East Africa’s best wildlife spots : It would take the better part of a year to thoroughly explore all of the national parks, game reserves, and other protected areas in East Africa, so here are the highlights. Savannah reserves the size of a small European country. Tiny community-protected enclaves of swampland or rainforest.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Serengeti National Park came in first place on a list of Africa’s top 50 travel experiences published in the magazine Travel Africa. It is famous for the millions-strong herds of wildebeest and zebra that pass through its grassy plains each year during their yearly migration.
The annual wildebeest migration over the Serengeti is renowned. Reasonably so. Simply put, this is Africa’s finest reserve. It is an endless sea of koppie-studded grassland that is home to incredible densities of ungulates as well as predators. In fact, it is not uncommon to see lions, leopards, cheetahs, servals, spotted hyenas, bat-eared fox, and several jackal and mongoose species all in the same day. The Serengeti is so large that the only area where there is a noticeable sensation of congestion is the southeasterly plains centered on Seronera Lodge (which, incidentally, is one of the top three locations in East Africa for leopard sightings).
Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania.
Hemingway praised Lake Manyara National Park’s location as “the loveliest in Africa” and it is located on the floor of the Rift Valley. Its 330km2 size makes it the prototypical “grower”; few game drives safaris can match to a few hours in the Serengeti, but prolonged exposure gives you the impression that anything could be around the next bend here more than anywhere else in Tanzania.
Climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park are the wonderful creatures found in the park that attracts various tourists in the park. The elephant population in Tanzania is among the most heavily tusked and least agitated, and the famed tree-climbing lions are frequently spotted engaging in arboreal activity.
Maasai Mara, Kenya.
Kenya is a fascinating safari place to visit, with a manageable yet varied range of tourist sites that may be experienced in as much luxury or adventure as you like. The majority of first-time tourists focus on a south-central circuit that includes the Maasai Mara, Kenya’s most well-known game reserve and the one that purists love to despise.
Fair enough, compared to most of its competitors, the Mara (as it is commonly known) does attract a lot of tourists, but for the very good reason that no other East African reserve safeguards such game densities. The wildebeest migration from Tanzania crosses the Mara River during the optimum travel months of July through October, providing tourists with unparalleled views of these manically braying, croc-dodging animals.
The Maasai Mara is an excellent predator reserve. However, the reserve is home to an abundance of wildlife safari all year long, including numerous buffalo, zebra, and several antelope, as well as a healthy population of elephants and a few extinct black rhinos. Above all, the Mara is an excellent reserve for predators, especially cheetah, spotted hyena, and prides of 20 or more lion, who are very accustomed to humans and are therefore simple to see and capture on camera.
Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya.
Due to its concentrations of up to two million flamingos, an aerial display to rival the Mara’s wildebeest migration, Lake Nakuru National Park preserves the most famous of the string of lakes that borders the Rift Valley west of Nairobi.
Flamingos are a prominent feature of Lake Nakuru National Park. Nakuru is a wonderfully stunning location that is encircled by hills and bordered by yellow fever trees, especially when viewed from the nearby cliffs where the individual flamingos combine into a solid shimmering pink ribbon dividing the alkaline lake from its bleached rim. This park, which is completely fenced in, serves as a crucial refuge for creatures on the verge of extinction and is a great area to see both types of rhino and the Rothschild’s giraffe.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.
Mountain gorilla tracking safari at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which safeguards almost half of the endangered animal’s global population, is the main attraction of most tourists’ trips to Uganda.
The finest spot in Africa to find gorillas may be Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. However, Bwindi is home to more than just gorillas. The wide paths surrounding the park’s administrative centre provide excellent opportunities for forest birding. Many of the park’s 20 Albertine Rift endemics can be seen there in the company of an experienced local guide, along with dozens of butterfly species and specific forest mammals like the enormous yellow-backed duiker and charming L’Hoest’s monkey. The sole non-Congolese location for the sought-after African green broadbill is Mubwindi Swamp, which is located further into the park. It is also the preferred hangout for the park’s sparse population of forest elephants.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.
With over 600 species listed on its species checklist, Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is likely the most ecologically varied reserve in all of Africa, surpassing many reserves ten times its. One of East Africa’s greatest birding safari destinations, Queen Elizabeth National Park, is a home to a colony of red-throated bee eaters. The launch trip down the hippo-infested Kazinga Channel, chimpanzee tracking safari in the forested Kyambura Gorge, searching for tree-climbing lions on the southerly Ishasha Plains, and the lush crater lakes and million-strong bat colony in the Maramagambo Forest are some of the popular safari highlights of this fantastic park that would take you a full week to fully explore.
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park, the setting of the movie Gorillas in the Mist and the site of Dian Fossey’s renowned gorilla habituation and anti-poaching initiative, is Rwanda’s most well-known tourist safari destination. It is also a very memorable site, guarding the higher slopes of the Virungas, a chain of free-standing volcanic mountains whose intimidating slopes rise imperiously to above 4,000m and are covered in enormous bamboo clumps and montane forest.
The most emotional and eerie wildlife safari experience in the world is probably gorilla tracking, according to Photodynamic and Shutter stock.
With about 96 permits issued daily, gorilla tracking, arguably the most moving and harrowing wildlife experience in the world, is the main activity here. Photographic opportunities are typically better than in Uganda because the gorillas frequently hang out in the open bamboo zone rather than the shadowy forest depths.
Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda.
The Nyungwe Forest National Park, the largest remaining montane forest in East Africa, covers a succession of mountains as it runs south to the Burundi border, spanning an area of more than 1,000 km2. With troops of up to 400 Ruwenzori colobus easily found close to the park headquarters, as well as a dozen other species present, such as L’Hoest’s, red-tailed, Dent’s, and silver monkeys, as well as an estimated 500 chimpanzees, it has few rivals in terms of primate richness.