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A botanic excursion in mountain forest.
Safari glossary
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On safari:
Other activities
You may combine a safari in Kenya or Tanzania with other activities, to explore more of what's offered in East Africa.

Beach holidays
The climate is fine for beach holidays, and many safari-goers add a few days or a week on the Indian Ocean coast to their tour. The main attraction of the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts are the long white beaches with palm trees and pleasant water temperatures. Different coastal activities are available, such as snorkelling, diving and fishing.

The most popular coastal areas in Kenya are found around Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu Island, and in Tanzania on Zanzibar and Pemba Islands. Some small towns or villages on the Tanzanian mainland, such as Pangani and Bagamoyo, offer quiet beach holidays in areas visited by fewer tourists.

Dependless of which travel company you book your safari with, adding a stay on the coast should be no problem.

More about the Kenyan coast
More about Zanzibar
More about Pangani

The East African coast is lined with reefs, offering good opportunities for diving and snorkelling. The water is fairly clear to clear, and there are reefs, shipwrecks and caves to explore. Many dive centres are found along the coast.

The main diving areas in Kenya are Watamu, Vipingo, Kilifi and Bamburi north of Mombasa, and Tiwi Beach, Diani Beach, Galu and Shimoni south of Mombasa. These places have dive clubs that arrange CMAS courses and dive tours, including cave and night diving.

In Tanzania, good dive sites are found north of Dar es Salaam and on Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia Islands. Especially Pemba is known among divers, offering the best ocean diving in East Africa.

Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi (or Lake Nyasa) in inland Tanzania have huge numbers of endemic cichlids. Diving is possible, but these lakes are off the beaten track and getting there ususally requires a tailored tour.

Dive boat by Mnemba Island off north-eastern Zanzibar.

Deep sea fishing
Boats for deep sea fishing may be chartered along most parts of the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts, offered by local captains or fishing clubs. Some beach resorts have their own boats.

Big game fish is found in these parts of the Indian Ocean, including marlin, tuna, sharks and sailfish. Some boats do night fishing for broadbill. On less ambitious tours, mainly just fishing outside the local reef, barracudas are a typical catch.

In Kenya, fishing boats capable of longer tours can be chartered in Diani Beach, the Mombasa area, Mtwapa, Malindi and Watamu. Small boats for fishing locally may be booked around virtually any hotel along the coast. In Tanzania, most fishing tours start from Pemba and Zanzibar Islands, from where you can fish the Pemba Channel, which is a prime area for big marlin. Once again, boats may be found at most hotels. Some, like Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel on the northern tip of Zanzibar, offer ambitious fishing and have their own well-equipped boats.

The high season starts in November and continues into February or March. The fare for a good boat, including equipment, may be USD 500–600. Make sure that the boat operator and boat are insured, and (if you take fishing seriously) associated with IGFA or the local national game fishing association.

Freshwater fishing
Some lodge in Masai Mara in Kenya offer flights to Lake Victoria for Nile perch fishing, and some hotels in the Aberdare and Mount Kenya area, among these Outspan Hotel and the Aberdare Country Club, offer local trout fishing. Lake Turkana in northern Kenya also has interesting fishing, but it's a very remote area, far from the safari circuits. Going there takes tailoring your tour.

In Tanzania, you may fish for tiger fish in the Rufiji River when visiting Selous Game Reserve, or visit Lake Victoria for fishing Nile perch.

Kilimanjaro seen from Arusha National Park.

Mountain climbing
Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania is Africa's highest mountain (5,895 m/19,340 ft), and attracts many climbers. Also Kenyan Mount Kenya (5,199 m/17,057 ft), second highest in Africa, can be climbed. Both are easy to access and are surrounded by national parks popular with trekkers and hikers, not climbers only. Mount Meru (4,566 m/14,980 ft) just outside Arusha is another such mountain, but has fewer visitors than those above and a steeper peak than nearby Kilimanjaro.

Climbing these mountains is mainly a matter of walking, not actual climbing, but the altitude makes it a really hard task. Altitude sickness is a common problem, and deaths do occur. Most of these are from medical/health problems, but accidents also happen.

Kilimanjaro is the most popular climbing destination, and most travel companies can add a one-week climb to your safari, even after safaris in Kenya; there are frequent flights from Nairobi in Kenya to Kilimanjaro International Airport. To climb Mount Kenya or Mount Meru, or to go trekking in any of these mountain areas, you probably have to tailor a tour. Any travel company specialized in East Africa should be able to do this for you.

Mountain walks
At lower altitudes, the mountains mentioned above are covered with montane forests. There are routes for walking, scenery and, if you are lucky, some wildlife to enjoy. You may be able to walk from the park gate up to the tree line (at approximately 3,000 m/10,000 ft) and back in a day tour.

Horse riding
Horse riding is offered by some lodges/ranches for example around Lake Naivasha in Kenya, in the Kenyan central highlands, around Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and in a game reserve bordering Tanzanian Serengeti National Park. You may stay in these lodges to do horseback day tours, or go for proper horseback safaris over a number of days, camping en route.

Kenya offers some good golfing, mainly around Nairobi and along the coast, and you may combine it with a safari. There are some 35 courses in the country. Most are 9 holes, but there are also a dozen 18-hole courses, half of these within a half-hour drive radius from Nairobi. Some lodges are set next to courses, for example Aberdare Country Club, Mount Kenya Safari Club, and Windsor Golf and Country Club, the latter in Nairobi.

In Kenya, you usually play with a caddie. Some courses are found at altitudes above 1,500 m/4,900 ft, which is said to add 10 % to your drive. To the length, that is, not to precision...

To play golf, you may need to tailor your tour, unless you want to play on nearby courses during a beach holiday on the Kenyan coast. There are also some local travel companies specialized in combining safaris and golf.

Tanzania has fewer courses. Arusha has a 9-hole course, where you may also rent equipment. Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, a nice lodge halfway between Arusha and Kilimanjaro International Airport, has its own 9-hole course, with views of both Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru.

Getting married
How about marrying in a romantic and memorable setting such as among the seaside palms by the Indian Ocean, or under the starry skies of the African bush?

African wedding ceremonies are offered by local hotels and resorts, and can be booked together with your tour to East Africa (you probably have to book with a company specialized in East Africa). Just be aware that such ceremonies may not be legally valid in your home country; you may also have to visit a wedding officiant at your country's embassy or high commission to make the marriage abroad legal.

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Page updated 27 April 2013