How best to plan a trip to East Africa in 2023 : A trip to East Africa seems to be on every traveler’s bucket list, and for good reason! With incredible wildlife, intriguing culture, and scenery of every kind, East Africa has no shortage of jaw-dropping sights to see and things to do.

Planning a trip to Africa can be fun, but also somewhat daunting. East Africa can be a challenging destination to visit with many remote areas, logistical details to plan, and seemingly endless destinations to choose from. Whether you want to go on an adventurous safari or see historical ruins, there is something in East Africa for everyone! East Africa offers some of the most dazzling scenery on the continent, along with an abundance of animal spotting. With the cosmopolitan culture of Cape Town, beautiful wine country, and lovely surroundings, Southern Africa is a better choice if you want a more well-rounded experience.

Where should I go in East Africa for the first time?

The top destinations in East Africa include Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. Visiting East Africa can be an excellent destination for first time travelers because they have incredible attractions, and safe to visit. You can plan to visit each country at a time or take a combined trip to all the 4 countries and end your trip in Zanzibar Island.

How long should you plan a trip to East Africa?

There is so much to see and do no matter where you are! We recommend that you go for at least eight days (not including flight times), if not longer, for a few different reasons.

First, depending on where you are coming from, the jet lag can be awful, so your body may need a few days to recover.

Second, you want to give yourself enough time to see and do everything in the area that you visit. It is never fun to feel rushed, so planning a more extended trip can help with this.

What do I need for a trip?

Besides all of your usual trip necessities, like clothing and toiletries, there are a few different must-haves when traveling in Africa:

  • Wet wipes: Some places don’t have running water, so wet wipes will ensure that your hands stay clean.
  • Sunscreen: The African sun is harsh; bring sunscreen to prevent a burn.
  • First aid kit: If you get any cuts or need any pain relievers, this will keep you covered.
  • Headlamp or flashlight: You will want this for getting around at night.
  • Bug spray: African bugs are like no other!
  • Hiking boots: No matter where you go in Africa, you are likely to do a lot of walking. A good pair of shoes will keep your feet happy.
  • Refillable water bottle: This is great for long safari days or sightseeing so that you do not have to keep buying plastic water bottles.

Best East Africa trips for 2023

Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater

Kick fire the imagination of your family with a stay on the ridges created by an ancient – and now extinct – volcano. One of the Great Rift Valley’s most awe-inspiring sights, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot, the Ngorongoro Crater protects around 25,000 individual animals within its 100 square mile area. This makes it one of the easiest places on the continent to spot must-see creatures from elephants to lions. Easily combined with a family safari to the Serengeti, which it neighbors, the Ngorongoro Crater also provides fascinating insights into the earliest days of humanity at Olduvai Gorge. Here, evidence of humans thought to date back two million years has been discovered. At the same time, the region’s Maasai pastoralist communities are also welcoming to those interesting in learning about their culture – from where the very name Ngorongoro originates.

How best to plan a trip to East Africa in 2023
Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Kenya’s Maasai Mara

Although it shares the Maasai culture of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, Kenya’s Maasai Mara is also distinct enough to deserve its own place on our selection of the best African safari destinations for families. From infrastructure to its diversity of wildlife, the Maasai Mara rivals any protected area on the continent. Direct flights to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are a regular occurrence from many departure countries. But the relatively small size of the Maasai Mara also means driving times in the reserve are reduced – a must for younger children with limited boredom thresholds.

On top of this, the Maasai Mara retains its crown as a Big Five safari destination, meaning it’s possible to catch sight of lion, elephant, leopard, Cape buffalo and rhino on game drives. Nor can the Mara’s vast ungulate herds be ignored, as the region plays host to the annual Great Wildebeest Migration of roughly two million animals.

Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest

If your children are hitting their teenage years, you might want to think about switching the traditional safari game drive experience for an even greater adventure. Head to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and anyone over the age of 15 has the option of tackling a trek in search of mountain gorillas.

Wild but habituated to the presence of humans, the gorilla families you will encounter are only separated by greenery and the expert knowledge of the ranger guides which will lead you. For an example of the importance of family, there’s probably no better natural attraction.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is an activity easily combined with vehicle-led safaris in search of the continent’s much-loved animal species. While Queen Elizabeth National Park is perhaps the best African safari destination for families in this grouping, we much prefer recommending the mix of wonders at Murchison Falls National Park. Here you can not only see a long list of animals, but also the River Nile squeezed through the rocks of Fajao Gorge.

Rwanda’s Akagera National Park

Rwanda’s Akagera is very much a national park on the rise. The reintroduction of rhinos to its expansive grasslands has made it one of the continent’s newest Big Five safari destinations. But what helps make it one of the best African safari destinations for families is a combination of factors.

For one thing, Rwanda is recognized (along with the other countries on this list) as a safe destination in Africa for international visitors, including those traveling with children. Towns and cities across the country are renowned for their cleanliness, whilst an excellent road infrastructure makes traveling domestically a dream. What’s more, there is another chance for that life-changing gorilla encounter at Volcanoes National Park, ensuring that heading to Rwanda does not have to mean missing out on that epic experience.

Traveling with the whole family can help to cement bonds and create memories everyone can enjoy for years to come. But for a successful family safari, you’ll want to stick to the best African safari destinations for families. Covering everything the continent has to offer, from Big Five game drives to mountain gorilla encounters and trips to the feet of magnificent waterfalls, traveling with the family doesn’t mean being limited on a choice of destination. Our family picks range from Kenya and Tanzania to Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa, with further suggestions in our guide to the best place for a safari.


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