Having been born and raised in Kenya, I’ve the privilege of exploring the many vibrant corners of my own country, from the Mara to the Rift Valley to the gorgeous coast. I’ve also managed to catch a glimpse of Uganda and Tanzania, too. Cue the date, today – it’s Africa Day! While it remains that the COVID-19 Pandemic has put a lot of travel opportunities on hold, a bout of homesickness gave me the idea to look up – and share with you all – ways to experience the awesome corner of East Africa from your couch!
1: Visit this Online Exhibit to Find Out Why Kenya is the Cradle of Mankind
Turns out that Kenya has produced fossil evidence which tells almost the entire human evolutionary story, and it has a larger diversity of fossil human species remains than any other country in Africa. This exhibition – which you’ll find at the Nairobi National Museum, includes a bunch of incredible finds, including the famous Turkana Boy found by Kenyan archeologist Kamoya Kimeu, with Louis Leakey.
So yes, a huge part of human history is held inside a museum in Kenya’s capital. Head to this online exhibition by the Nairobi National Museum to find out more!
Ethiopian food is a gift to humankind, and I’m sure it’s no doubt that after watching this food tour with Mark Weins, you’re going to want to either order in some Ethiopian food, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, attempt to make some of your own – there are some easy-to-follow tutorials available online, such as from Ethiopian-Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson!
3: Listen to a Playlist Full of Tanzanian Jams
East Africans know that Tanzanian music is where it’s at. Genres such as Bongo Flava well originated here and have continued to influence the music scene not only across East Africa but the world over. If you need some jams to get you moving, check out this playlist full of Tanzanian jams.
You can even explore more of the East African music scene by browsing through Tangaza Magazine, which is very much dedicated to highlighting all the gorgeous tunes drifting out of this corner of the continent!
4: Watch this Short Documentary on the Work of the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Centre
East Africa is proud of its wildlife, and we must always support conservation efforts in any and every way possible. UWEC was formed in the 1950s as a refuge for injured and/or orphaned animals, and continues to be used as safe haven as well as learning centre for visitors to understand the importance of protecting our wildlife.
5: Be Transported to Juba with South-Sudanese Writer Stella Gaitano Adaya
What better way to travel than through words and tales of faraway places? As a writer, books give the opportunity to escape to different places.
This list of 5 Sudanese Books You Should Read is definitely worth a visit, and a standout writer from the list includes Stella Gaitano who has an interesting relationship with language. Her stories ‘are seared with the experience of dislocation…mothers struggling in the shantytowns surrounding the capital, drunken men, crime and violence are her territory. But so too is the tropical south with its papaya and wild buffalo. (Source ). Some of her short stories available online, and you can purchase her book of short stories, ‘Withered Flowers‘, for the full experience.
There is a lot of other gorgeous literature by other incredible writers from the African continent, but I won’t get into it lest I get carried away! (Worth doing some research on though!)
6: Check out some Stunning Images of Rwanda by these two Rwandan Photographers
7: Watch this Captivating Drone Footage Video of Sudan’s Nubian Pyramids
While pyramids often have one think of Egypt, there is equal worth in knowing and learning about the Nubian pyramids and the kingdoms surrounding their creation. The Meroë Pyramids are a collection of nearly 200 ancient pyramids built between 2700 and 2300 years ago by the Kushite Kingdoms. Architectural influences include that of Pharaonic Egypt, Rome, and Greece. (Source: The Forgotten Pyramids of Meroë). This drone video is breathtaking, and will certainly have you googling the ancient city that was.
8: More Drone Footage, of Kenya this time, to leave you ready to visit East Africa once travel is safe again!
Wow! Compiling this list has me missing home even more now, but it’s been super fun looking up ways to continue being in touch with my homeland.
But! This list barely scratches the surface. East & the greater East African Region is packed with 20 countries all rich and diverse in their culture, landscapes, food, traditions, and beauty. As a result, there’s only so much of it that can be experienced from your couch alone. However, I reckon it’s always worth inviting moments to learn about and enjoy what the world has to offer in these small ways.
Thinking of making this ‘travel from your couch’ into a little series as we navigate life while on lockdown. Where would you like to experience from your couch next? (Perhaps…New York?)
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