About Uganda

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, bordered by Kenya in the East, Sudan in the North, Democratic Republic of Congo in the West, and in the south, Rwanda and Tanzania. Straddling the equator, much of her southern border is dominated by Lake Victoria. It is a tremendously lush country, dotted with lakes and rivers (the most famous being the mighty Nile). The country's West is fringed by the glacier-capped Rwenzori Mountains.

Summary of Uganda Facts:

  • Country : Uganda
  • Capital City: Kampala
  • Total Area: 236,040 sq km's.
  • Area under water: 36,330 sq km's.
  • Area (land): 199,710 sq km's.
  • Time: UTC+03:00
  • Population: 32 million people 2010 estimate.
  • Languages: English (official), Ntu Languages, Nilotic languages, Luo languages, Nile Hamites and Swahili.
  • Religions: Roman Catholics 41%, Anglican 40%, Muslims 5%, Ethnoreligionists or indignous beliefs 4%, others 10%
  • Altitude: 85% lies between 900m and 1500m above sea level.
  • Government: Republic.
  • Independence Date: 9th of October 1962.
  • Industry: Brewing, Sugar factories, Cotton, Tobacco, Cement, Coffee, extra.
  • Agriculture: Coffee, Tea, Cotton, Vanilla, Millet, Milk, Poultry, Fruits,
  • Minerals: Copper, Cobalt, Limestone, Salt, Gold
  • Climate: Tropical
  • Accessibility: By Air, Entebbe International Airport, by Land through Busia and Malaba in the East, Katuna in the west, Mutukula in the South and Nimule in the North

CLIMATE

The country's temperatures range between 26˚C and 30˚C during the day and 16˚C and 20˚C at night with the hottest months being January, February and December. Apart from some northern parts of the country that receive average annual rainfall as low as 100mm, the rest of the country is green throughout the year with an annual rainfall of 1,000mm to 2,000mm. The coolest seasons is mid-September to November and mid-March to May. More about Weather

BEST TIME TO VISIT:

The climate is good in Uganda all year round, daytime temperatures generally hovering between 24˚-28˚ C. It cools down considerably at night, enough for a jersey, woollens are not necessary. The rains come twice a year, September-November (short rains) then mid-March-May. The rainy season is no reason to postpone travel, it rains for an hour and the rest of the day might be clear and sunny.Uganda is a stunning country for magnificence variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life - plant, bird, insect, reptile, beast - for vast scale…Uganda is truly the "Pearl of Africa" as by Sir Winston Churchill in the early 1900s, and aptly so, for Uganda still today leaves clients filled with awe by its unique terrain and wildlife, in addition to its friendly and hospitable people.

VISAS:

Visas are now necessary for most and should be obtained prior to travel at a fee of US$ 50 per person.

PHYSICAL AND CLIMATIC FEATURES

Uganda can be described as basin shaped rising between the western and eastern blocks of the great East African Rift Valley. The country lies across the equator with a flat topography and an altitude of 1,000m in most parts of the country, however its location on the great African plateau and being across the equator, gives it a remarkable biological and physical diversity.

Uganda is naturally endowed with water and fertility, 25% of the area is covered with lakes, rivers and swamps with Lake Victoria being the largest fresh water lake in Africa and the source of the River Nile the world's longest river, Lake Kyoga in the center of the country, and Lakes; Edward, George and Albert close to the border of Congo.

The country is also a product of the African Continent uplift with the most mountainous part being in thesouth west and harbouring the Rwenzori mountains which form the second highest mountain in Africa, other mountains include; Elgon, Virunga, Bufumbira which is on the southwestern border with Rwanda, the Northern Volcanoes of Uganda. The mentioned, and many more physical features, make Uganda an interesting geographical part of Africa.

UGANDA'S NATURAL HISTORY

Uganda is a unique safari destination from other African countries basically because of its large forested area with Lowland rain forest, Afro-Montane forest found especially on Mount Elgon, and their accessibility gives you a spectacular view of the forest creatures like chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, butterflies and birds. Going through the country's game reserves, you are likely to encounter safari favourites like Lions, buffalo, elephant, leopard, giraffe and other several species of animals not found anywhere in Africa.

The country has 10 gazetted national parks with several wildlife and forest reserves. These protected Savannah plains and forest environments associated with wildlife include; Semliki, Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo Valley, Bwindi Impenetrable, Budongo, Kaniyo Pabidi forest reserves, Murchison falls national park and several others.

Uganda is naturally endowed with water bodies Like Lake Victoria, Kyoga, Albert, Edward and several crater lakes especially around the Rwenzori foothills. The existence of such water bodies facilitates a relatively moist climate, with the countryside greener and fertile compared to the semi-desert northern side. Around these water bodies, is a splendid birdlife which is just a tale in many Africa countries. Birds like the elusive Shoebill, Papyrus Gonolek, and the Papyrus Yellow Warbler, are celebrities to look for in these areas.

The country is mostly plateau at altitudes of 1,000-1200m and by the effect of warping and rifting, the East African landscape was moulded giving way to the Western rift of Uganda and the most attractive mountains like Rwenzori Mountains bordering Congo with Margharita peak 5,110m as the third highest point in Africa. Other major mountains include, Moroto at 3, 084m, Elgon 4,321m, Virunga on Rwanda border with Muhavura as the highest of Ugandan peaks at 4,127m and several others. Most of these mountains are homes to forest habitats and have high grasslands.

GETTING TO UGANDA:

Currently there is one International Airport; Entebbe International Airport. A number of international airlines fly direct to Entebbe, among them; South African Airways, British Airways, SN Brussels, Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airways and KLM. Most major towns have an airstrip as do most National Parks and Game Reserves.

  • KLM: Royal Dutch Airlines for flights from Amsterdam
  • Kenya Airways: "The pride of Africa" for flights from Nairobi
  • BA: British Airways for flights from the UK
  • Ethiopian Airways: Fly Ethiopian from Addis Ababa
  • Emirates: The Emirates for flights from Dubai

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei)

Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with a population of less than 800 individuals world over- none in zoos. They are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

They share 97% DNA with human beings! They are our closest living cousins after the Chimpanzee, They have up to 25 vocalization for communication

Mountain Gorillas are shy, social and very active during day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male (The Silver Back).

Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth.

Diet: Mainly herbivores eating fruits, herbs, leaves, stems, roots and shoots. Sometimes ingest small insects like ants and termites.

Mountain Gorilla Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)

This sedentary medium-sized wading bird of 56 cm long, weighing 470 gm is know to occur from Africa to coastal southwest Arabia wetlands.

Hamerkops feed during the day, the main diet consists of amphibians and fish. Sometimes, they eat shrimp, insects and rodents. They walk in shallow water looking for prey, shuffling one foot at a time on the bottom or suddenly opening their wings to flush prey out of hiding.

Hamerkops, of all birds make the biggest nest in the trees, sometimes more than 1.5 m across, comprising perhaps 10,000 sticks and strong enough to support a man's weight. A mud-plastered entrance 13 to 18 cm wide in the bottom leads through a tunnel up to 60 cm long to a nesting chamber big enough for the parents and young.

They lay 3 to 7 eggs that start white but soon become stained. Both sexes incubate for 28 to 30 days. The chicks leave the nest at 44 to 50 days.

In culture, the bird is associated to bad omen; Some cultures in Uganda believe, when the bird patches on ones house then they are likely to be struck by lightening. In some places, when it calls over the house, people know that someone close to them has died. The Kalahari Bushmen believe that the inimical god Khauna would not like anyone to kill a Hamerkop. According to an old Malagasy belief, anyone who destroys its nest will get leprosy, and a Malagasy poem calls it an "evil bird". Such beliefs have given the bird some protection.

Grauer's Broadbill (Pseudocalyptomena graueri)

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Aves, Family: Eurylaimidae, Genus: Pseudocalyptomena, Species: Pseudocalyptomena graueri

The Grauer's Broadbill or African Green Broadbill (Pseudocalyptomena graueri) is an actual broadbill, one of only a few African representatives of a primarily Asian family. It is bright green with a blue throat and vent and a small bill, quite unlike those of the other broadbills. It is endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests where it forages in canopies.

It is one of the African Big Five bird species, highly sought after by ornithologists but very elusive.

The species is both globally endangered and endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Blue-breasted Bee-eater (Merops variegatus)

Kingdom: Amimalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Aves, Order: Coraciiformes, Family: Meropidae, Genus: Merops

The Blue-breasted Bee-eater is endemic to Africa and just as the name suggests, predominantly eats flying insects, especially bees and wasps, which are caught in the air by sallies from an open perch. While pursue any type of flying insect, honey bees predominate in their diet. Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) comprise from 20% to 96% of all insects eaten, with honey bees comprising approximately one-third of the Hymenoptera.

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