Uganda is commonly referred in guidebooks as the “Pearl of East Africa”. It is a beautiful, green country that has enjoyed relative political stability compared to its neighboring countries. Uganda is
landlocked with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west, Sudan to the North, Kenya to the East, and Rwanda and Tanzania to the South.
Uganda was a former colony of Britain. It gained independence on 9th October 1962.
Unfortunately Uganda has been one of the most infamous countries in Africa. The notorious bloody reign of Idi Amin from 1972 – 1979 as well as the Operations of Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army created a negative image for Uganda. The current president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni overthrew Milton Obote’s regime and has since led Uganda till today.
Uganda is truly breathtaking with the famous Rwenzori mountains also known as the “Mountains of the Moon”, Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile, and many national parks that are home to all the animals you can name that you have seen in a zoo (but in their natural habitat).
Learn More About Uganda
- Location – Where is Uganda?
- Climate & Weather
- Population & Demographics
Uganda was known as the “Pearl of East Africa”. It is a beautiful, green country that has enjoyed relative political stability compared to its neighboring countries. Uganda is landlocked with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west, Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, and Rwanda and Tanzania to the south. Uganda was a former
British colony that gained independence in 1962. Unfortunately Uganda is most infamous for the notoriously bloody reign of Idi Amin from 1972-9. President Museveni overthrew Milton Obote’s regime after Amin and has since led Uganda under a one-party rule.
In July 2006, Uganda had its first multiparty elections in the history of the country.
Uganda is located at an average altitude of 1,100 metres (3,250 ft) above sea level on the East African plateau, which gently slopes towards the plains of Sudan in the north. A landlocked country, Uganda is situated almost completely in the Nile basin although south Uganda is rather dry.
Lakes in Uganda
The large lakes of Uganda are Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Lake Victoria, Lake Kyogo, which occupies most of central Uganda, and the relatively small Lake George. The Victoria Nile flows from Lake Victoria to Lake Kyogo, and onwards to Lake Albert located on Uganda’s border with Congo. It finally flows north into Sudan. The Turkwel River, which is a part of Lake Turkana’s drainage basin, flows over a small part of eastern Uganda.
Northern, Eastern, Western and Central Uganda are the four administrative regions of the country and they are divided into a total of 80 districts, each of which is then divided into counties. Almost all the districts are named after the administrative and commercial town of the district. Sub-districts, counties, sub-counties, parishes and village are the administrative units into which each district is divided.
Is Uganda Safe?
Uganda is for the most part safe to travel. However, precaution is always necessary as a visitor in a foreign country. The country is safe to travel and you can easily explore the country whether on a guided safari or a self drive trip.
However, precaution is always necessary as a visitor in a foreign country. The Northern Uganda which suffered from a 20-year war led by an insurgency group of Joseph Kony and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is also now safe for travel.
Uganda currently has a population of 26 million. There are over 80 local languages spoken in Uganda, the most common being Luganda (Don’t worry you can get a pocketbook Luganda-English guide at Aristoc Bookstore in Kampala).
English is the official language which makes travel and communication in Uganda much more enjoyable. And the Ugandans are famous in East Africa for their friendliness and laughter as well.
When to Visit Uganda
Uganda can be visited at any time, though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains, which generally peak over mid-September to November and March to May.
The dry season is Dec-Feb and June-Aug with the rainy season March to May. The climate is most mild in the rainy season and will remind you of a sunny San Francisco day.
The only difference is that one must remember an umbrella, insect repellent, and malaria prophylaxis. If you go during the dry season remember sunscreen, a hat, and drink lots of bottled water.
Getting to Uganda
Uganda can be reached through Entebbe International Airport, which lies 40km from the capital Kampala. The Airport is serviced by a number of international airlines, including SN Brussels, British Airways, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania, Rwandair Express, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines. Uganda can also be reached overland from Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania.
More than 33 different indigenous languages are spoken in different parts of the country, most of these belonging to the Bantu language group, several Nilotic and Cushitic languages and the Karimojong in the extreme northeast. The official languages, English spoken as a second language by most Educated Ugandans and Kiswahili are the most useful languages for tourists and are widely used between Ugandans of different linguistic background while Luganda serving a lingua franca.