Essential East Africa

A bushland safari may qualify as the trip of a lifetime, but it need not drain your life-long savings. Our travel expert leads you down the low-cost path to the animal-dense African promise land—the Masai Mara, the Serengeti, Kilimanjaro.
East Africa Travel
Africa's Ceiling: Mount Kilimanjaro, the third highest mountain in the world, looms over Tanzania's Kilimanjaro National Park. (Corbis)
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In the scheme of global travel, it comes down to this: Until you experience East Africa your travel journal will be woefully incomplete. Sure, you've heard the gushing African tales—the call-of-the-wild epiphanies, those Great Migration and Big Five wildlife encounters, the giddiness of topping Mount Kilimanjaro... And if you've never ventured to Kenya and Tanzania, you’re left wondering: Is it really that profound? Quite simply, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

All you need are open eyes and a willing heart for East Africa to get into your blood like an addictive drug. It is the greatest show on earth, where the natural rhythm of life and death has played out since the dawn of time. Africa is about the breathless anxiety of watching a cheetah make a high-speed kill. It's seeing marching elephants disappear into the horizon as if they had an appointment with destiny. It's hearing a lion's baritone roar that reawakens a primal apprehension embedded in our ancestral DNA.

Indeed, if you're obsessed with the safari lifestyle, East Africa can be khaki and critters 24/7. Nothing wrong with that. But many travelers also check out the other diverse elements of this geographically rich region. Call it the "Essential East Africa," a trifecta that peruses key wildlife parks, checks out surrounding Masai tribal villages, and has you taking a shot at Mount Kilimanjaro. Then, for the suppressed hedonist in you, me—geez, all of us—why not tack on Zanzibar for some down time on its sugary island sands?



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