Discover Uganda the Pearl of Africa!
About Uganda- the history, people and wildlife
Uganda is a country of many interesting activities. The landscapes, crater lakes, wildlife and the mountain Gorillas add to the beauty of this country.
Uganda is indeed African. It is largely lush green and home to the friendliest people on the continent.
Political instability and the shadow of Idi Amin have long hindered Uganda’s tourism sector. The situation is now normal.
Therefore the future is bright for this east African nation known as “the pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill.
The moment you arrive in Uganda, the impression that you get is one of rich natural diversity, friendly people and a cultural scene.
Much of the urban life takes place in the capital city Kampala, a few kilometers from Lake Victoria.
Most foreigners stay in the city center or the diplomatic quarters of Naguru and Kololo. It is worth venturing into the bustling bars and clubs of Kabalagala. This where expats and locals meet for a beer and game of pool.
Jinja lies east of Kampala and the banks of the River Nile has made it a favorite place for adventure with water rafting, horse riding and Bungee Jumping.
To the west towards the Congo border, the national parks, fascinating landscapes, wildlife and the pygmy people reveal Uganda’s natural wonders.
Seeing the Wildlife
A popular spot for wildlife watching is Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is home to 4 of the Big Five, flamingos and the rare tree-climbing lions of Ishasha.
Murchison Falls national park is another famous site for wildlife. With the mighty falls, River Nile and wilderness, it is worth a visit.
Kidepo national park is found in the extreme north east towards the Sudan. It is another gem that is rarely visited. You will see Cheetahs, lions, leopards and herds of elephants in Kidepo.
The iconic mountain gorilla is the star attraction for most visitors. The gorillas can be found further south in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
It is also worth taking a tour to the nearby Lake Bunyonyi from Bwindi forest. This is the most popular area known for beautiful landscapes and freshwater crayfish.
Nonetheless you will be impressed, regardless of where you go in Uganda.
History of Uganda , Language and Culture
The Buganda Kingdom was the most powerful dynasty in the region before the arrival of Europeans in the 19th century. The Kingdom had weakened neighboring Kingdoms and chief-doms through better armed forces and agriculture.
Muslim traders entered the region from the Indian Ocean coast in the early 1840. In 1862, the British explorer John Hanning Speke became the first European to visit the kingdom. He was soon followed by a number of Christian missionaries, who were welcomed by the then Buganda king, Mutesa 1.
Uganda officially became a British protectorate in 1894. This was after uniting the different Kingdoms under one country. These included Buganda, Bunyoro, Ankole, Teso, Acholi, Lango, Tooro together with other smaller chief-doms.
Post independence governments
The country gained its independence in 1962. However, its post-independence history was characterized by violence.
President Obote banned opposition parties in 1969. But after just two years, he was overthrown by the notorious Idi Amin in January 1971. Amin remained president of Uganda until he was deposed by a joint force of Tanzanian forces and Ugandan exiles in 1979.
Obote then returned to office in 1980 but he found himself fighting guerrilla groups. These included the remnants of Amin’s army and Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA). The national army was the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) led by Tito Okello.
In July 1985, Obote was once again overthrown by a military council headed by Okello. The Okello government lasted only six months. The NRA rebels under Museveni took control of the capital in 1986. They established the National Resistance Council to govern the country.
By the early 1990s, Museveni succeeded in restoring order and a measure of prosperity to most of the country. The first presidential election in Uganda organized in 1996, was won by Museveni.
Museveni continues to hold the presidency today after winning all the elections between 1996-2016.
For decades after Museveni came to power in 1986, areas of northern Uganda especially Gulu and Kitgum, continued to be in a civil war. This resulted in deaths of many people at the hands of the extremely violent Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This a quasi-religious anti-government group that terrorized northern Uganda by deliberately targeting civilians. They operated in South Sudan. They were however pushed to the central African Republic.
Northern Uganda and its people finally joined the rest of the country in a prolonged period of peace.
Did you know?
Winston Churchill named Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” when he visited in 1907.
Uganda has repeatedly been ranked as a world leader in alcohol consumption.
In 2016 nearly half of Uganda’s population were under the age of 14, making it the youngest country in the world after Niger.
The Christians are 66% while the Muslim are about 16%. The others are atheist or belong to traditional religions. There are small minorities that practice Hinduism and Judaism.
Way of life:
Visitors to the country will generally find Ugandans to be warm, friendly and relaxed.
The normal way of greeting is by shaking hands. It is considered rude not to greet a person properly. Although it is a taboo to rush into asking a question, most people will know ‘Hello’, but the Swahili ‘Jambo’ is also used. Casual dress is usually worn for most occasions in the daytime or evening.
Ugandans have a socially conservative culture. It is best to avoid expressing emotions or affection in public. Showing anger is also frowned on, so one should try to keep calm in frustrating situations.
Drug abuse is illegal and widely condemned, the same as homosexuality.
There has been much publicity in recent years regarding Uganda’s approach to homosexuality, with the government proposing in 2009 – and still debating – an Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This bill would include death penalties for anyone proved to be indulging in same-sex activities. While the bill has provoked strong international condemnation, homosexuals in Uganda still face persecution in the media or through the church, eviction, arrests and violence.
As such, any lesbian, gay or transgender travelers to the country are advised to be extremely cautious.
Since 1992, photography has been allowed in all areas with the exception of airports or military installations. However, some areas are still sensitive and it is advisable to take local advice.
Commercial photographers should consult the Ministry of Information for a permit.
Some local people have no problem to have their photos taken while others will get extremely mad. Kindly ask before taking anybody’s photo.
Language in Uganda
English is the official language. Swahili, Luganda and other Bantu languages are widely spoken.
Uganda weather, climate and geography
Best time to visit Uganda:
Uganda has a tropical climate. Temperatures range from 21-25°C (70- 77°F) apart from the mountainous areas, which are much cooler; the top of Mount Rwenzori is often covered with snow.
The hottest months are December to February. Evenings can be chilly after the heat of the day with temperatures around 12- 16ºC (54-61°F).
Apart from the dry area in the north east, most regions in Uganda have an annual rainfall of between 1,000mm and 2,000mm.
There is heavy rain between March and May and between October and November. During these months, road travel can become difficult in some parts of the country.
The best time for gorilla trekking is during the dry seasons- between January and February and June to September.
Wildlife viewing is best at the end of the dry seasons, when game is more concentrated around water sources.
Lightweight clothes with a warm cover-up for the evenings are advised. Take a pair of good walking shoes or boots for forest trekking. Long-sleeved tops protect against mosquitoes.
If you’re planning to go to mountainous areas, be sure to take warm clothing, as temperatures drop substantially.
White clothes won’t stay white for long with Uganda’s red dust roads, so go for darker colors.
Travelers can also pick up bargains at second-hand clothes markets in Kampala, Jinja and Fort Portal, which sell trousers and boots.
Uganda lies between the eastern and western sections of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. The country shares borders with Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, Lake Victoria to the southeast, Tanzania and Rwanda to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west.
The Landscapes and Mountains
Whilst the landscape is generally quite flat, most of the country is over 1,000m (3,280ft) in altitude.
The mountainous regions include the Rwenzori Mountains. These mountains of the moon run along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Virunga Mountains are located in Kigezi on the border with Rwanda and the DRC.
An extinct volcano, Mount Elgon, straddles the border with Kenya.
The varied landscapes include tropical forest, a semi-desert area in the northeast and the arid plains of the Karamoja. The heavily populated Buganda hills and the rolling savannah of Acholi are quite scenic. Bunyoro, Toro and Ankole Kingdoms have picturesque farm land and tea plantations.
Lake Victoria and the River Nile
The capital city, Kampala, lies on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is the largest lake in Africa and second-largest freshwater lake in the world. Jinja town on the lake, is considered to be the starting point of the River Nile. The river traverses much of the country northwards.
Whether you prefer gorilla tracking and a combination of other activities, all is possible!
We will arrange your safari according to your unique needs and details. We take care of everything from the moment you land until the end of your trip.
|Area||241,038 sq km (93,065 sq miles)|
|Population||37.1 million (2015)|
|Population density||153.9 per sq km|
|Head of state||President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni since 1986|
|Head of government Business||Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda since 2014|
|Electricity||240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are used|