Africa is most known for its tourist attractions and natural expositions; wildlife, landforms, and other geographical as well as the continent’s historical sites and diverse cultures. South Africa is the most visited African country by tourists, which is best known for the wildlife conservation centres situated there alongside other attractions. Although, the South Africa tourist industry is one of the top beneficiaries from African tourism, other parts of the continents also still earn well from the industry as they have major tourist attractions.
The eastern part of Africa also plays roles in the development of the African tourism industry. Eastern Africa constitutes over 20 territories/ countries. It has many tourist centres and point of attractions. East African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda are all major contributors to the worth of the African tourism industry. Tourism contributes over 10 percent to Kenya’s GDP; Tourism is the nation’s second revenue source after agriculture. This depicts that they have attractive tourist centres while Tanzania is the biggest player in the industry earning over USD 2 billion a year. Rwanda and Uganda are not isolated too; Rwanda and Ugandan tourist centres are worth USD 317 million and USD 1.1 billion respectively.
After a completed survey in 2015, Uganda recorded the highest number of tourist visitors, 1,303,00, while Kenya followed with 1,114,100 tourists also and Tanzania and Rwanda with 1,104,00 and 987,000 respectively. These are impressive numbers, and some of these are yet to fully actualise their tourism industries probably because they have other major sources of revenue. What are these attractive sites that attract tourists to these parts of the continent? There are many points of interests in these countries, but the popular ones are the main perpetrators in attracting tourists.
Popular tourist destinations in East Africa:
The Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
This wildlife conservation centre is situated in Kenya and is recognised as one of Africa’s safari destination. The diversity in wildlife is a major pointer in this tourist centre. This reserve is one of the major contributors to the country’s GDP.
Tourist savour watching herds cross Mara river and the cultural exhibition of the Maasai resident is another major highlight of this reserve. The big five; the African lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo and rhino, could be both seen in a day especially in the dry seasons when there is a major migration occurrence of the wild beasts.
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Located within the Virunga Mountains, in the deep vegetation region of Rwanda lies the Volcanoes National Park. It is the oldest national park in Africa and is most famous because of the critically endangered mountain gorillas situated in the park. These gorillas are subspecies of wider ranges of Eastern gorillas; there still exist over 800 of these creatures.
Other creatures of rare species can also be found in the park as well as 29 different species of bird.
This tourist centre which is located off coast region of Tanzania is most known for its beaches. It is surrounded by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. This was once a trade route for the island Arab rulers that trade spices.
Stone Town is also one of its biggest side attractions boasting ornate houses, mosques and ancient Sultan palaces. The white-sand beaches are ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Kibale National Park, Uganda
This is also another park, conserving evergreen rain forest. It is popularly known for the different primate species that live in the park; monkeys, chimpanzees’ etc. The Kibale forest has the highest abundance of primates.
With over 200 species of trees in the park, there are rainforest plants that thrive in the park that serve as food to these primates too. Trees including pollia condensata, Cordia millenii and so more. It’s a conservation centre for wildlife and plants.
East Africa still has a lot of tourist points of interests which are yet to get prominence and popularity as these, that’s because the tourism industry is still undergoing development. It is expected that some of these East-African countries would fully depend on their cultural and natural heritages as revenue soon.
Some selected readings
Mungai, E. (2017, June 1.) Lesson for East Africa: In tourism, the race is not to the swift. Retrieved January 21, 2018, from the Web
African Development Bank. (2016, January 1.) Africa Tourism Monitor 2015: Tourism in Africa is on the rise, but has not yet reached its full potential. Retrieved January 21, 2018, from the Web
Zijlma, A. (2017, July 17.) A Top Ten List of East Africa’s Best Travel Destinations. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from the Web