Travel to East Africa

Travel to East Africa
The East African nations of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti might be overshadowed by their southern neighbors, but the countries here still have much to offer in terms of outdoor adventures. The parks of Ethiopia are excellent, and rival anything found in places like Kenya or Tanzania. Meanwhile, Djibouti and Eritrea present challenging and arid terrain in places that are seldom visited by even the most adventurous. These places have a lot of potential, but going there requires some preparation and planning. Somalia, on the other hand, is dangerous and should be avoided.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport Anti-malarial medication Mosquito repellent Water treatment kit
  • Passport
  • Anti-malarial medication
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Water treatment kit
Step 1
Avoid Somalia. The country is more or less in a state of lawless anarchy, the U.S. does not even maintain an Embassy there, and the Department of State actively recommends against going.
Step 2
Expect travel in Djibouti and Eritrea to be hard, as tourist facilities and infrastructures are limited or non-existent. Those two will present you with some true, rough travel adventure if that is what you are looking for. Ethiopia is the easiest country in East Africa through which to travel.
Step 3
Get your visas for Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti prior to leaving the United States. Visa on arrival is a spotty issue for Ethiopia, while Eritrea and Djibouti do not issue them at all. Specific requirements for tourist visas will vary, but start this process by checking your passport. You will need at least six months validity remaining from the time of your arrival, plus at least five blank pages to accommodate all the visas and stamps your passport will accumulate on a full tour of East Africa.
Step 4
Get your shots, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. For any of the three East African countries that are safe to visit, you will need boosters for measles/mumps/rubella, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus and the polio virus, as well as vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies. Visitors to western Djibouti and Ethiopia should also get vaccinations for meningococcal disease. Much of Ethiopia has a yellow fever problem, so visitors there should get that shot too.
Step 5
Get a prescription to an effective anti-malarial, such as atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Note that not all anti-malarials are effective against the strains present in East Africa. Malaria is a serious problem in all low-altitude areas in the region.
Step 6
Exercise proper anti-mosquito precautions. This is your first line of defense against malaria, and your only line of defense against insect-borne dengue fever, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and river blindness. Buy a bottle of deep woods, concentrated mosquito repellent before leaving the U.S., and apply it meticulously. Bug repellent in the U.S. can have up to 98 percent DEET, which is much higher than is commonly available elsewhere in the world. It might cause skin irritation, but it will keep the biting bugs away.
Step 7
Consider all water that isn't bottled to be suspect. Exercise proper water treatment when using local sources, even from the tap. This should include a disinfecting stage (boiling, iodine, or chlorine treatment) following by a purification stage using a carbon filter.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.