I have wanted to travel to East Africa for the longest time. I had heard so many good things about Rwanda, and Uganda held a special place in my heart when I was 15! Oh, and Zanzibar, why wouldn’t you go there? I travelled this year in May (2023), using Turkish Airlines for the first part of my initial tour. The flight stopped in Istanbul, Turkey, for just an hour and took approximately 10 hours.
The flight cost me roughly £654 using Skyscanner and Google Alert to track the best flight deal. It was the rainy season in East Africa, so flights were cheaper than during peak periods.
I visited Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania (Zanzibar) in just two weeks. Below is a travel food guide to everything I got up to.
Getting around in East Africa
I travelled to Kigali first via Turkish Airlines. Sign up for their air miles if you consider travelling with them. I did this after my trip to Turkey – you can then benefit from their miles as a member. My transfer from Rwanda to Uganda was by road. I then flew from Uganda to Zanzibar for my final country using Uganda Airlines (one of my favourite airlines – find out why here). This was my itinerary for flights:
- Arrive from London to Kigali – Five Days in Rwanda.
- Drive from Rwanda to Uganda – Five Days in Uganda.
- Fly from Uganda to Zanzibar – Six days in Tanzania (Zanzibar).
Pre-booking all your flights before you arrive and plan your hotels well in advance, preferably around the airports, for ease. Please note I travelled to these countries with cytravelconsult_
This is a good start if you want to travel around Africa. Please be mindful of flexibility and planning for the smoothness of your journey.
Rwanda is located in East Africa and is a landlocked country. It’s near the borders of countries like Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is relatively easy to cross borders depending on where and when you travel. Rwanda is also known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and the tragic history of the 1994 genocide.
Rwanda Entry requierment
If you travel to Rwanda, check the ‘Entry Requirements’ section for Rwanda’s current entry restrictions and requirements. British citizens do not need to pay for a visa to Rwanda. However, Americans, Canadians and Nigerians do need a visa. I recommend applying online before arrival. You can book your visas here. Here is what I got up to:
5-day itinerary for Rwanda
- Got my hair braided: If you need to get your hair done by @thehaircaretakers – tell her I sent you! I got myself some cute braids with a false finish. I have started getting my hair done a lot now since Nigeria.
- Rwandan cooking class: We made sweet potatoes, mixed cabbage, dodo, and cassava. You can check it out via my I.G. page. You can book this here.
- Visit Nyungwe National Park: which offers a range of activities, including canopay walking and attractions for nature enthusiasts and visitors interested in experiencing Rwanda’s natural beauty. N.B. You will need to take a COVID-19 test to ensure the wildlife is protected.
- Kigali Genocide Memorial: the most emotional memorial I visited, which shares the tragic history of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 while also emphasising the importance of preventing similar atrocities in the future.
- Kimironko Market: This is one of Kigali’s largest and most bustling markets. It offers various goods, including clothing, textiles, electronics, household items, etc.
What to eat in Rwanda
Rwanda is very interesting because the local food has to be located in very local areas. In many tourist areas, they don’t eat the local food. I found the Repub Lounge to be good for local Rwandan food.
If you would like to try traditional Rwandan dishes, you might find “isombe” (cassava leaves stew), “ibitoke” (grilled bananas), and “brochettes” (grilled skewers of meat) with chilli pepper (my fave). I have done a small food guide on Rwanda, which you can find here.
Travelling from Rwanda to Uganda
I suggest jetting off early, say around 6 a.m., for your trip to Uganda. In Rwanda, it’s about 2 hours to the border. You will then need to check if you need visas for your passport for the following location—a visa with a British passport, which I applied for online. You can book yours here.
Uganda has been formally known as the pearl of Africa. The country is a unique blend of natural wonders, cultural diversity, and warm hospitality, making it a captivating destination for travellers seeking adventure and cultural immersion in the heart of Africa.
Uganda Entry requierments
A Uganda visa is necessary for British/USA/Canadian citizens to enter the country. You can book your visa here. Things you will need:
- Yellow Fever Certificate
- Departure Flights
You may also be required to resize these documents for your online application. Once approved, you must print your approval certificate and take it to the border.
5-day itinerary for Uganda
- Transfer from Rwanda to Uganda: The first stop was Fort Portal City. You can stop at the Hot Springs Restaurant for lunch and view the hot springs. In the evening you can stay at the Nyaika Hotel.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park: Once you cross the border to Uganda, you can head to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
- Murchison Falls National Park: This was the trip’s highlight for me. It was booked with the tour guide, but you can book a tour here. I recommend staying at Murchison Falls Bamboo Village.
- Murchison Falls Game Drive with a boat cruise: You can book this 4-hour tour the following day – book here. I thoroughly enjoyed the boat cruise, and the game drive included lions, hippos, elephants and more.
- Arrive in Entebbe and have dinner at your hotel. I had talipa fish with fried plantain (I asked for it to be spicy) – 2 Friends Beach Hotel. Next morning, arrive at Entebbe International Airport if you want to travel to Zanzibar. The airline used was Uganda Airlines.
What to eat in Uganda
The Ugandan cuisine includes staples like starchy foods, meats, vegetables, and fruits. I thoroughly enjoyed the food in Uganda, my favourite being posho (made from maise flour) with tilapia fish. I loved the spice—a Rolex, not the watch. A Rolex in Uganda is a popular street food made by rolling chapati around eggs and vegetables, often with a savoury sauce.
Zanzibar is located off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is part of the East African country of Tanzania. It comprises two stunning islands, Unguja and Pemba. Zanzibar was an absolute dream filled with rich history, vibrant culture, and gorgeous beaches. I will certainly be returning.
Zanzibar entry requirements
Pretty much everyone needs a visa to enter Zanzibar. U.S., U.K., Australian and Canadian nationals must have a visa to enter Zanzibar.
The island shares the same visa policy as the rest of Tanzania. An eVisa can be secured online or at a port of entry, including Dar es Salaam, for $50-$100. For ease, I took a 50-dollar bill and kept it for the visa. If you are British and travelling to Zanzibar, I recommend checking the ‘Entry Requirements’ section for Rwanda’s current entry restrictions and requirements.
6-day itinerary for Tanzania (Zanzibar)
- The first day is for resting. You will be exhausted from travelling around Rwanda, Uganda, or your home location. Check into your hotel and spend the day enjoying its facilities. The hotel I stayed in is called Le Mersenne.
- Blue Safari: Here, you can snorkel and see the beautiful fishes in the deep blue sea. You will have lunch on this tour, a sumptuous seafood lunch buffet (get the lobster). Have dinner at the Rock Restaurant and order the lobster stew with rice and the Rock Cocktail. I did a review here, and you can book this tour here.
- Barak Aquarium: Spend the morning swimming with turtles. The entrance is around $10, and then spend the afternoon kayaking at Mnemba Island with clear boats. You can book the boats here.
- Visit a Spice Farm and cooking class: watch my review and book here.
- Explore Baldin Resort: It has the most transparent water and fish. You can also snorkel.
- Explore Stone Town: Stone Town is genuinely stunning. I felt like I was in Europe. When you are there, be sure to try Zanazibar Pizza. You can also book a walking tour here.
The second hotel I stayed in was the Cinnamon Hotel, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to stay there.
What to eat in Tanzania (Zanzibar)
The Tanzanian cuisine, including that of Zanzibar, is a delightful blend of flavours influenced by African, Indian, Arabic, and European culinary traditions. Some of my favourites were Zanzibari Pizza, the seafood, and Mandazi.
Some helpful resources for your travels:
- My Instagram page has detailed reels and guides on visiting the above-mentioned countries. I share tips on travelling to Africa here.
- I said I travelled with CyCyTravels, so I recommend going with them if you consider a group trip.
- Before going to any of these countries, I recommend visiting the Foreign Advice Page for U.K. travellers. Check if you need visas here.
- Book with Viator or Get Your Guide if you want specific tours. I did this for my Cooking Class on the last day.
- DIYWITHJOY has written a helpful e-book for Tanzania, so I recommend buying it if you go to Tanzania. You can purchase it here.
Final Days in East Africa
I thoroughly enjoyed being back in Nigeria and travelling through West Africa. It is now my mission to explore and see more of Africa. I want to change the narrative of Africa and show you how beautiful the continent is.
I can’t wait for the next time I am in Africa, and this time, I’d love to visit Seychelles, Tanzania and maybe Mauritius. Until then, this guide makes you want to travel to Rwanda, Uganda or Zanzibar, Tanzania.
I have a question: Would you be interested in group tours? If I considered group tours, would you be interested? Let me know.
Safe Travels. Love MBV X