A multicultural country in East Africa whose diverse landscape encompasses the snowcapped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria – the principal source of the great River Nile. With abundant wildlife such as Chimpanzees, Gorillas, famous Big 5 at our 10 Savannah parks, and 1000+ rare bird species. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary, while Kidepo Valley National contends for best destination in Africa for wild game drives.
Game drives are a highlight of your visit to the Savannah national parks while on your wildlife safaris. Game drives can also be incorporated in your other Uganda safaris like the gorilla trekking, birding safari, and cultural safari itineraries by adding extra days to a Savannah national park. They provide the best way to explore the numerous national parks in custom-made safari vehicles such as; Safari vans, Land cruisers, and the larger Coaster buses which are comfortable enough while on safari. In Uganda, the most visited Savannah national parks are Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park. There are six other National Parks and twelve Wildlife Reserves.
Southern Uganda lies at an altitude of 1,134 meters above sea level. The plateau that stretches northward from Lake Victoria declines gradually to an altitude of 914 meters on the Sudan border. The gradually sloping terrain is interrupted by a shallow basin dipping toward the center of the country and small areas of tropical forest, which mark the western border with DRC.
Both eastern and western borders are marked by mountains. The Ruwenzori Mountains (often called the Mountains of the Moon) form about eighty kilometers of the border between Uganda and Zaire. The highest peaks of Mount Stanley, in the Ruwenzori’s, are snowcapped. Foremost among these are Margherita (5,113 meters) and Alexandra (5,094 meters). Farther south, the northernmost of the Mufumbiro volcanoes reach 4,132 meters on Mount Mahavura; 3,648 meters on Mount Mgahinga; and 3,477 meters on Mount Sabinyo, which marks the border with Rwanda and DRC.
In eastern Uganda, the border with Kenya is also marked by volcanic hills. Dominating these, roughly 120 kilometers north of the equator, is Mount Elgon, which rises from the 1,200-meter plains to reach a height of 4,324 meters. Mount Elgon is the cone of an extinct volcano, with ridges radiating thirty kilometers from its crater. Rich soil from its slopes is eroded into the plains below. North of Mount Elgon is Kadam (also known as Debasien or Tabasiat) Peak, which reaches a height of 3,054 meters, and Mount Moroto, at 3,085 meters. In the far northeast, Mount Zulia, Mount Morungole, and the Labwor and Dodoth Hills reach heights in excess of 2,000 meters. The lower Imatong Mountains and Mount Langia, at 3,029 meters, mark the border with Sudan.
Uganda is a well-watered country. Nearly one-fifth of the total area, or 44,000 square kilometers, is open water or swampland. Four of East Africa’s Great Lakes–Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward–lie within Uganda or on its borders. Lake Victoria dominates the southeastern corner of the nation, with almost one-half of its 10,200-square-kilometer area lying inside Ugandan territory. It is the second-largest inland freshwater lake in the world (after Lake Superior), and it feeds the upper waters of the Nile River, which is referred to in this region as the Victoria Nile.
Lake Kyoga and the surrounding basin dominate central Uganda. Extensions of Lake Kyoga include Lake Kwania, Lake Bugondo, and Lake Opeta. These “finger lakes” are surrounded by swampland during rainy seasons. All lakes in the Lake Kyoga Basin are shallow, usually reaching a depth of only eight or nine meters, and Lake Opeta forms a separate lake during dry seasons. Along the border with Zaire, Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and Lake George occupy troughs in the western Rift Valley.
Leaving Lake Victoria at Owen Falls, the Victoria Nile descends as it travels toward the northwest. Widening to form Lake Kyoga, the Nile receives the Kafu River from the west before flowing north to Lake Albert. From Lake Albert, the Nile is known as the Albert Nile as it travels roughly 200 kilometers to the Sudan border. In southern and western Uganda, geological activity over several centuries has shifted drainage patterns. The land west of Lake Victoria is traversed by valleys that were once rivers carrying the waters of Lake Victoria into the Congo River system. The Katonga River flows westward from Lake Victoria to Lake George. Lake George and Lake Edward are connected by the Kizinga Channel. The Semliki River flows into Lake Edward from the north, where it drains parts of Zaire and forms a portion of the Uganda-Zaire border.
Spectacular waterfalls occur at Murchison (Kabalega) Falls on the Victoria Nile River just east of Lake Albert. At the narrowest point on the falls, the waters of the Nile pass through an opening barely seven meters wide. One of the tributaries of the Albert Nile, the Zoka River, drains the northwestern corner of Uganda, a region still popularly known as the West Nile although that name was not officially recognized in 1989. Other major rivers include the Achwa River (called the Aswa in Sudan) in the north, the Pager River and the Dopeth-Okok River in the northeast, and the Mpologoma River, which drains into Lake Kyoga from the southeast.
Uganda is a birder’s paradise. Over half of all bird species in Africa can be found here, making it one of the richest birding destinations on the continent. Crammed into this diminutive country is an astonishingly rich diversity of habitats, from the scenic shores of Uganda’s many great lakes to the lush forests of the Albertine Rift and the banks of the mighty Nile River.
The most prized species here is the incredibly rare, prehistoric-looking shoebill, located among the papyrus swamps. Keep an eye out for the beautiful grey-crowned crane – these elegant birds have wild goldcrests and sport the same colors as the Ugandan flag (red, yellow, and black) – it is the country’s national bird. The saddle-billed stork also displays the flag’s colors proudly across its vivid beak.
The present country of Uganda was forged by the British between 1890 and 1926. The name of Uganda was derived from the ancient Kingdom of Buganda.
The earliest inhabitants of Uganda were the Stone -Age People. These people were gradually absorbed or replaced in the first millennium A.D. by the incoming agriculturists and pastoralists. At the time of the coming of the British, there were over thirty ethnic and cultural groups in Uganda. These ethnic communities could conveniently be divided into four broad linguistic categories namely; the Bantu, the Luo, the Atekerin, and the Sudanic.
Flanked today by the city of Jinja, the waterfall described by Speke now lies submerged beneath the Owen Falls Dam, Uganda’s main source of hydro-electric power. Still, a visit to the source of the Nile remains a moving and wondrous experience, no less so to those who have seen the same river as it flows past the ancient Egyptian temples of Luxor some 6,000 km downstream.
The source of the Nile alluded to hazily in the ancient writings of Ptolemy, stood as one of the great geographical mysteries of the Victorian Age. Closer to home, the Nile downriver from Jinja offers some superb white water rafting and game fishing. Its crowning glory, however, is Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river funnels through a narrow fissure in the Rift Escarpment to erupt out of the other side in a crashing 43 meters plume of white water. The river below the falls is no less spectacular in its own way, with its profuse birdlife, thousands of hippos, and outsized, gape-mouthed crocodiles.
Take a walk around Kampala on any given afternoon, and you’d be forgiven for guessing the nightlife is pretty quiet. The laid-back nature of the people might lead you to believe that they all head to bed early, after a cup of hot chocolate and some prime-time TV.
The reality couldn’t be more different.
In fact, Kampala’s night scene bangs every night of the week. A young, fun, and friendly crowd keep the wheels turning until sunrise, and the list of bars and clubs is endless, with something for everyone. In fact, the nightlife here has made Kampala somewhat notorious as the party city of the region.
If you’re ready to get your taste, here’s a look at six spots you could check out during your visit to the city.
Uganda is home to 20 primate species with Kibale National Park containing the highest density in all of Africa with a total of 13 including the recently discovered Dwarf Galago. As well as the chimpanzee and gorilla, the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, l’Hoest’s, and blue monkeys, and olive baboons can be seen during game drives, launch trips or nature walks, along with smaller nocturnal species such as the bushbaby and potto. Mgahinga National Park also contains one of the last remaining habitats of the endangered golden monkey.