What are the East African Countries and what to do in them?

by Pilar Dujan | August 31, 2023
The beauty of the East African countries

Traveling to the East African countries of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda has a unique advantage: instead of having to apply for three individual visas, you can apply online for just one: the East African visa. 

This travel authorization will let you enter each of these East African nations without having to go to the trouble and expense of having three separate visas. 

But it’s good to discover a bit more about the East African countries before traveling as they will be much different than what you’re accustomed to. Here’s a roundup of the important information you will need to visit these East African countries.

Map of East African countries

Map of East African countries

This map shows the East African region included in the East African visa: Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. The neighboring country of Burundi is also shown.

In the southern corner of the map you can see northern Tanzania, but this East African nation is not featured in the visa.

What are the countries in East Africa?

The list of East African countries could see some changes according to exactly what you’re talking about. The geographical East African countries actually make up two different regions: what’s known as East Africa (consisting of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) and the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia).

However, the East African countries included in the visa are only Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. More countries are expected to join but that hasn’t happened yet. 

What can you do in each of the East African countries?

The countries in East Africa provide an exotic mixture of adventure, scenery, and history for tourists. Each of the East African countries requiring the East African Visa has its own unique charm and they are all well worth a visit in their own right. These are some of the places you should visit in the East African countries.

Kenya

If you are looking for the best and most authentic safari experience, then Kenya should certainly top your list. The Masai Mara National Reserve will feel like watching the National Geographic Channel in real life.

If you are lucky and plan your trip accordingly, you may be able to witness the Great Migration wherein thousands of zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles migrate to and from the Serengeti, a national park in Tanzania.

If you’re just traveling to Kenya and don’t want to apply for the East African visa, you’ll still have to apply for the Kenya eVisa.

Other Things to do

  • David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
  • Amboseli National Park
  • African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Ltd
  • Diani Beach
  • Mount Kenya
  • Karura Forest

Want to get to know Kenya a little better? Here are our suggestions for interesting articles about the country:

  • It’s important to stay informed about the weather in Kenya so you don’t travel uncomfortably.
  • Get all the important information for enjoying a safari in Kenya. It’s one of the main reasons to visit! 
  • There are so many beautiful cities in Kenya. Add your favorites to your travel itinerary.

giraffes eating at sunset in East African countries

Rwanda

East African country Rwanda has a controversial past; however, the country is moving forward peacefully and welcomes tourism. The country has since recovered and become a beacon of hope for other countries following similar situations.

They have used their troubled history to remind them to never allow for such tragedy to happen again. If you are going to visit Rwanda, aside from the bustling stall markets, the Genocide Memorial must-see. Travelers have said that it is one of the most moving places they have ever visited.

Almost every traveler going to Rwanda is going to need a Rwanda tourist visa.

Other things to do in Rwanda:

  • Volcanoes National Park
  • Inema Art Center
  • Nyamata Church

Learn more about Rwanda with the following articles (although there are a lot more that could interest you!):

Lake and hills in Rwanda

Uganda

Uganda used to be in the global spotlight because of Joseph Kony. Since then, the country has become one of the East African countries to watch.

Popularly known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is home to lush green landscapes, rainforests, and majestic scenery. To immerse yourself in the Ugandan experience, overnight camping in the Mabira Forest is a must-do with your travel companions. Aside from the beautiful nature, the forest is also known for eerie stories that will add a thrilling element to your experience.

Don’t forget that if you don’t need the East African visa, you’ll still need to fill the Uganda visa application before traveling.

Other things to do in Uganda:

  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: the starting point for the gorilla trekking Uganda.
  • Gaddafi National Mosque
  • Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Sipi Falls 

For more information about this East African country, you can read the following articles:

  • Traveling to Uganda tips: you will find advice ranging from how to stay connected to the internet to how to successfully camp in the African savannah, and much more!
  • Our Uganda travel guide. Discover the history, traditions, food and more of this East African gem.
  • A comprehensive guide about the weather in Uganda so you can pick the perfect time for your trip.