhaps the most breathtaking event in animal kingdom and the whole point of our visit to this continent. To see them gather together, sometimes in a line is more than thrilling.
Witnessing a gathering of Flamingos. Absolutely a sight to behold, this sea of pink covering a large part of Lake Nakuru. One of the Rift Valley soda lakes that attract vast quantity of flamingos that feed on the lake’s abundant algae.
Being in beautiful Ngorongoro Crater. It is the world’s largest intact unflooded volcanic caldera and is home to over 300,000 animals including the rare Black Rhinos.
An absolutely beautiful place to be on a safari, the crater makes for a stunning backdrop to rich grazing grounds.
Chilling in Zanzibar. A semi-autonomous island separated from the Tanzanian mainland.
Although just a short distance from the Tanzanian coast, it is at the crossroad of Africa, the Middle East and Asia resulting in a culture of diverse ethnicities, more Middle Eastern in its feel than African. Likewise with local dishes, the rich fragrance of cinnamon, ginger, cumin, pepper and cardamom is synonymous with Zanzibar, also known as the Spice Island. The streets of Stone’s Town – the capital’s old quarter – is full of the bustle of back street markets and local flavor.
The charm lies in its labyrinth alleyways and faded buildings redolent of the glories of the old Islāmic empire.
Rafting the White Nile. Stretching 31km from just below the Bujugali Falls in Jinja, experiencing the Nile at its source is by far the best heart-pounding whitewater ride of my life.
Getting lost in Uganda. On a wrong bus, we went the other way and ended up not quite where we wanted to be.
Best known for Idi Amin or Joseph Koney, getting lost could be frightening but this mishap gave us a taste of the local flare and the kindness of its people. We eventually found our way but not without the help of the people we didn’t know from Adam. An impression indelibly marked in my heart.
It is by far one of the best trip I’ve had – a wonderful surprise, considering that it was not even on the priority. I will be back Africa, sooner than you know.