Uganda is a land of stunning beauty. It’s rightfully named the “pearl of Africa”. This moniker comes from former British prime minister, Winston Churchill, who was mesmerized by what he called “a beauty unlike anything he had seen” during his tour of Africa. Little did he know the splendour which inspired that epithet would someday be a leading gem in African travel: Uganda is truly a land gifted by nature!
Located in the very heart of Africa, between moon-kissing mountains, a broad network of rivers and freshwater lakes, and vast expanses of tropical savannah, Uganda straddles along the equator, across an elevated plateau stretching between the western and eastern arms of the rift valley, with perfect weather year-round. Its topography ranges from tropical savannah to equatorial rainforest.
Among Uganda’s many wonders is the diversity of its populations—both human and animal. With over 56 ethnic groups speaking different dialects, more than 1000 bird species, and over 400 mammal species, crammed in a territory no larger than 93,065km2. Uganda is a study in diversity and complex ecology.
Uganda is famous for harbouring the world’s largest population of Mountain Gorilla—the greatest of the big apes and a species threatened with extinction—however, the country boasts of exceptional bio-diversity in both animal and plant life, making it a classic destination for birding and wildlife safaris. Apart from the classic safari experience, Uganda offers spectacular nooks for holidays and vacations, as well as nature sports and cultural encounters with local communities.
There are 10 national parks, 12 game reserves, and 13 conservation areas managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority: there is plenty to choose from for your wildlife safari. Birders are home at once in Uganda—of the 2250 bird species recorded in Africa, over 1060 (48%) can be seen in Uganda, with more species being discovered every other year. While bird-rich habitats are common enough around the towns and country side, there are over 34 Important Birding Areas in Uganda, giving birdwatchers plenty of options to tailor their experience.
Uganda is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking people, who dominate much of East, Central, and Southern Africa. In the north, the Lango and the Acholi peoples, who speak Nilotic languages, are the predominant groups, while to the east the Itesot and Karimojong, who speak a Nilotic language, whereas the Gishu are part of the Bantu and live mainly on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. They speak Lumasaba, which is closely related to the Luhya of Kenya. A few Pygmies live isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda.
Ugandans are welcoming people famous for being hospitable to visitors. Everyone from children to elders will go out of their way to help a visitor where they can, or make them feel at home, a trait that has earned the country top ratings in global happiness indices. It’s considered by most expatriates as one of the safest and most conducive environments to live in—a home away from home.
They are also merry people. Nightlife in Uganda is unrivalled throughout East and Central Africa, and possibly all of Africa. Over 56 dialects are spoken in this tiny country, though most, if not all, are derived from Luo or Bantu, the biggest language groups in the region. English is the national language and is spoken or understood in most parts of the country.
Located in the heart of the equatorial region, Uganda is blessed with unique climate and a topography that encompasses the best of Africa. Snow-capped mountains mark out its borders, and an elevated plateau stretching between the western and eastern arms of the rift valley, supply perfect weather year-round perfect weather. Travellers can go from steamy lowland tropics to cool elevated plains in a single bound.
Uganda is suitable for travel any time of the year. The weather is sunny most of the year, with light rains and average annual temperatures ranging between 21°C and 26°C, and rarely rising above 29°C. Uganda has two dry seasons: December to February and June to August. The rainy season is from March to May and October to November.
The southeast and northern trade winds meet in its eastern provinces to make their westward journey into the inter-tropical convergence zone, resulting in a balanced climate that is relatively cool and stable through the year.