UGANDA, THE PEARL OF AFRICA.
Uganda is a country of serene beauty and a cocktail of different cultures. Uganda is found in the eastern part of Africa, west of Kenya, south of South Sudan, north of Rwanda and Tanzania, east of democratic republic of Congo. The capital city of Uganda is Kampala. Uganda’s current population is 47,731,825 as of November 20th 2021. It stretches over an area of 241,037km2 of bush grasslands, acacia woodlands, forest grasslands and wetland vegetation. Uganda is currently comprised of 135 districts and 15 cities including; Mbarara, Kampala, Jinja, Mpigi, Mukono, Entebbe among others.
Winston Churchill popularized Uganda after naming her the pearl of Africa in his book “My African Journey” in 1908.This breath taking country truly lives up to her name because of her eco-diversity, lavish landscapes and a variety of flora and fauna.
Uganda was fashioned into a British protectorate by the end of the 19th century prior to this, it was divided into different kingdoms. Uganda achieved he independence on the day of 9th October 1962 and the early independent days were mostly influenced by President Milton Obote. Uganda has had a total of 7 presidents since independence and her present-day Head of State is H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. The current Prime Minister Right Honorable Robinah Nabbanja and the Minister of Tourism Col.Tom Butime with state minister of Tourism being Godfrey Kiwanda.
The name “Uganda” was derived from “Buganda”, Uganda’s most prominent kingdom which is located in the central region and covers the biggest part of the country. Buganda has more than 12 millions of people making it the biggest tribe in Uganda, the smallest being the Mening tribe with 2,655 people. Uganda has a total of 56 tribes. Evidence from the Stone Age era shows that human life has inhabited Uganda for more than 50,000 years therefore it has been populated by different ethnic groups. There have been four major ethnic groups which include; The Bantu, The Nilotics, Nilo Hamites and Hamites.
The Bantu speaking people (Baganda, Banyankore, Batooro, Bakojo, Batwa, Bakiga) occupy most of the central and western region of Kampala in districts including Mbarara, Kampala, Fort Portal, Wakiso, Entebbe, Masaka and many other. Their cultures and languages are closely related. The Baganda for example, are particularly modest in behavior, rarely will one pass you by without greeting same as Batooro.
The Nilohamites take up the northern regions of Uganda. They reside in districts of (). The Nilohamite tribes include the Karamojong, Itesots, Sebei, Pokot, Tepeth and others. They are said to originate from the Ethiopian islands. They live in homesteads, they also have communal space for their cattle since they are mostly herdsmen.
The Nilotics on the other hand occupy the eastern districts of Uganda including Arua, Dokolo, Kaabong, Gulu, mentioning but a few. The nilotics are Luo-speaking people that are said to have originated from southern Sudan. Most of these tribes finally settled in eastern Uganda and others north of the country. They include the Lugbar, Madi, Metu, Acholi, Alur, Japadhola and others. As part of social responsibility and part of Luo culture, a rich Luo man is expected to marry as many Luo women as he can afford to take care of.
Uganda has over 700 registered cultural heritage sites. The most popular of these sites is the Kasubi royal tombs which appears on UNESCO World’s Heritage list. Others include; Namugongo shrine, Karambi tombs, Bigo ya Mugyenyi which is famous for its archeological earthworks and Nyero geometric rock art sites in eastern Uganda. Aside from the cultural sites, Uganda is blessed with an endless list of other tourist sites. From the variant wildlife to epic game reserves to the evergreen forests, to mountains and lakes that will leave you marveling at wonders of Mother Nature.
Uganda attracts more than 70,000 tourists a year and one of her biggest tourist attracters is Uganda’s endangered mountain gorillas. These 6ft primates inhabit the dense vegetation of Bwidi Impenetrable forest national park that’s located in southwestern Uganda and along the gentle slopes of Mgahinga gorilla national park that rests on the northeastern side if Virunga mountain ranges. These two are the only gorilla trekking spots in Uganda.
Uganda is also famous for The Big five (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) were named by the early colonial safari hunters as the most dangerous african animals to hunt on foot. Apart frm the white Rhino that are only found in Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, the other four can easily be sighted and toured allover Uganda’s savannah national parks which include; Semuliki, Kidepo, Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo, Murchison falls among others.
Murchison falls locally known as Kabalega falls, is a powerful waterfall along the Victoria Nile. It lies between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert located in Masindi district. The Victorian nile forces itself through a narrow gap atop the Murchison fall ad plunges down a staggering length of 43metres. Murchison falls dissects through Uganda’s largest national park therefore giving sightseers the best view of Murchison falls National Park. Some of the ongoing activities that take place on this site are; boat cruise tours along the Nile delta, chimpanzee tracking, bird watching hippos and crocodiles too. There’s a 45miute hike up along the refreshing cascade that is only $15.
Lake Victoria’s native Ugandan name is Nnalubaale, located in the central south region of Uganda. It is the largest fresh water body in Africa and it is shared by the east African countries; Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Lake Victoria covers a total surface area of 68,800 square kilometers and it has 985 islands.45% of lake Victoria lies in Uganda and some of the islands that lie in Uganda include: ukerewe, ukora, rubondo and maboko. Lake Victoria is a reservoir for radiational heat and also an important transport route that links east African countries. Lake Victoria harbors a number of unique animals such as African clawless otter, mangoose, reed bucks, cane rats and giant otter shrews. You’ll also enjoy the various activities such as fishing trips, sightseeing and boat cruising.
River Nile receives over 23 billion cubic meters of its water from Lake Victoria therefore making Lake Victoria the main source of the Nile, with its home being Jinja district. Jinja is a beautiful low rise town located on the opposite bank of the Nile and is about 50 kilo meters from the capital city, Kampala. Up along the Nile’s course is Lake Kyoga and along this very path lies the Murchison falls. Jinja is a one stop for activities such as bungee jumping, quite water rafting along the Bujagali falls, kayaking and river boarding.
Prepare for the alluring profusion that Lake Bunyonyi provides, from the lush greenery that cascades the terraced hills of Kabale to the colorful collection of over 200 bird species. Lake Bunyonyi is located south west of Uganda with Kisoro on one side and kabale on the other, this fresh water body is the second deepest lake in Uganda and the third deepest in the world. It covers the surface area of 17.76 square meters and it also has 29 islands that are best for sightseeing and touring. Lake Bunyonyi is famous for its rare birds such as the cinnamon-chested bee eater, pied wagtail, grey shrike, bronze makini, black-headed beaver, among others. Activities include touring the bakiga cultural museum and black smith sights and bird watching at the Nyombi swamp.
The equator is located across the Masaka-Mbarara highway In a small country town called Kayabwe. There is a land marked monument of the equator and it is at this point that you can stand one foot in the Northen hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere. This tourist sight is dotted with souvenir shops art and craft shops plus wood work. It is also a good stop over for tourists to use clean washrooms on their way for more wildness in the western Uganda such as; Lake Mburo national park, Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Gahinga Volcano.
Uganda has 2,803 named mountains and one of them is Uganda’s famous Mt. Rwenzori. Mount Rwenzori is the highest non-volcanic mountain in the entire world. It is 120km in length and 60km in width. Tourists can take 4 to 12 days of trekking to the peaks. The peaks are Mount Stanley and Mount Margherita.
Gahinga means “small pile of stones”, it among the 8 mountains of Mufumbiro ranges. Mount Gahinga is an extinct volcano located at the tip of southwestern Uganda.It sits between mount Muhavura and mount Sabinyo and it is the smallest of the three.
Other mountains that are mostly toured include; Mount Elgon which has the largest volcanic base I the world, mount Moroto, Mount Morungole that lies between Kidepo valley, among others.