The eastern countries of the African continent are called East Africa, with different geographical or geopolitical definitions.
The geographical definition includes the region roughly east of the Nile or east of the East African Rift. A restricted definition limits East Africa to the area east of the East African Rift between Ethiopia and the Rovuma River, which includes the countries Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. Sometimes parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Sudan are added.
The geographical area of East Africa shows great cultural heterogeneity. Even if one can refer to a representative, homogeneous cultural tradition on the coast, the Swahili social form, which was influenced by Eastern Arabia and India, the most diverse ethnic groups cavort in the coastal hinterland in a very small area. In addition to the Ostbantu, there are also descendants of the Cushites, Nilots and San, the so-called Bushmen. Even if the Swahili coastal society has long since passed its heyday, Swahili as a language is the dominant medium in the area, especially around the great lakes.
As of December 2017, the following 22 states and territories under East Africa are listed under the Eastern Africa region in the UN statistics department:
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- French Southern and Antarctic Lands
- South Sudan
East African Community
The East African Community is a form of economic integration of the East African countries – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi with the aim of an economic and customs union.
In the case of East Africa, tour operators often only refer to the safari areas of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania due to the tourist interest.