Central East Africa

Central East Africa

Famed for its striking scenery and abundant natural wildlife, Africa's comparatively lush east coast is a fascinating destination in its own right. Home to the African Great Lakes countries of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, this diverse landscape is a great place to spot endangered wildlife and the two tallest mountains in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.

Discover the exotic east coast of Africa with a great cruise deal today.

Destination Overview

Although tourism in Central East Africa tends to focus on three main countries - Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda – according to a range of geographical and geopolitical definitions, Africa’s expansive east coast can actually include up to 20 different territories.

Mountainous in its interior and boasting pristine Indian Ocean beaches on its coastal fringes, Central East Africa is home to more than 80 national parks and reserves, the spectacular freshwater lakes of Victoria and Tanganyika and Africa’s 'Big Five' – the elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.

Swahili is native to the Great Lakes Region and along with English, is the official language of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. It's also the lingua franca of the region at large, although Portuguese and French are also widely understood.

  • Currency - Tanzanian Shilling (TZS), Ugandan Shilling (UGX), Kenyan Shilling (KES) and others
  • Population - Approx. 127 million
  • Time Zones - UTC+3

Did you know..?

Africa's east coast contains some of the oldest fossilised human remains in the world?

Who goes there?

Oceania, APT, Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Voyages of Discovery all offer luxury cruise itineraries to the ports of eastern Africa.

MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, and Holland America Line also offer port calls to the east coast of Africa throughout their Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and world-sector cruise itineraries.

Best time to go?

The main cruising season for the east coast of Africa is between November and March. The weather is mostly cool and dry over this period, ensuring a comfortable climate for cruise travel.

It's also easier to spot the Big Five around January and February, as wildlife tends to congregate around the watering holes which have survived into the dry season - but you will need to get up early to see them, as the midday sun can get extremely hot, even for the animals.


There are plenty of highlights to take in on a cruise to Central East Africa, with its abundant local wildlife and spectacular scenery.

  • Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, is the largest port on Africa’s so-called 'Coral Coast' and is renowned for its sun-kissed beaches, fragrant spice markets and its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Stone Town
  • A staple of Kenyan tourism, Mombasa is Kenya's second-largest city and one of its most exotic. Its beaches are superb and the town boasts a cosmopolitan port city vibe
  • Lying immediately west of Central East Africa, the Seychelles are considered some of the most beautiful islands in the world, making them an ideal cruise holiday destination.

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