Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” is situated in East Africa, lying between the Eastern and Western sides of the Great East African Rift Valley. It is largely comes with gentle slope and most of its sections elevated to more than 1000 meters above sea level. Uganda is situated in Equatorial Africa between latitudes 4 degrees 12 North and 1 degree 29 South and Longitudes 29 Degrees 35 West and 25 Degrees East. It extends to an area of 236 square kilometers a size that matches to that of the Great Britain. It is surrounded by Sudan to the north approximately 435 kilometers, Kenya 933 kilometers to the East, Rwanda 169 kilometers and Tanzania 396 kilometers to the south and finally the Democratic Republic of Congo at 765 kilometers to the West. Uganda’s elevation straddles between 900 meters and 1500 meters above the sea level with its highest point being Mount Stanley (Mount Rwenzori) at 5109 meters but Lake Albert basin and Albert Nile register the lowest point. Uganda covers an area of about 241559 square kilometers, 37000 square kilometers of which is largely occupied by open water and the rest is largely land. Kigezi area lies in the southwest in the hilliest side of Uganda and the 70 kilometers long and 30 kilometer wide Rwenzori Mountains of North Kigezi make the highest mountain ranges not only in Uganda but also Africa with Margherita peak at 5109 meters as its highest point. The peak is only exceeded in altitude by the free standing Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro. Besides, Uganda also features other large mountains some of which include Mount Elgon one of the large extinct volcanoes-situated on the Kenya border, the Great Virunga Mountains ranges found in the south on the Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The number of Uganda people increased from 9.5 million in 1969 to 24.2 million in 2002. Between 1991 and 2002 the population growth rate was indicated at 3.2%. In 2007, Uganda had a population of over 30.9 million people, estimated to grow at a rate of 3.3 percent (2008). It is mainly occupied by the Baganda, Bahima, Bakiga, Banyakole, Banyarwanda, Bunyoro, Batooro, Langi, Acholi, Lugbara, Bagisu, Basoga, Karamojong, Iteso and many more. Over 85 percent of Ugandans are Christians, 12 percent are Muslim while the rest take 2 percent. English is the official language, Luganda and several other local languages including Swahili.
Climate of Uganda
Uganda’s weather conditions are favorable ranging from the warmth of the lowland areas to the coolness of the highlands in the Southwest Kigezi. Most of the year, the country is sunny with temperatures of about 29 degrees. The average temperature in Uganda is 26 degrees Celsius with its maximum temperature at 18 to 31 degrees and minimum temperatures ranging from 15 to 23 degrees depending on the region of the country. The wet season start in March, May and November. Low rainfall is received in November and December. The rainy seasons are in the months of March to May and October to November while the dry season is experienced from December to February and June to September. The rainfall amount received in the country ranges from 500 to 2500 mm and the relative humidity is 70 to 100 percent. The rainfall regime permits 2 planting and harvesting seasons per year in most areas of Uganda without any use of irrigation methods. Over 34 percent of Uganda is occupied by wetlands with a dense network of Rivers, Lakes and Swamps, making it also one of the rich countries with fertile soils. Uganda features some of the largest Lakes in Africa which include Lake Albert and Lake Victoria.
Tourism sector in Uganda
When you hear about Uganda, the first thing that comes to your mind is the phrase “The pearl of Africa.” Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa, it features a number of wildlife species that support various safaris in the country. It offers refuge to the big five game which include the African lions, African elephants, Cape Buffaloes, Leopards, Rhinos as well as variety of savanna wildlife species in most of its safari destinations especially Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and not to forget the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and chimpanzees that are widely spread in most parts of the country. Uganda is also credited for its might Source of the Nile in Jinja that features several adrenaline adventures some of which include the white water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, sport fishing and many more. For bird lovers, Uganda is a home to over 1200 birdlife, representing over 11 percent of the world’s bird species. Among many, you can sight the elusive shoebill stork, the ostriches, the rare green breasted pittas and other African pittas, the broadbill, African skimmers, the Chapin’s flycatcher, pink backed pelican, the papyrus gonolek, the Lesser and greater flamingo, martial eagle and many more. As well, Uganda is a cultural safari given numerous cultural attractions that describe it as the boiling pot of cultures in Africa, featuring the most extra ordinary cultural encounters especially the Batwa pygmy encounters, Ik tribe, Karamojong manyatta house, traditional dances and performances and many more. You can also visit the Entebbe wildlife education center, the Sipi falls, and also catch a glimpse of the spectacular landscapes. Uganda has been ranked as number one destination for visitors for the year 2012 by Lonely Planet.
Uganda Tourism Board
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has served Uganda in making sure success and growth in tourism sector is realized for more than 15 years. This is in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry. UTB is a marketing and promoting organ for Uganda’s tourist attractions (nature, culture, wildlife, accommodation and hospitality all packed that is gifted by nature) to the world
Uganda is a presidential state in which the president of the country is both the head of State and head of Government. There a multi party system and executive power is practiced by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The system is based on a democratic parliamentary system with universal suffrage for all citizens above 18 years.
The Government of Uganda
Uganda is also known as the Republic of Uganda; its constitution was ratified in July 12 1995 and promulgated October 8th 1995. The branches include the Executive president, vice president, prime minister, cabinet, legislative parliament, judicial magistrates’ courts, high court, court of appeals (constitutional court) and Supreme Court. Over 38 political parties are registered with mainly the National Resistance Movement (NRM)-the ruling party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Democratic Party (DP), Conservative Party, Justice Forum (JEEMA) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and many more. The national day of independence is on 9th October of every year.
The economy of Uganda
Ever since President Museveni assumed power in 1986, government has taken useful steps towards economic rehabilitation and adopted policies that have facilitated rapid economic development. Uganda encountered political turmoil and devastating economic drawbacks between 1971 and 1986. This extended period of regression left the country as one of the poorest nations in the world. Under Museveni leadership Uganda initiated a broad range of economic reforms including the notable liberalization of market prices and privatization of public enterprises. These have tried to enhance economic performance and sustained economic growth at an average of 7 percent per year.
In conclusion, Uganda is credited for most of exciting attractions that are worth exploring if you are planning your safari to Africa. It features spectacular national parks that make up ten in number in the country and all offering different experiences to visitors as well as cultural safaris.