About Uganda

Uganda – The Pearl of Africa

Uganda also dubbed the pearl of Africa is a unique adorable country. In the east of Africa is a country gifted with mesmerizing beauty. Rich with beautiful soils, nature, vegetation, waters, mountains and fascinating creatures; How dare you miss out on a safari in Uganda?

Away from any other country, Uganda is a virgin land with heartwarming hearts filled with hospitable gestures towards anybody that finds their way into this magical land. In addition to its admired background, Uganda in a further unique way is a book in which many stories that anybody wouldn’t ever want to miss are embedded. Due to the wonderful outlook, and inside beauty of Uganda, all eyes are on this country that has grown from being an innocent republic in the veer to front its political, social and economic wellbeing.

Indeed for so much in Uganda, you agree with me it’s the Pearl of Africa.

The History of Uganda as a safari destination:

Uganda once a country engulfed by the pre-colonial time became a British protectorate (1894-1962).The pre-colonial times found Uganda a virgin land administered by Kingdom ship .Uganda being one of the last parts of the continent to be reached by outsiders, as Arab traders in search of slaves and ivory arrived in the 1840s.Soon followed by two British explorers. Speke who contributed much to Uganda’s history arrived in 1862. Stanley followed in 1875.

The then visit made by Speke and Stanley to (Kabaka) of Buganda Mutesa opened his eyes. The ruler later became so attached to his new visitors in his kingdom which is one of the four strongholds of culture in this region which became firmly established by the mid-nineteenth century. The others, lying to the west, are Ankole, Toro and Bunyoro.

With much appreciation, the existence of these African kingdoms had a profound influence on the development of Uganda during the colonial period being interfered with during scramble for Africa in the 1880s. With fight for separate spheres of interest by oversees states, the lucky Uganda fell in the then hands of the Britain who administered it. During their time, the then Africans were introduced to Christianity, British leadership, education among others and Uganda being crowned a British protectorate (1896-1962).

Buganda remains a significant Kingdom because of the remarkable agreements made between it and the whites such include the 1900 Buganda Agreement among others which greatly saw Buganda and Uganda at the peak of social, economic and political development.

Other kingdoms and chiefdoms that gave a rise to development in Uganda include, Ankole kingdom, Toro kingdom, Bunyoro – Kitara kingdom, Acholi and Teso chiefdoms, among others.  Read about cultural tours in Uganda.

Uganda initially rose to fame in the early 1960s after many disagreements, and pressure build-up to allow the establishment of European farms and plantations still in the years before World War I. This made it a point of principle that Uganda is to be an African state. The economics of the protectorate support this policy. Uganda grew prosperous as cotton, introduced by the British, grown with great success by African peasant farmers.

By 1960s, Uganda had brilliant young educated Africans who had learnt much about British rule and later got the urge to liberate this East African country from the British. Britain granted Uganda full internal self-government in March 1962. In the following month Milton Obote of Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) got elected first prime minister. It is he who negotiated the terms of the constitution under which Uganda becomes independent on 9th October 1962.

From then, Uganda has changed governments in the struggle to irk Uganda’s social, economic and political gestures with the current National Resistance Movement (NRM) headed by His excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Under his rule, social, economic and political strategies have been laid thus rising Uganda to fame especially in the Tourism, Sports, Trade and international Relations as concerned with a strong Army uphold that has helped keep Africa at peace through the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF)

Therefore Uganda continues working on its target of being a middle income state by 2030 and the sole aim of keeping and making East Africa one, through the East African Community in a bid to rise to fame.

Where is Uganda?

Uganda is a country is located in the African continent within the East African region. Uganda covers 197,100 square kilometers of land and 43,938 square kilometers of water, making it the 81st largest nation in the world with a total area of 241,038 square kilometers.

Uganda is surrounded with neighbors of whom it is in good terms with. These are:

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo – west
  • Kenya – East
  • Rwanda – South west
  • South Sudan – North
  • Tanzania – South

Uganda’s latitude and longitude for the country are 1.1027° N, 32.3968° E. and uses a currency called shillings ( /=).

FACTS ABOUT UGANDA:

Country Uganda
Continent Africa
Capital and largest City Kampala
Area 241,038 km2 (93,065 sq mi)
Population 38,824,000 (2015 Census)
Lat. Long 1.0667° N, 31.8833° E
Official Language English, Swahili
Area Calling Code +256
Time Zone East Africa Time Zone (UTC+03:00)
Neighbor Countries Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan
Internet TLD .ug
Currency Ugandan shilling (UGX)

THE GEOGRAPHY OF UGANDA

Geographically, the gallant Uganda is a land locked country but with excellent relief. The pearl of Africa is dubbed with different beautiful gifts which make the relief of Uganda appreciable. With some areas of Uganda being mountainous, a creation of beautiful scenery lives the country adorable. The mountainous zones lift the relief of Uganda through provision of rains, support mining sector and tourism.

With some parts covered by the plateau, People in Uganda never regret for settlement. In fact the existence of great relief has prompted it to even become more hospitable towards refugees due to land that can accommodate people to live peaceful.

Uganda is a land of shimmering lakes and turbulent rivers, with over a third of the country covered by water. Lake Victoria, on the southern boundary is the largest lake in Africa and the source of the River Nile. Uganda too is gifted with Lakes, Rivers, and swamps among others which generously contribute towards Uganda’s relief. These are accompanied by fresh rainfalls in Uganda one thing that is not in other countries.

UGANDA’S UNIQUE FEATURES

Being strategically located, Uganda has so much fascinating features that you deserve to make a safari for you to witness.

Uganda is also gifted with Lakes, Rivers, equator, mountains, the rift valley, hills, Hot springs among others. The biggest Lake in Africa being Lake Victoria sits right in Uganda with endless activities on it such as tourism for fishing safarisboat cruises and others.

Uganda is gifted by Hot springs. These all-time features have attracted many tourists to make endless safaris to Uganda, with the hot springs being the first priority.

When making a safari plan to Africa, don’t forget to add Uganda on your bucket list; you can enjoy the best out of a safari in Uganda, by exploring the majority of endless tour attractions.

                                             

 UNIQUE TOUR FEATURES IN UGANDA: 

                        LAKES                        RIVERS                    MOUTAINS
Lake  Victoria River Nile Mount. Rwenzori
Lake Kyoga River Katonga Mount. Elgon
Lake Kwania Kazinga channel Mount. Moroto
Lake Albert River Sezibwa Mount. Muhavura
Lake Katwe River Kafu Mount. Morungule
Lake Buyonyi River Semuliki Mount. Gahinga
Lake Bisinia River Kagera
Lake Mburo River Nkusi
Lake George River Mayanja
Lake Edward

WILDLIFE IN UGANDA: UGANDA’S FLORA AND FAUNA

As a country of many wonders, Uganda has a lot to offer to its people and even visitors who are hospitably welcomed as tourists. A country gifted by nature, with so much thrilling adventures and attractions, the diversity of its beauty emanates from the enticing nature.

At the beginning of the 20th century Winston Churchill, a British colonial officer on a visit to Uganda said “…for magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life – plant, bird, primates, insect, reptile, and beast – for the vast scale… Uganda is truly “the pearl of Africa. Uganda, in the heart of East Africa, is full of the wonders of nature. With landscapes ranging from snowcapped peaks like Rwenzori, through broad savannah and tropical rainforests to arid deserts, as well as significant wetlands, Uganda is undoubtedly a special place. Nestling in the western arm of the African Rift Valley, Uganda has flora and fauna species found in East and West Africa, as well as an amazing range of its own endemic species.

Uganda’s wildlife is sensational and, because of current conservation programs in Uganda, stocks are increasing annually. Tourists come from all over the world to see some of the more than 3,463 species of birds. These are complemented by stunning clouds of butterflies and moth. In all areas of the country the flora is impressive: whether it is the high montane forest or grass covered river banks, the beauty of the plants and flowers will overwhelm you.

When you discover Uganda is like experiencing Africa at its most spectacular. With a sizeable part of the country now protected through national parks and conservation areas, visitors have the choice of great undertaking a tour safari in Ugandahiking in the mountainsgorillas trekking safari in Uganda or just walking by the river banks. Whether you are out to explore or simply to relax, Uganda’s natural attractions will leave you touched by Africa’s magic spell. The animal and plant life in Uganda is a diverse lot. The cooler western highlands contain a higher proportion of long grass and forest. In the extreme southwest, however, cultivation is intensive even on the high mountain slopes. In the drier northern region, short grasses appear, and there are areas of open woodland; thorn trees and borassus palms also grow. The flora of Uganda is divided mainly between dense forests of Mvuli trees and expanses of tall elephant grass. Thus, enhancing opportunities to undertake nature walk safaris in Uganda.

On the other hand, Fauna in Uganda comprises of animals, birds, insects and also fish. The inventory of animal fauna is almost endless; however, the chief of them are the gorillas, chimpanzees and the black rhinoceros. Some of the other animals that form a part of that list are leopards, elephants, lions, crocodiles, hippopotamuses, buffaloes, giraffes, and zebras, various species of antelopes, gazelles and topis. The Uganda kob is a specialty of the country. At least 6 mammal species are found only in Uganda. Birds are equally plenty. The birds of Uganda include the crowned crane (the national emblem), bulbul, weaver, crow, shrike, heron, egret, ibis, guinea fowl, mouse bird, lourie, hornbill, pigeon, dove, eater, hoopoe, darter, lily-trotter, marabou stork, kingfisher, fish eagle, and kite. Having a variety of bird life in Uganda has led to emergence of ultimate birding safaris.

There are relatively few varieties of fish, but the lakes and rivers contain plentiful stocks of tilapia, Nile perch, catfish, lungfish, elephant snout fish, and other species. Crocodiles, too, are found in many areas and are particularly evident along the Nile between the Kabalega (Murchison) falls and Lake Albert. There is a wide variety of snakes, python, green snakes, black but the more dangerous varieties are rarely observed; presenting great opportunities for fishing safaris in Uganda.

At least a visitor will not miss to see all these on any Uganda safari vacation.

THE PEOPLE/ CULTURE OF UGANDA

A handshake is a paramount gesture as a culture act in case you meant any Ugandan in Uganda.

Uganda has a very strong cultural heritage which is so vital to acknowledge. Many regions in Uganda have kingdoms including Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro.The beautiful people of Uganda are remarkably hospitable and hail from a diversity of rich cultures and life styles where each tribe has its own traditional dance ; The baganda perform their kiganda dance,The banyankole perform their Kitagururo dance , the Banyoro have their Runyege , Acholi have the Bwora and Otole dances . The Alur people from the West Nile have the traditional Agwal dance, Bagisu have the Imbalu dance during circumcision ceremonies and many other dances by many different tribes.

It should be still noted that the nature of Uganda’s heritage surely has attracted more people for all centuries ranging from the early British colonial masters, neighbors and oversees strong holds like the Queen of England, The pope, the different presidents of different nations the world has ever known among others.

Culture in Uganda is so diversified as seen in what is called Uganda Cultural safaris where Information about cultural organizations in Uganda, role and contributions is put forward for people who find it relevant to support Uganda through tourism to discover the true partially roots of Ugandans

Taking a tour to cultural sites In Uganda or safaris will include visiting the royal palace of Buganda and the Buganda parliament. Other palaces include Toro palace, Busoga palace, Bunyoro palace and other palaces across numerous chiefdoms and kingdoms. Safaris in Uganda include places like, sites and eco-tourism in Uganda.

Further you cannot miss to undertake a cultural tour to Uganda’s museums that hold match of Uganda’s historical gestures and symbols with things like the first vehicle in Uganda, the ancient musical instruments among others coupled with historical tools and numerous articrafts that were used in the past. That is from the pre-cambrian ages to the recent past and the royal drums. Most of these found at the National museum and other regional museums.

So when you make a cultural safari to Uganda, expect more than you expect to see. Uganda gives you an opportunity to even admire its rich dress-code with different cultural wears like the Gomesi, Mushannana, and backcloth made wears among others with which you can buy to experience a sense of belonging

THE VEGETATION OF UGANDA

Uganda is still one of those few countries labeled “Green”. The case in point to why it’s still called “The Pearl of Africa” is because of the nature and beauty of Uganda’s vegetation.

Uganda’s vegetation or Flora takes up the Uganda forests of which provide a cool unique sight of thrilling beauty. Some of Uganda’s forests include Budongo, Mabira forest of which these provide a homestead to wildlife initially the other reason for endless Uganda Tours by Tourists to Uganda

The green plant cover involves tall, thick, short cover plant which enables them to support birding and even provide food to most animals, especially primates; making chimpanzee and gorilla trekking safaris a common activity in the lush forests of Uganda.

The varied scenery further  includes tropical forest, a semi-desert area in the northeast, the arid plains of the Karamoja, the lush, heavily populated Buganda, the rolling savannah of Acholi, Bunyoro, Tororo and Ankole, tea plantations and the fertile cotton area of Teso.

With a multiplicity of green savannah lands, with green pastures, trees, grasses among others; A lot of activities take place within the savannah lands.

FOODS AND DIET OF UGANDA

In Uganda, Meat or chicken stews are the most popular in Uganda served with rice, chapatti, ugali (a stiff maize porridge) or matooke (a cooked plantain/banana mash). For a sweet dish, locals and Tourists enjoy a type of doughnut called mandazi.

Being a land blessed with the largest or biggest lake in Africa, together with other water features. The lakes Victoria, Kyoga and Albert provide Uganda with another nutrious dish, fish which is as well an important food. Local fish include the Nile perch, tiger fish and the ngege tilapia. A favorite recipe serves tilapia with a peanut sauce.

With our ancient of style of cooking, the most sweet above all is the Luwombo of all types that is to say Luwombo of meat, chicken, goat’s meat, turkey and now fish luwombo. When you move to the west, you cannot afford to Miss “ESHABWE”

People in Uganda accompany their meals with much soft fizzy pops which are widely drunk in Uganda for cold drinks, with lager beer the most popular alcoholic beverage. Though many Ugandans grow coffee beans for a living, chai or tea is the favored hot drink, brewed very sweet and milky.

Sometimes a glass of juice from different fruits is blended to give that cool smoothie to your threat among which you can order for a glass of Butunda, Munanasi, bushera and so much more.

Of recent, Uganda was rated best Chapatti eating and making country therefore the beautiful food for all ages can be made with meat, salads and many more giving you a classic taste. For Uganda’s food / culinary tours, you cannot miss out on food events like Agricultural Expos, the Rolex Festivals and wines among others.

Indeed when you make a Uganda Tour, expect to taste the best African cuisine at all times with the now western foods added on the menu.

THE WEATHER AND CLIMATE OF UGANDA

Uganda has gentle and conducive weather conditions and very cool climate that Ugandans and tourists are subjected to. Uganda consists of the tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 21-25°C (70- 77°F), apart from in the mountainous areas, which are much cooler; the top of Mount Rwenzori and Elgon are often covered with snow. The hottest months are December to February. Evenings can feel chilly after the heat of the day with temperatures around 12- 16ºC (54-61°F).

March to May is wetter and warmer, while December to February is hotter and drier and it can sometimes get as hot as 96.8°F

Uganda experiences two different seasons which are, 2 Dry and 2 Wet seasons. The dry seasons in Uganda are the best times to visit, with June, July and August being more ideal as it is relatively warmer. Uganda’s two dry seasons are the busiest in the country, because it is in these months that are best for gorilla trekking and white water rafting. Travelers, tourists visiting from December to February or June to August should expect to pay much from Uganda.

On the other hand, visiting Uganda during wet seasons is also adventurous because you get to see the more green sceneries and take safaris to either National game Parks in which animals are not scattered due to presence of green savannah land everywhere so it’s easier to catch a sight Uganda’s wildlife.

During Wet days, more activities like Farming taking place since Uganda is an agricultural country moving towards a middle income state and more rainfall is evident during this time. So as a traveler, one of the items to always carry is an Umbrella, Rain Jacket among others.

Further during wet season, on the lakes and rivers of Uganda, more intermittent rains start at this time. Game viewing is excellent over short new grass of the plains. Spring-like conditions are moderated by cool nights.

Indeed Uganda gives you an excellent option to choose between your most convenient season and time and make things happen to fully enjoy a tour in Uganda

Travel Requirements

To travel to Uganda is one of the amazing things a traveler or any person can do because of the big hospitable heart that Uganda offers. Even getting your way into Uganda is not has hard as you may expect. The travel process is simplicity to the gallant people that desire to visit, tour and travel to Uganda.

To enter Uganda, the first noticeable requirements are:

Visa and Passport: A passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry is required by all nationals from different countries offered by their own Governments and for those in Uganda, they can acquire passports from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA).

A visa to Uganda can be acquired from The Ugandan Embassies or High Commissions in the different countries and Visa has different types with different prices but costs are subject to change.

Types and cost:

Single-entry e-Visa: US$50; East African tourist e-Visa: US$100.

Multiple-entry e-Visa: US$100 (six to 12 months), US$150 (12 to 24 months), US$200 (24 to 36 months).

Single-entry visa in advance: £40; East African tourist visa in advance: £70.

In addition, Visa arrangements can either be made through Tour Agencies, Embassies and Tourist Offices located in the different countries.

Also when travelling to Uganda, these other requirements are needed:

Medical checkup and Permit for Yellow Fever are required for the safety and health of the travelers and tourists to Uganda. Vaccines for diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningitis, cholera among others are required.

Basing on the hot and dry seasons, visitors are required to either carry jackets especially those travelling in wet seasons and also at night its cold in some parts of Uganda.

Uganda’s currency is shilling but embraces other currencies most especially the Dollar and has limitations. When you come to Uganda, you can make an exchange of the Dollars or any other currency to shillings for convinience while in Uganda. Visa cards of different banks can be used in some places like hotels, shopping villages, around the capital city and surrounding cities but not in remote areas where they require cash or in shilling form.

Travel and Transport

Alcohol is frequently a contributing factor in road accidents, particularly at night. Nighttime travel should be avoided whenever possible. Highway travel at night is particularly dangerous, including on the road between Entebbe Airport and Kampala.

Uganda recommends caution on this road and use of a reliable taxi service to and from the airport, with the exception of the Kampala – Entebbe airport road.

Other public means of transport are the Matatus (Taxis) and ‘boda bodas’ that ease transportations due to road traffic on some roads of Kampala and elsewhere.

POPULATION STATUS IN UGANDA

Child and Maternal Health in Uganda

Healthcare provision and infrastructure in Uganda are chronically underfunded and highly variable in quality. A system of “cost sharing,” whereby hospitals must charge for treatments, means that most Ugandans have to pay for health care when they get sick. The high cost of care leads many Ugandans to turn to cheaper, traditional medicines rather than attend a hospital. As a result, people with illnesses such as malaria will often delay care for as long as possible before seeking treatment. These periods of waiting can result in increased hospital expenses, serious illness, or even death for some patients.

Uganda’s infant mortality rate and life expectancy age are among the worst in the world. More than 50 percent of Ugandans have no access to clean water, making them vulnerable to cholera and diarrhea. Malaria and respiratory illnesses are widespread and are frequent causes of death. Economic liberalization has created a healthcare system that places the poor at a stark disadvantage. Other major healthcare issues are basic hygiene; nutrition; women’s and children’s health; and sexual/reproductive health (especially for young people and women).

A new health issue developed in the mid-1980s when HIV/AIDS became an epidemic. Scientists now believe Uganda’s Lake Victoria region was one of the areas where HIV first began infecting humans. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni was not aware of the virus until a group of Ugandan soldiers were sent for training in Cuba. In September 1986, Fidel Castro informed Museveni that 18 of the 60 soldiers had the HIV virus, and this may indicate a high prevalence of HIV in Uganda.

AIDS has claimed millions of households throughout Uganda and has reduced the life expectancy of Ugandans from 48 years in 1980 to 43 years in 1995. Unlike in the United States, the Ugandan government’s initial response was based on the recognition that AIDS affects all strata of the population and poses a major threat to the development of the country and welfare of its people. President Museveni established the AIDS Control Program (ACP) within the Ministry of Health (MOH) to create policy guidelines for Uganda’s fight against HIV/AIDS. Uganda quickly realized that the virus was more than a health issue and, in 1992, created a “Multi-Sectoral AIDS Control Approach.” In addition, the Uganda AIDS Commission (founded in 1992) has been instrumental in developing a national HIV/AIDS policy.

A variety of approaches to AIDS education have been employed, ranging from the promotion of condom use to “abstinence only” programs. Uganda was the first country to open a voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) clinic in Africa and pioneered the concept of voluntary HIV testing centers in sub-Saharan Africa. These top-down efforts gave the impression that Uganda was the African leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The scope of Uganda’s success, however, has come under increased scrutiny. The government repeatedly misused international funds directed toward AIDS relief efforts, and in 2002, a medical journal published research that questioned the accuracy of previous reports in Uganda that indicated a dramatic decline in HIV infections. It is claimed that statistics have been distorted through the inaccurate extrapolation of data from small urban clinics to the entire population—90 percent of whom live in rural areas. Also, recent trials of the HIV drug Nevaripine came under intense scrutiny and criticism. U.S.-sponsored abstinence promotions received recent criticism from observers for denying young people of information about any method of HIV prevention other than sexual abstinence until marriage.

HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Jinja and Masaka, and there is much work to be done to stem the spread of HIV as well as to care for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. FSD works to support bottom-up strategies in addressing the virus and its many complex issues and social structures. Interns and volunteers assist a vast network of HIV/AIDS programs that serve communities who have been drastically affected by the virus. Basic medical treatment and health education are also provided by FSD to productively support a growing population.

Youth Unemployment

The International Labour Organisation defines youth unemployment as a share of labour force age 15-24 without work but available for and seeking employment.

With a population of 37 million people, where young people count for about 78 percent below the age of 30, and 52 percent below the age of 15, Uganda is one of the countries with the youngest population who are dependents after Niger.

Uganda is trying its level best to introduce schemes that could help alleviate poverty but with little success. Some of the schemes that failed to succeed due to corruption and failure of the recipients to pay back part of the 9.4 billion was called the “Entandikwa” programme that managed to recover only 358 million in loans. This programme was launched by the president 19 years ago but did not achieve its purpose.

In Uganda every year a total of 400,000 youth are released into the job market after graduating to a market that has only 90,000 jobs. That means that the rest of the youth who have graduated will have no jobs because the job market is small and therefore if the youth are not job creators than we will see many walking the streets looking for jobs that have been taken or are still occupied by people who need to have retired.

Girl Child Education

There are quite many factors that have led to an increase in many girls dropping out of school. Many of these drop out of school before reaching primary seven.

According to the 2016 current District Education Officer (D.E.O) of Gulu District, Rev. Vincent Oceng-Ocen, 15% of girls in primary schools drop out before completing primary seven, while the percentage of boys dropping out stands at only 10%.

Gulu has only 155 primary schools under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) program with a total of 112,676 pupils. The percentage of girls who have enrolled in primary school this year  stands at 48% while for boys it’s 52%. This is only 57% of school age going children in Gulu while 43% have never gone to school.

Significant barriers to education in Uganda include poverty, child labor, distance from school, teenage pregnancies, child marriages and unequal access to education due to gender and cultural factors. Over the last decade there has been increasing awareness of the impact of conflict on education systems and the importance of education for children and youths as part of post-conflict reconstruction in Northern Uganda.

A survey which was conducted by Forum for African Women Educationists (FAWE) in 2011 in Uganda reveals that drop out of girls from school is increasing due to teenage pregnancies at 34%, poverty at 28% and engagement in sex at 11%.

Stakeholders are expected to “increase school participation, completion and achievement rates of girls in primary education, like Akello, through addressing the various barriers to girls’ education such as sexual and gender based violence, poor sanitation and poor management of menstruation, among others”.

Statistics of Gulu district show that here there are more girls than boys now enrolling for primary education, but there are more boys who complete school than girls. The reverse is true for completion rate and Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) performance index. Boys who complete primary education in Gulu stand at 96% while only 74% of girls complete primary education over the same period. Only 58% of girls pass their exams in Gulu as compared to boys whose percentage is 63% percent.