Uganda - The Pearl of Africa
Uganda - the Pearl of Africa.
Uganda at a Glance
Mountain Gorillas - Uganda's Star Attraction
Uganda is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa with fantastic natural scenery, half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population and some of the friendliest people in Africa. It is also a unique and captivating tourist destination straddled across the Equator and perched on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. Situated at the heart of the African continent, Uganda offers a range of adventure and holiday activities which range from gorilla tracking, world class white water rafting at the Source of the Nile and game viewing within the peaceful unpolluted and undegraded national parks. In terms of its size, Uganda is relatively a small country roughly the size of Great Britain or the State of Oregon in the United States America. Despite its small size, Uganda is the most alluring safari destination in Africa given its features which include undegraded and unpolluted forests, shimmering lakes and mountains. Most of the country is 1,000 m above sea level and there are three mountainous areas - the Rwenzoris, Mount Elgon and the Virunga volcanoes.
Mountain Gorillas and Other Primates
Uganda offers a unique opportunity to track the endangered mountain gorillas in their spectacular volcanic montane setting, densely covered by tropical rainforests at Bwindi or Mgahinga national park. The population of the mountain gorilla is estimated to be around 700 in the whole world with a half of these residing in the Ugandan national parks of Mgahinga and Bwindi. Apart from the mountain gorillas, the country offer great opportunities to track our closest primate relatives-the chimpanzees, in their forest habitat at Kibale, Budongo, Kasyoha-Kitomi and Kyambura River gorge. A visit to the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary where orphaned chimpanzees have been habituated is simply magical and interesting. More About the Gorillas | Primates in Uganda
Birds in Queen Elizabeth National Park
In terms of birds, Uganda scores highly with birders given the appealing number of birds that have risen to 1020 bird species. This figure represents more than half the bird species that can be found in the whole of Africa. Located at the center of the continent, Uganda attracts a number of migrants from the North and Southern Hemisphere. Because of the topography, good climate conditions and a wide range of habitats, Uganda has attracted various bird species which include birds endemic to Congo forests, water birds, savanna grassland and woodland birds among others. This has made Uganda truly the best ornithologist destination in Africa! More About Birds
Uganda is a unique safari destination to hikers who are interested in climbing and trekking over small hills, medium sized and high mountains. The snow capped Rwenzoris, famed in ancient times as the mountains of the moon, running along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, have now been developed and opened to travelers interested in climbing not only the tallest ranges of Africa but also of the world as well. The Rwenzoris offer some exceptional walking to both trekkers at lower altitudes as well as mountaineers who would like to meet the challenge of ascending to the glacial peaks of over 5100 metres. In the eastern part o the country Mt. Elgon with its caldera is quite another popular destination for medium and high climbers. It is actually a heavily forested ancient volcano with its base covering an area of more than 3000sq km. Though the mountain straddles at the Kenyan border, its peak (Wagagai peak) is found on the Ugandan side. This presents a wonderful mountaineering experience to tourists who are ever interested in attempting to the highest peak.
Lakes and Rivers
Uganda is a well-watered and fertile country despite of its small size. Its lakes and rivers make it an interesting and beautiful country with a variety of aquatic tourism attractions. A number of water based activities can be carried out in the country. These include white water rafting on the Nile, Bungee jumping, swimming, kayaking, local clans canoe regatta, goat racing at the beaches, beach games, among others. All these activities are enabled by the existence of large and high grade water bodies.
Uganda is home to the Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa (68,800 sq km). The lake is made up of a number of islands with the most popular islands being Ssese islands characterized by white sandy beaches, rich birdlife, unpolluted and undegraded tropical rainforests among others.
The Biblical Nile the second world’s longest river also starts its long journey from Lake Victoria and ends in the Mediterranean Sea after a journey of 6400 km. The banks of the Nile have nurtured some of the world's greatest civilizations including the ancient Egyptians.
In the western part of Uganda, there is Lake Edward linked to Lake George by the Kazinga Channel. These lakes together with the channel are bird watcher's paradise given the rich birdlife that can be seen while on a boat ride or launch cruise. The Rwenzori Mountains also make a spectacular setting on Lake Edward's Horizon.
Lake Albert stands guard at the Western border of Uganda located n the western arm of the Great East African rift valley. It is a typical Rift Valley lake lying at an altitude of 615 m between two parallel escarpments. It is a place of dramatic scenery, with the Mountains of the Moon rising up in the distance. The lake is another haven to birders given the different birds attracted to the Delta region where the Albert Nile River joins the Lake.
Lake Bunyonyi in the western part of Uganda is worthy to visit given its beautiful islands and rich cultural heritage.
People and Culture
Uganda’s population is estimated to be 27 million people growing at a rate of 2.5% per annum. It is made up of complex and diverse range of tribes with the majority (98%) being Africans who fall into 4 major ethnic groups; Bantu, Nile Hamites, Nilotic and Hamite groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu speaking peoples, who dominate much of East, Central and Southern Africa with the Baganda taking the biggest percentage. Most of the Bantu speaking people formed their own kingdoms; Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro, Ankole and Tooro. Before the coming of the British these kingdoms were organized political settings with Buganda having the most civilized and highly centralized monarchy. In the north live the Lango (near Lake Kyoga) and the Acholi (towards the Sudanese border) who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamajong who are related to the Masai pastoralists of Kenya. In the forests of the west live the Batwa, a pygmy related tribe thought to originate from Congo. Ugandans are very polite, enthusiastic, friendly and welcoming people who will often greet strangers on public transport or in rural areas. It is always not a simple “hello” but also How are you? How is your family? and the interest is genuine.