The pontoniinid shrimp fauna of central East Africa, -Kenya and Tanzania, is summarized. One hundred and thirty-four species, of thirty-six different genera are recorded, of which sixty-seven species are reported for the first time and twenty-one species are newly recorded from the Indian Ocean. The available information on the associated host animals of these commensal shrimps, in East African waters, is provided. The incidence of commensalism in the subfamily and its distribution among the different invertebrate host types, is outlined and the fauna of East Africa is compared with that reported from other localities in the Indo-West Pacific region. The East African fauna shows almost double the number of species found in the Indonesian-Philippine region, often considered the dispersal centre of the Indo-West Pacific shallow-water marine fauna.