WHERE TO GO
In East Africa
Where to go on safari
The most crucial stage in planning your East Africa safari is usually choosing where to go. Nkuringo Safaris operates only in East Africa. Our main offices are located in Uganda, so we’re biased towards the destinations we understand quite well to give you the most memorable journey of your life. Two of the pioneer and most popular Africa safari destinations are found in East Africa. The other two offer the most accessible and most spectacular primates experience on the continent.
East Africa’s breathtaking landmarks range from snow-capped Kilimanjaro to the lava-spewing Virungas; from the oceanic expanses of lakes Victoria and Tanganyika to an endless succession of idyllic Indian Ocean beaches; from the arid plains of northern Kenya to the steamy rainforests of western Uganda.
Its cultural diversity embraces relict hunter-gatherers such as the Hadza and Batwa in southwestern Uganda highlands. The red-robed traditional pastoralists such as the Maasai and Samburu flourish in Kenya and Tanzania’s rift valley plains. The Arab-tinged Swahili of Zanzibar and Lamu show off a successful cultural unification of the late nineteenth century traders. The centralized medieval kingdoms of Uganda and the cosmopolitan modernity of cities such as Nairobi, Kigali, Kampala, and Dar es Salaam.
Above all, however, East Africa is renowned for its peerless wildlife concentrations, epitomized by the annual wildebeest migration across the Serengeti-Mara plains, and the million-strong flamingo flocks form a pink swathe around lakes Nakuru and Bogoria. And it’s not only the Serengeti: there’s also the immense Selous-Niassa ecosystem with its estimated 60,000 elephants, the buffalo-studded plains of Katavi, the antelope havens of Ruaha and Samburu, and the yawning hippos and armor-plated cross that swim in the Nile below Murchison Falls — not to mention the primate-rich rainforests that line the Congolese border, with their habituated mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. East Africa also remains one of the last places on earth where the immense mammal herds that once roamed our entire planet still exist in prehistoric numbers protected within a network of 100+ national parks and reserves.
Best time of year: Jun-Mar
Duration: 4-14 nights
Price: USD 2150 to USD 14150 per person
Uganda has the most accessible and captivating primate destinations.
Uganda is a land-locked East Africa destination in the west of Kenya, northwest of Tanzania, north of Rwanda, and east of DR Congo. Travelers chose Uganda for its intense mountain gorillas and chimpanzee trekking experiences. But it also contains excellent Rift Valley scenery and savannah safari reserves. Destination Uganda offers a wide range of accommodation choices from decent budget lodges and luxury lodges and camps.
Most safari travelers to Uganda stay for only a few nights for gorilla tracking, before heading off to other countries for their savanna safari, most commonly the Serengeti-Mara area. But Uganda is a rewarding single destination offering raw destination experiences that offering more privacy than other East African destinations. It’s in Uganda where only you could be on a savannah game drive without intrusion from other travelers.
Stay longer and properly explore the country’s most rewarding attractions. In the southwestern country, you can combine gorilla trekking and cultural experiences in Bwindi with chimpanzee tracking in Kibale and savannah game drives and boat safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Further north, stunning scenery and larger wildlife numbers in Murchison Falls NP and the superbly remote Kidepo Valley.
Safari in Uganda combines easily with safari and tropical beaches in Kenya and Tanzania, because of easy immigration and connecting flight logistics.
Best time of year: May-Nov
Duration: 4-14 nights
Price: USD 2100 to USD 20800 per person
Wildebeest Migration, Big Game Drives & Coastal Holidays.
Kenya, the pioneer safari destination, ranks highly as a leading Africa safari destination. It’s hard to talk about African safari without mentioning Kenya somehow. With the world’s most spectacular wildlife show showcasing every year, Kenya takes up the number two position right below Botswana, according to Safari Bookings, a giant online tours booking website.
Kenya is an excellent addition to gorilla trekking in the neighboring Uganda or Rwanda. But if you want to wander only around the savannah wild, the destination on its own is fulfilling. You don’t have to cross any borders and avoid the COVID-19 bureaucracy. The coastal beaches provide a perfect getaway vacation to end your safari.
Kenya is the original destination of the budget packaged safari. Despite efforts to improve this image in recent decades, most of the best-known reserves still have significant vehicle traffic and tonality issues in core areas, these days driven by demand from emerging markets in India and the Far East. However, quality Africa safari trips are still very much a possibility, especially in the network of peaceful private conservancies (e.g., Classic Kenya Luxury Safari).
The vast majority of travelers to Kenya visit the Maasai Mara to the southwest. Still, there are other quality safari areas to the southeast (Amboseli and Tsavo) and the north (Meru, Lewa, Samburu, Laikipia, Mathew’s Range). All these areas are connected by light aircraft, which makes for easy and relaxing safari trips.
By light aircraft between destinations, a safari in Kenya combines effortlessly with primates tracking in Uganda or Rwanda (See Mara & Gorillas in Uganda Safari) and tropical beaches on the East African coast.
Best time of year: Dec-Jan and Jun-Aug
Duration: 4-12 nights
Price: USD 3450 to USD 17800 per person
See mountain gorillas and experience culture
Surrounded by Tanzania, Burundi, DRC, and Uganda, Rwanda is a highly populous little country best known for its mountain scenery, tropical forests, mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and cultural interaction, plus some modest savanna safari.
Ignoring the tourist hordes that flock to the neighboring destinations, Rwanda has emerged as one of East Africa’s premier travel destinations. With a capital city transformed and world-renowned attractions which teem with wildlife and spectacular display of African culture, a Rwanda vacation trip is a perfect getaway-and-relax you might need after this fretful pandemic. Visit Rwanda and go gorilla trekking in one of the most revered rainforest jungles on planet earth.
Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s tourism jewel that makes a home to the mountain slopes’ gentle giants, the magnificent mountain gorillas. Thousands visit Rwanda every year to spend that once-in-a-lifetime hour with the great apes, and Nkuringo Safaris is proud to be a part of those precious moments.
This East African destination has a very deliberate strategy of low-volume high-cost tourism, with some lodges at the very top end of the price spectrum. If you’re looking for very high-quality, high-end lodges from which to go gorilla tracking, then Rwanda almost certainly the best option. There are few lower-end accommodation options, but by the time the cost of transport and permits are added, all trips to Rwanda tend to work out unavoidably pricey.
By Road, a safari in Rwanda combines easily with Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth NP for savannah game drives (e.g., Uganda & Rwanda Primate Safari). By light aircraft, Rwanda combines with big game safari and tropical beaches in Kenya and Tanzania (e.g., Photo Safari in Tanzania & Gorilla Adventure).
TANZANIA & ZANZIBAR
Best time of year: May-Mar
Duration: 4-12 nights
Price: USD 3150 to USD 21950 per person
Big Game Drives, Coastal Holidays, and Kilimanjaro Summit Climb
A Tanzania safari visits a virtual litany of Africa’s most evocative place names on the continent. Tanzania is a classic out of Africa remarkable destination, with an incredible share of Africa’s wildlife highlights, including Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, Selous, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Gombe Stream, Dar es Salaam, Kilwa, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi, the Rift Valley, the Maasai Steppe are some of the country’s most evocative places to visit.
Tanzania is the Africa safari destination you have always dreamed about: vast plains teeming with wild animals; rainforests alive with cackling birds and monkeys; Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak rising dramatically above the flat scrubland; colorful Maasai herding their cattle alongside herds of grazing wildebeest; perfect palm-lined beaches lapped by the clear warm waters of the Indian Ocean stretching as far as the eye can see.
Whether you chose to stick to the conventional Serengeti-Ngorongoro-Zanzibar tourist circuit, strikeout to the more offbeat likes of lakes Natron and Eyazi, visit the mysterious rock art of Kondoa, or track to the breathless peak of Kilimanjaro, a Tanzania safari will bring your dreams of Africa to life in unimagined experiences.
Tanzania also contains several remote reserves (Selous, Ruaha, Katavi), accessed by light aircraft, providing easy and pure safari experiences. The chimpanzee tracking in the very remote Mahale Mountains is the best primate experience in Africa. The gorilla areas in neighboring Uganda and Rwanda are also easily reachable.
Most importantly, Tanzania is the prime location for safari and tropical beach combinations, with a fantastic coastline centered on the island of Zanzibar.
By light aircraft, a safari in Tanzania combines effortlessly with Uganda and Rwanda gorilla trekking adventures (See Photo Safari in Tanzania & Uganda). It’s also one of the common East Africa destinations added to the tropical coastal holidays on Zanzibar island beaches.
The Best East African Safari Packages
Looking for inspiration to start planning your most anticipated East African Safari? Here’s a list of our top trending Africa safaris; romantic or honeymoon vacations, family or group holiday packages – all customizable in your way.