During the colonial period of British in the Eastern Africa the only countries considered as part of east Africa were Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda but according to the geographical context Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia are also considered as part of East Africa.
Some parts of East Africa have been renowned for their concentrations of wild animals, such as the “big five” of elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and black rhinoceros, though populations have been declining under increased stress in recent times, particularly the rhino and elephant.
The geography of East Africa is often stunning and scenic. Shaped by global plate tectonic forces that have created the East African Rift, East Africa is the site of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, the two tallest peaks in Africa found in Kenya. It also includes the world’s second largest freshwater lake Lake Victoria divided among Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, and the world’s second deepest lake Lake Tanganyika found in the western border of Tanzania.
The climate of East Africa is rather atypical of equatorial regions. Because of a combination of the region’s generally high altitude and the rain shadow of the westerly monsoon winds created by the Ruwenzori Mountains and Ethiopian Highlands, East Africa is surprisingly cool and dry for its latitude.
Rainfall in East Africa is influenced by “El Niño” climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather pattern events, which tend to increase rainfall except in the northern and western parts of the Ethiopian and Eritrean highlands.
Temperatures in East Africa, except on the hot and generally humid coastal belt, are moderate.
The unique geography and apparent suitability for farming made East Africa a target for European exploration, exploitation and colonialization in the 19th Century. Today, tourism is an important part of the economies of the countries in the Eastern Africa.
According to the theory of the recent African origin of modern humans, the predominantly held belief among most archaeologists, East Africa is the area where anatomically modern humans first appeared.
Some of the earliest hominine skeletal remains have been found in the wider region, including fossils discovered in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia, as well as in the Koobi Fora in Kenya and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.
The southern part of East Africa was occupied until recent times by Khoisan hunter-gatherers, while in the Ethiopian Highlands the donkey and such crop plants as “Teff” allowed the beginning of agriculture around 7,000 B.C. Language distributions suggest that this most likely occurred from Sudan into the African Great Lakes region, since the Nilotic languages spoken by these Pre-Bantu farmers have their closest relatives in the middle Nile basin.