About East Africa

Tourism in East Africa

The East African Tourism Block requires that all visitors entering East Africa be in possession of a valid international certificate against smallpox. When leaving East Africa, a similar document is also required.  As a precautionary measure, malaria prophylactic medicine should be handy, just incase one passes through a malarial zone – although in recent years only few areas in East Africa Tourism Block as classified as malarial zone by World Health Organization. That said, East Africa Community is in point of fact as healthy as anywhere in the world.

The better-known East Africa Community Tourism Block is comprised of three countries – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – which collectively cover a gross area of 1,768,768 km2 (Kenya 582,644 km2, Uganda 241,037 km2 and Tanzania 945,087 km2).  East Africa lies almost in the centre of Africa and the equator runs through both Kenya and Uganda.  On East Africa’s northern boundary lies the highland of Ethiopia (the most elevated plateau in Africa), the semi-deserts of Somalia, and the low-lying plains of the Sudan.  On the west lies the Congo.  To the south lie Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.  On the east the coasts are lined by Indian Ocean. Zanzibar (Unguja) Island is the main island of Tanzania. To put the size of East Africa Community Tourism into perspective, it’s almost seven times the size of England, Wales and Scotland; or is nearly a quarter the size of the United States.  East Africa is globally famous for its eccentric wildlife displays and extremely vast topography which ranges from high plateaus, snow-capped mountains, deserts and of rolling scapes.  East Africa also has some of the largest lakes in the world, notably Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake and Lake Tanganyika. Of the five mountains in Africa whose peaks rise over 14,000 feet, its only three permanently snow-capped are found in East Africa – Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Kenya (Kenya) and the Ruwenzoris (on the border between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo). They were first climbed in that order – Kilimanjaro being first in 1888, Kenya second in 1889, and the Ruwenzoris in 1906. The East Africa Community is the leading touring destination in Sub-Saharan Africa, with steady growth as a regional destination.

Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. Published by Chris Austria

Brief History of East African Community: Part II

The base idea of the “the East African common market” was mooted in the late 19th century, over half a century before any of its state gained independence, to have a centralized government system that would cater for the common good of the member states; Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The first luminary behind the aim of an East African Community would be Frederick John Dealtry Lugard, 1st Baron Lugard (or more proper Frederick Lugard) who served at the time as the Secretary for the Colonies in England. As the British Empire sought to establish new markets and sources of materials in Africa, Lugard considered the outcome of a federation of Eastern Africa would bring more good than harm for all the interests. This idea was not a difficult task because the three East African states had been of primary interest as an object of integration policy to the British for over a century. The practicability of the idea of a link-up did not, however, make headway up until 1926, with the development of an official system for common agreements. Hence, a legally binding cooperation bound the relations between the states of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Predictably, the 1920’s had become a headache for policy makers, as they sought to answer the vexed question of a suitable system. The travails and complexity in enforcing the system included the uncomfortable issue of opposing sides of those favouring settler interest and those in favour of the Africans. “The underlying discussion was divided among: Those who favoured the settlers and saw the need for a closer cooperation of the territories on the presumption that this would be a prerequisite on relaxing the grip that the British had on the colonies; with those who voiced their concern to safeguard interests of the Africans fearing that a closer association between the territories would give leverage to the settlers who would end up dominating the key positions. To this effect a commission was delegated, which concluded that forming a federation was unwelcome for all practical reasons.” – Lily N. Njenga

The amazing Royal drummers at Gishora Drum Sanctuary