East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa, is the eastern subregion of the African continent. In the United Nations Statistics Division scheme of geographic regions, 10-11-(16*) territories make up Eastern Africa.
Due to the historical Omani Empire and colonial territories of the British East Africa Protectorate and German East Africa, the term East Africa is often (especially in the English language) used to specifically refer to the area now comprising the three countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. However, this has never been the convention in many other languages, where the term generally had a wider, strictly geographic context and therefore typically included Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
Some parts of East Africa have been renowned for their concentrations of wild animals, such as the "big five": the elephant, buffalo, lion, black rhinoceros, and leopard, though populations have been declining under increased stress in recent times, particularly those of 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. It also includes the world's second largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria, and the world's second deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika.
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 Rwenzori Mountains and Ethiopian Highlands, East Africa is surprisingly cool and dry for its latitude. In fact, on the coast of Somalia, many years can go by without any rain whatsoever. Elsewhere the annual rainfall generally increases towards the south and with altitude, being around 400 mm (16 in) at Mogadishu and 1,200 mm (47 in) at Mombasa on the coast, whilst inland it increases from around 130 mm (5 in) at Garoowe to over 1,100 mm (43 in) at Moshi near Kilimanjaro. Unusually, most of the rain falls in two distinct wet seasons, one centred on April and the other in October or November. This is usually attributed to the passage of the Intertropical Convergence Zone across the region in those months, but it may also be analogous to the autumn monsoon rains of parts of Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Brazilian Nordeste.