A day on safari in East Africa : What happens in a typical day in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania? A safari in East Africa is a must have once in a lifetime and it is always memorable experience to hold on to, for the past years East Africa has become a haven for safaris with some of the rewarding safari destinations such as

  • Tanzania safari destinations – Serengeti national park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire national park, and Lake Manyara national park among others

  • Uganda safari destinations – Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Mgahinga Gorilla national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Kidepo Valley national park and Murchison Falls national park among others

  • Kenya safari destinations – Maasai Mara national reserve, Lake Nakuru national park, Tsavo national parks, Amboseli national park and Samburu national reserve among others.

On a typical safari in East Africa, you get up early in the morning, head out at dawn to catch a glimpse of the animals in the chilly morning air, rest for the afternoon and explore again in the evening.

Though some tourists prefer to have their own routine, this is what generally happens in a day on a safari in East Africa.

This article, details a breakdown of a typical day on a safari in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya with some of the key distinctions you might encounter during the safari.

Early morning

Morning in the bush while on a safari East Africa countries always begin early but if you choose to add hot air balloon experience, the day starts earlier. Hot air balloon safari start as early as 04:30 am, which is worth it as you will enjoy watching the sun streak its first colors across the horizon while floating above the landscape. Depending on the wind and weather conditions, the hot air balloon flight experience lasts for around 2 to 3 hours and enjoy a champagne breakfast awaiting on your return to the ground.

A day on safari in East Africa
Hot air balloons

On a safari in East Africa, the best time to see wildlife is in the very early morning before the day heats up. You will meet your guide at around 6 am for a cup of coffee and pastry before getting into your vehicle.

Typical safaris in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are full-board packages where you will keep the same vehicle and the safari – drive guide throughout your safari, in Tanzania safaris normally start in Arusha City where you will meet your guide and the vehicle and head to several Tanzania wildlife destinations. In Kenya, safaris start in Nairobi City and in Uganda safaris start from Kampala City. To make the longer drives more bearable, you will be driven in closed vehicles and will often have a pop up section in the middle of the roof that you can stick your head out while in the parks to get better view of the wildlife.

If you choose to fly between the parks and reserves, your day on a safari in East Africa will start early in the morning with meeting your guide at the safari lodges then transfer to the bush in an open vehicle that has been specially customized for game viewing and usually with no doors or slides. If you are travelling in a group, you will share the vehicle with other guest, at the safari there is a variety of activities to do such as walking safari, game drives, full day expeditions according to your preferences which you have to decide a day before.


Game drives in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya usually last for 3 or 4 hours, then return to your lodge at around 9:30 am for breakfast, different lodges and camps offer arrange of breakfast from Muesli bowls and Muffins to a full English breakfast but always mouth – watering.

Full day game drives are very popular in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda and on a typical day on a safari in East Africa will include one. On the full day game drive, you will spend the day exploring and adventuring in the bush, tracking animals and generally having fun time. You will pack food from the lodge (snacks to lunch and drinks) and you will have picnic lunch which you will have at specific locations in case you will not return to your lodge for lunch..

Lunch Time and Afternoon

The hours after breakfast are normally for you to do what you what, you can grab a cold drink or read a good book, take a short nap, take a swim and the spa for Massage. Often lodges serve a light snack for lunch, if you do not like it, tea time is at 3:30 pm which is always a real treat with plentiful of biscuits, cakes and sandwiches.

Many East Africa lodges offered visits to the local communities such as Maasai communities and Batwa communities, through these visits you be supporting the local villages and primary schools. If you are interested in spending time with the locals , visiting the local communities is the best activity to do.

A day on safari in East Africa
Maasai Communities


Normally, a second game drive of the day takes place after tea usually around 4pm. In this time the animals are most active as they come to life again in the later hours of the day, just as sun begins to sink below the horizon. This is a spectacular time to spot predators who will be walking up to start hunting. In between the adventure, you will have a stop for a sundowner drink, an African tradition in which you sip something cold as you watch the sun go down which is a heavenly feeling.

If you are staying outside the park, you may depart for a game drive a little earlier in the afternoon to allow time to get through the park before its gates are close in the evening. If you are staying on a private reserve, there may be some flexibility in what time you leave and how late you stay.

Also for night game drive, there are often time limitations on when vehicles need to exit the park and how late they can stay, if you are on a safari in a private reserve or if your lodge has special permission to stay out, you may be able to a game drive in the dark which is the best time to spot nocturnal animals such as anteater, aardvark, leopards and lions and you will use a spot little to pick out their glittering eyes.

If you have been out on a full day game drive, you will arrive back at the lodge in the afternoon, it is up to you as a guest whether to stay in the bush for sundowners or have them at the lodge around a fire which are both magical.


If you are back to the lodge early enough, you might have a little time to freshen up before dinner, otherwise its straight to the table. You do not need to worry about changing as a very few lodges request that you dress any differently in the evening. Dinner is often a communal affair hosted by a resident guide from the lodge and sometimes the manager who will regale you with safari stories and fascinating tales of their time in the bush continuing late into the night.

Before you accept a last shot of Whiskey, remember the next morning’s wake up call.

book a gorilla trip