Basic Facts About Uganda For Anyone Planning a Uganda Safari
We compiled a list of basic facts about Uganda that will interest every traveler planning an African Safari in Uganda. Having this list will help you have a good plan for spending your safari holidays in Uganda and how you’ll handle yourself to avoid any mishaps during your trip. But first, let’s introduce you to common knowledge about Uganda;
Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda but commonly known as The Pearl of Africa, is a landlocked country across the East Africa equator and the Great Lakes region. It is about the size of Great Britain; Kenya borders Uganda in the East, Tanzania in the South, Rwanda in the South West, DRC in the West, and Sudan in the North, with a land surface of 241,039 sq km.
Uganda’s current population is 46,395,316 as of Thursday, December 17, 2020, based on the latest United Nations estimates, consisting of dozens of ethnic groups where 87% live in rural areas. The official language is English, though Swahili and Luganda are commonly spoken. English and Christianity help unite these diverse peoples, who come together in the cosmopolitan capital of Kampala. This country attained its independence as a Protectorate from Britain on 9th October 1962.
The country’s flag consists of six horizontal bands of black, yellow, and red. The official languages of its people are English and Swahili. However, a majority of the population speaks Luganda. Uganda is accessible by Air through Entebbe International Airport (EBB) and by land through Busia and Malaba in the East, Katuna in the West, and Mukula in the South.
The List of Facts about Uganda
The following are basic facts about Uganda that will help you know Uganda better through its landscape, attractions, culture, climate, economy, and many more.
- Official name: The Republic of Uganda
- Nickname: Pearl of Africa
- President: Yoweri Kaguta Museveni since 1986
- Capital City Kampala: (0.3476° N, 32.5825° E), Entebbe was the British Protectorate’s capital.
- Time Zone: EAT (UTC+3)
- Calling Code: +256
- Internet country code: .ug
- National anthem: Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty!
- Official Motto: For God and my country
- Currency: Ugandan shilling (UGX)
- National colors: black, yellow, red
- National symbol: Grey-crowned crested crane
- Government: Presidential republic. The country’s citizens elect political representatives to ensure their best interests are represented in governmental decisions. Uganda is led by the President, who acts as both the Head of Government and the Head of State. Parliamentary responsibilities, also known as the legislative branch of government, belong to the National Assembly. The National Assembly is a unicameral parliamentary body with 426 representatives. The judicial branch of government is independent of the executive and legislative branches.
- Climate: Tropical. 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 December, January, and February with annual rainfall between 1,000mm to 2,000mm. The rainy season is from mid-September to November and March to May. June to August tends to be dry. The Northeastern parts of the country are semiarid, receiving average annual rainfall as low as 100mm. The dry season is the best time to go for the gripping Gorilla Adventure Safari.
- Topography: Generally flat plateau with an altitude of 1,000m in most parts of the country. However, its location on the great African plateau and across the equator gives it a remarkable biological and physical diversity.
- The country is a product of the African Continent uplift, with the most mountainous part in the southwest that harbors the Rwenzori mountains, which form the highest mountain in Africa. Other mountains also include Mount Elgon, Virunga, Bufumbira Mountains on the southwestern border of Rwanda, the Northern Volcanoes of Uganda, and many more.
- Uganda, evergreen, is naturally endowed with water and fertility. 25% of the area is lake water, rivers, and swamps. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, 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 are close to the Congo border.
- Uganda is an ethnically and culturally diverse country. The majority are the Bantu-speaking people are the Baganda in central, Bakiga in the southwestern, Batooro andBunyoro in western at the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, Banyankole in western, Basoga from eastern Jinja, Bagisu in eastern at the foothills of Mount Elgon. Other Bantu speakers are Bagwere, Banyole, Basamia, and many more. In the north, you will find the Nilotic languages like Lango, Acholi, and Karamojong. Other Nilotes are in the east; the Iteso, Japadhola, and Lumasaba. Batwa pygmies are found near the rainforests of western Uganda.
- Religion: Christians make up 85.2% of Uganda’s population. Protestant 45.1% (Anglican 32.0%, Pentecostal 11.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.7%, Baptist .3%), Roman Catholic 39.3%, Muslim 13.7%, other 1.6%, none 0.2%.
- Outstanding, hospitable, and welcoming people. It is considered Africa’s friendliest country, according to the Inter Nations report.
- Best tourist location according to Lonely Planet In 2012
- Uganda is one of the safest, most secure, and most stable countries to visit in Africa.
- There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Uganda. One is cultural – Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (2001), and two are natural – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (1994) and Rwenzori Mountains National Park (1994).
- Uganda is the tropical fruit basket of Africa, producing bananas, pineapple, passion fruits, avocado, and many more.
- Uganda is home to one of the seven natural wonders of Africa, Lake Victoria, the Source of the Nile. The Nile River passes through 11 countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt. The Nile River is approximately 6,853 kilometers long.
- Low GDP – Around 50% of Uganda’s population survives on less than one dollar a day.
- Industry production: sugar, brewing, tobacco, cotton textiles; cement, steel production
- The most favorite sport is soccer, and their team Uganda Cranes is one to reckon with because of their continued improvement. Athletics have increasingly been a favorite, with champions topping the list, giving world champions from Kenya stiff competition in Australia’s recent Commonwealth Games. Other sports are Basketball, Rugby, and boxing.
- Kanzu is the national dress of men in the country. Women from central, eastern, west, and north-west drape a long cloth around their waists and shoulders called Suuka.
- Uganda’s tourism attraction is mostly gorillas trekking, hosting more than half of the 1000 remaining mountain gorillas.
Trending Uganda Gorilla Safaris
- Vehicles drive on the left side of the road.
- As a pedestrian, you do not have the right of way. Keep off the paved road.
- Uganda is tree lovers. For every tree cut down, you must replace it with three more.
- Uganda has 6.8% of the world’s butterfly species.
- Uganda still has untapped large crude oil and natural gas reserves and minerals such as copper, cobalt, limestone, salt, and gold.
- Home of the tallest Mountain Range in Africa – The Rwenzori Mountains, also called the Mountains of the Moon. Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley is the highest peak in Uganda. Mount Stanley (5,109m) is also the third highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro (5,895m). We conduct hiking safaris like the 9 Day Rwenzori Hiking Safari and the 3 Day Rwenzori Mountains, Mahoma Trail Hike
- Uganda claims the greater share of the largest Lake in Africa, Lake Victoria.
- Found in Eastern Uganda, Mt Elgon has the largest volcano base globally, supporting a huge ecosystem.
- Uganda is under the rule of the same president— Yoweri Museveni–since 1986.
- You should consider yourself special if you are offered a dish of fried grasshoppers (Nsenene) when you visit.
- Only in Uganda will you find a Rolex. This is not a gold watch, but it’s an omelet wrapped in a chapatti.
- Uganda is also famous for its coffee.
- The Internet connectivity in Uganda is a 4G network, and Internet data packages are cheap and easy to set up.
- Ensure your smartphone is unlocked before arrival. If you don’t have an unlocked smartphone, a local phone is cheap and easy to connect. You’ll need your passport copy to purchase a Ugandan SIM card, but voice and data roaming are applicable anywhere in Uganda.
- Uganda has pleasant weather all year round due to its elevation and location. The regular rainfall and ample fertile land make most of its population engaged in agriculture and related work.
- Uganda is the world’s second-most populous landlocked country in Africa, after Ethiopia.
- Lake Albert is the lowest point in Uganda at 621m.
- Uganda has more Chimpanzees than any other East African Country.
- The Ssese Islands is a hidden Tropical Island Chain in Lake Victoria with great white sand beaches for relaxing and thick forests for a birding experience. Make sure you visit it.
- The main means of transportation in Uganda are bicycles and, recently increasingly, bodabodas.
- Uganda is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to alcohol consumption.
- The Ugandan cook wastes nothing. He will cook and enjoy an animal’s liver, stomach, intestines, tongue, head, and hooves.
- If you are a foreigner, you are a “mzungu.”
- Uganda is Africa’s Banana Republic, with Matooke being the main staple food; it’s made from unripened mashed bananas cooked in banana leaves.
- Mass public transit is a white mini-van called a “taxi.” A private car for hire is called a “special hire.”
- The two major English-language newspapers are “The New Vision” and “The Daily Monitor.”
- A polite way of going to the washroom is called “making a short call.”
- Potatoes are called “Irish.”
- There is no airport departure taxi at Entebbe International Airport.
- Christians and Muslims live together in harmony in Uganda.
- If someone says, “You’ve grown fat,” it’s a compliment.
- Peanuts are called groundnuts or g-nuts.
- Baganda women and girls kneel when greeting.
- Uganda hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa.
- Main Exports include tourism, Coffee, Fish, and related fish products, tea, tobacco, cotton, corn, beans, and Sesame.
- Most banks, including ABSA, Standard Chartered, Stanbic, DTB, take Visa-related ATM cards. It is a cash-based economy with few facilities to support cashless transactions.
- Life Expectancy is 54 years for men and 55 years for women.
- Uganda is one of the Youngest nations in the World, with 77% of its population being under 30 years of age. There is 7,310,386 youth from the ages of 15–24 years of age living in Uganda.
- Mobile Money Transfer is the easiest way to send money or pay bills across the country. Deforestation, soil erosion, overgrazing, and hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria are some of the environmental issues Uganda faces.
- Uganda is losing a lot of its forest cover due to the increasing demand for charcoal and firewood to sustain life.
- Uganda Gorilla Permits costs $700 per person (2024), cheaper than Rwanda’s at $1,500.
These facts about Uganda will be updated regularly. Be sure to check back soon for more facts about Uganda.