Uganda

All You Need to Know About Uganda

Are you planning your Uganda safari all ready to do gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, wildlife tour, cultural tour or birding safari? Whatever your interest and reason for a Uganda safari, it is important that you plan well and have enough facts for a great Uganda experience. Explore a brief history about Uganda shown below;

Uganda's Political History

The country occupies an area of 241,551 km², compared Uganda is slightly smaller than the UK or slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Oregon.

The country’s highest point is Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley (5,110 m), a mountain located in the Rwenzori range within Rwenzori National Park.

Uganda has a population of 34.8 million people, making it the world’s second most populous landlocked country after Ethiopia. Largest city and capital is Kampala. Spoken languages are English (official), Luganda (a major language of Uganda), Swahili, and other native languages.

How did Uganda get its name?

Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala.

Uganda on the World Map

Uganda is a landlocked country located in East AfricaUganda is bordered to the east by Kenya, in the west it is bordered to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the north by South Sudan, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania.

Key Facts About Uganda

Official Name The Republic of Uganda
Location on World map East African Region
Population 41.49 million (2016)
Area (Square Miles) 241,038 sq km (93,072 sq miles)
Population Density (SQM) 157.1 per sq km.
Current President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Capital City Kampala
Neighbors Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan, DR Congo, Tanzania

Uganda’s Past Serving Presidents

Political Tenure Presidents
09 October 1963 – 02 March 1966 Sir Edward Muteesa II
15 April 1966 to 25 January 1971 Apollo Milton Obote I
25 January 1971 to 11 April 1979 Idi Amin Dada (Field Marshall)
13 April 1979 to 20 June 1979 Yusuf Lule Kironde
20 June 1979 – 12 May 1980 Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa
17 Dec 1980 – 27 July 1985 Apollo Milton Obote II
29 July 1985 to 26 January 1986 Tito Okello Lutwa (General)
26 January 1986 – Up To Date Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

 

The Presidential Album

The president of Uganda is Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who came to power in January 1986 after a protracted six-year guerrilla war. Since 1986, in which Ugandan politics have been dominated by the National Resistance Movement.

Fun and Serious Facts about Uganda – The Pearl of Africa

Fun and Serious Facts about Uganda. If you’re traveling to Uganda and want to have the most enjoyable time – get to know about Uganda before you arrive. Become familiar with the Pearl of Africa – If you have questions about the country– please write to us and if you like us to help you to plan your visit to the Pearl of Africa– we would be delighted to do so.

Enjoy our ever-growing list of Fun and not so Fun Facts about Uganda – we have enjoyed putting it together for you.

Uganda - The Pearl of Africa

  1. Official Name – Republic of Uganda
  2. Official Motto – “For God and my County.”
  3. President – Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
  4. Capital City – Kampala –
  5. Year of Independence – 1962
  6. Crested Crane is Uganda’s official Bird.
  7. Official Nickname – the Pearl of Africa.

Uganda Social Cultural Life

  1. Major Languages – English (Official), Swahili (Official),
  2. Luganda and various Bantu and Nilotic Languages
  3. Major Religions – Christianity and Islam
  4. Monetary Unit – Ugandan Shilling Official – Unofficial – US Dollar
  5. Gross National Income per person – 510 USD

Uganda Economic Structure

  1. Main Exports – Tourism, Coffee, Fish and related fish products, tea, tobacco, cotton, corn, beans, Sesame.
  2. The small country of Uganda is Africa’s Banana Republic – it grows more Bananas than any other nation – except India and China – over 50 varieties Matooke-a plantain banana is the chief staple in the much of the country.

Food to Enjoy in Uganda

  1. Uganda’s favorite Fast-Food is Rolex– not the watch but a chapati filled with scrambled eggs and anything else from vegetables to sausage.
  2. Uganda has the best pineapple you have ever eaten. Yet little of it is consumed in the West.
  3. Uganda is the Tropical Fruit Basket of Africa.
  4. Ugandans like their Nsenene Grasshoppers – one of their favorite snacks

Uganda's Natural Endowments

  1. The largest lake in Africa is Lake Victoria and Uganda lays claim to much of it.
  2. The Ssese Islands is a hidden Tropical Island Chain in Lake Victoria
  3. Uganda –  Home of the  Lake Victoria and Source of Nile one of the 7 natural wonders of Africa
  4. Uganda – Home of the tallest Mountain Range in Africa – The Rwenzori Mountains also referred to as the Mountains of the Moon.

Uganda's Tourist Attractions

  1. Uganda is for the birds – it has 11% of the birds found in the world – over 1060 recorded species of birds – making it the number one country in Africa for Birders.
  2. Uganda is home to over half of all Mountain Gorillas in the world 480 of them out of 880 – 15 habituated gorilla groups to be visited.
  3. Uganda has more Chimpanzees than any other East African County (5000)
  4. Uganda has more Butterflies of every color than other East African Country

Uganda Climate

Uganda’s climate allows you to visit any time of the year. Uganda is a tropical country and much of it lies on the African plateau between 900-1,500 meters above sea level. This gives Uganda a pleasant tropical climate, with temperatures averaging between 21 and 28 degrees Celsius during the day and between 12 and 18 degrees Celsius at night making it great for your gorilla trekking, wildlife safaris and birding tour throughout the year.

In Uganda days are warm, but it almost invariably rains, except in the very driest months of January and February. It can get very cool at night. The year-round weather stays within this range.

The hottest months are from December to February, with 28 to 30 degrees Celsius. The rainy seasons are from April to May and October to November, it can rain for a short while in Uganda before the sun comes out so do not hesitate to visit even during the ‘rainy’ months, so do not hesitant to book your gorilla safari, wildlife safari or birding safari.

For those wanting to hike in the Rwenzori, the periods of December to February are advised or June to August. The Karamoja region which is home to Pian UPe game reserve, Bokora-Matheniko game reserve and Kidepo valley national park has one rainy season which runs from May – Sept.

Time Uganda moves with East African Standard time. GMT+3

 

PASSPORT & VISA INFORMATION

Each traveller must be in possession of a passport that will remain valid for at least six months beyond the completion of his/her trip.  Travellers should check for visa requirements pertaining to their citizenship, as entry requirements vary.

What’s the Weather Like in Uganda?

Uganda’s weather conditions are ideal , ranging from the warmth of the lowland areas to the coolness of the highlands in the South West Kigezi.

Temperature in Uganda

For the most of the year, Uganda is sunny with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees. The average temperature is about 26 degrees C, with a maximum of 18-31 degrees and minimum of 15-23 degrees depending on the part of the country.

When is the Best time to visit Uganda?

Seasons The rain season is March-May. Light rain season is November and December.Wet seasons are March –May & October-November; dry seasons are December to February & June to August.

Rainfall ranges between 500mm to 2500 mm & the relative humidity is 70% -100%

The rainfall regime allows two planting and harvesting seasons a year in most parts of the country, without the use of irrigation.

Terrain About 34% of the country is covered in wetlands with a dense network of rivers,lakes and swamps. Generally, the country is endowed with fertile soils. Uganda has Lake Albert,Lake Victoria which is the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world and also the source of the Nile.

 

The Best Honeymoon Destinations in Uganda

Planning for the honeymoon is as hectic as planning the big day itself, everyone wants to go to some place perfect where they can relax and start the first few days of their new journey. Uganda has a number of these places scattered all over the country, even within Kampala itself.

Ssese Islands

Situated Northwest of the lake victoria, these islands will take your breath away;with beautiful beaches and lovely lodges/villas/hotels such as Ssese Islands Beach Hotel that can be found anywhere on the islands, you would definitely fall in love with them all. Banda island is a good place for anyone interested in some old backpacking experience, the islands have a romantic feel to them and all you have to do is relax plus enjoy the island holiday.

Jinja Nile Resort

Probably one of the most loved destinations, Jinja has it all; you will even find places for the thrill seekers and adrenalin junkies. Jinja district is located in the east of Uganda and has hotels with very good hotels such as Jinja Nile Resort that can cater to your every vacation needs. The town is located north of the lake and just right next to the longest river in the world, the Nile.

Mihingo Safari Lodge

This lodge is so favourite among the many honey mooners that visit Uganda. This is a fantastic lodge and each of its tented cottage is isolated from the other with great views starting from the bathrooms, you will have a most impressive view of the African Bush. You will find the horse riding tours as well as the swimming pool with a great view.

Mweya Safari Lodge

This lodge has got many rooms with variety of options like the tented cottage that will give you the decisive privacy to the honey mooners. There are also the private cottages that are near the tents with a good view of the Kazinga channel with lots of wildlife and birds. Many of those who come for honey moons at Mweya safari lodge in Queen Elizabeth National park.

Below are the top honeymoon destinations in Uganda as well as Rwanda for those interested in spending their honeymoon in the pearl of Africa. These are mostly high class, frill lodges since these facilities enhance more quality to a honeymoon vacation and they also complement the price of the whole safari

 

Uganda has a multitude of cultural tourism sites and events reflecting the diversity of over 40 tribes. The country has many chiefdom’s and kingdoms with a rich history from the past. They have no political powers but have cultural influence, some of these are active while others are inactive. The country’s most ancient inhabitants, confined to the hilly southwest are the Batwa.

The Bantu, specifically the Baganda, inhabit the central region and their history is more synonymous with that of Uganda. The other Bantu tribes include Banyankore, Batooro, Bakiga, Banyoro – all in the west and Basoga in Eastern Uganda.  The Northern corridor and the Eastern section of the country are predominantly inhabited by the nilotics that include Itesots, Acholis, langis and Alur among others. These tribes mainly lived a nomadic life but later adapted to faming to supplement their livelihood.

The central Sudanese people, most of who live in the north western part of the country include the lugbaras and madis, among others and have a common language and very similar cultural practices. Despite the multiple dialects, there are two languages which are widely spoken across the country; that is, English which is the official language and Swahili, however not everyone is fluent in each of the languages but you will find that almost everyone has a little understanding of the English language.

Culture everywhere is described by dance and drama as the most components of cultural ceremonies along with songs and this is exactly what you can expect to witness on your cultural trip in Uganda. There are other ceremonies and passage rites like birth rites, marriage, and initiation which are held with high regard in the different cultures and may be different in many ways.

There are several other historical, Archaeological and religious sites that offer a remarkable experience and a deep understanding of the country. Achieve Global Safaris team possesses great knowledge of the cultural sites in Uganda and will tailor you a great cultural tour in Uganda if you just contact us!

 

Best Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors-Safari Travelers & Tourists to Uganda-the Pearl of Africa

This Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors page is to make your time here an enjoyable one, keep your sense of humor, put away your schedule at times and remember that relationships are more important than 20 minutes.

Enjoy Uganda and read the Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors before you go.

Uganda will be a life-changing experience for most, no matter if you are coming as a business traveler, or going on a Safari with us.

Travel to anywhere can be stressful and wear one out rather quickly and often because a traveler is ill-informed as to what to expect in Uganda. Uganda is Africa and Africa no matter what your background or your country of origin is different. Uganda is a different experience and it is best to be prepared and to be in the Know before you Go.

Preparing for your Trip to Uganda:

Coming to Africa, coming to Uganda, takes a bit of preparation, a bit of planning and it is best to use the services of a tour company such as Cars 4 Hire Rwanda that will aid you to make your time in Uganda a pleasure.

Read up about Uganda, both on our website which has lots of helpful information about Uganda which will be most helpful. However read out local newspapers, join us on facebook for daily updates about the Pearl of Africa.

Traveling to Africa is unlike any other trip you have ever taken, it is best to be ready.

Read books. we have some suggestions, read local newspapers, watch a few National Geographic Films, you might want to watch Gorillas in the Mist, or Out of Africa to get you ready for your Safari in Africa.

Money Matters

The Ugandan shilling is issued in denominations of 1000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 shillings for notes, while coins are issued in denominations of  10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 shillings. The local currency can be obtained at authorised facilities (such as banks and foreign exchange bureaus). Foreign currency can also be changed at the airport on arrival. Many establishments will only change USD issued after the year 2003. Be aware that only paper currency will normally be accepted for exchange. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted outside of Kampala. In Uganda, credit card use is usually restricted to major banks and hotels and most shops will not accept other methods of payment other than cash. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp accepts Visa, MasterCard, Amex and JCB credit cards which attract a surcharge of 5%.

Tipping

Tipping is not compulsory, nor are there any fixed amounts. The customary gratuity is about 10% of the cost of the service. Tips are usually given in Uganda Shillings or US Dollars.

Driver-Guide in Bwindi: a tip of about US$10 per transfer is appropriate for your transfer driver.

On a Gorilla Track: If you choose to take a porter (highly recommended), the minimum recommended tip is US$15 per traveller per track.

Guides (usually 1 per group), Trackers (usually 2-3 per group) and Security personnel (usually 2-4 per group) do earn salaries.

A recommended tip of about US$20 per day of tracking per traveller may be placed in the appropriate tip box for your gorilla group (found at Park Headquarters) for distribution amongst  the staff.

Weather & Temperature in Uganda
What’s the Weather Like in Uganda?

Uganda’s weather conditions are ideal , ranging from the warmth of the lowland areas to the coolness of the highlands in the South West Kigezi.

Temperature in Uganda

For the most of the year, Uganda is sunny with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees. The average temperature is about 26 degrees C, with a maximum of 18-31 degrees and minimum of 15-23 degrees depending on the part of the country.

When is the Best time to visit Uganda?

Seasons The rain season is March-May. Light rain season is November and December.Wet seasons are March –May & October-November; dry seasons are December to February & June to August.

Rainfall ranges between 500mm to 2500 mm & the relative humidity is 70% -100%

The rainfall regime allows two planting and harvesting seasons a year in most parts of the country, without the use of irrigation.

Terrain About 34% of the country is covered in wetlands with a dense network of rivers,lakes and swamps. Generally, the country is endowed with fertile soils. Uganda has Lake Albert,Lake Victoria which is the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world and also the source of the Nile.

Honeymoon Holidays in Uganda

 

The Best Honeymoon Destinations in Uganda

Planning for the honeymoon is as hectic as planning the big day itself, everyone wants to go to some place perfect where they can relax and start the first few days of their new journey. Uganda has a number of these places scattered all over the country, even within Kampala itself.

Ssese Islands

Situated Northwest of the lake victoria, these islands will take your breath away;with beautiful beaches and lovely lodges/villas/hotels such as Ssese Islands Beach Hotel that can be found anywhere on the islands, you would definitely fall in love with them all. Banda island is a good place for anyone interested in some old backpacking experience, the islands have a romantic feel to them and all you have to do is relax plus enjoy the island holiday.

Jinja Nile Resort

Probably one of the most loved destinations, Jinja has it all; you will even find places for the thrill seekers and adrenalin junkies. Jinja district is located in the east of Uganda and has hotels with very good hotels such as Jinja Nile Resort that can cater to your every vacation needs. The town is located north of the lake and just right next to the longest river in the world, the Nile.

Mihingo Safari Lodge

This lodge is so favourite among the many honey mooners that visit Uganda. This is a fantastic lodge and each of its tented cottage is isolated from the other with great views starting from the bathrooms, you will have a most impressive view of the African Bush. You will find the horse riding tours as well as the swimming pool with a great view.

Mweya Safari Lodge

This lodge has got many rooms with variety of options like the tented cottage that will give you the decisive privacy to the honey mooners. There are also the private cottages that are near the tents with a good view of the Kazinga channel with lots of wildlife and birds. Many of those who come for honey moons at Mweya safari lodge in Queen Elizabeth National park.

Below are the top honeymoon destinations in Uganda as well as Rwanda for those interested in spending their honeymoon in the pearl of Africa. These are mostly high class, frill lodges since these facilities enhance more quality to a honeymoon vacation and they also complement the price of the whole safari

Explore Uganda Culture

 

Uganda has a multitude of cultural tourism sites and events reflecting the diversity of over 40 tribes. The country has many chiefdom’s and kingdoms with a rich history from the past. They have no political powers but have cultural influence, some of these are active while others are inactive. The country’s most ancient inhabitants, confined to the hilly southwest are the Batwa.

The Bantu, specifically the Baganda, inhabit the central region and their history is more synonymous with that of Uganda. The other Bantu tribes include Banyankore, Batooro, Bakiga, Banyoro – all in the west and Basoga in Eastern Uganda.  The Northern corridor and the Eastern section of the country are predominantly inhabited by the nilotics that include Itesots, Acholis, langis and Alur among others. These tribes mainly lived a nomadic life but later adapted to faming to supplement their livelihood.

The central Sudanese people, most of who live in the north western part of the country include the lugbaras and madis, among others and have a common language and very similar cultural practices. Despite the multiple dialects, there are two languages which are widely spoken across the country; that is, English which is the official language and Swahili, however not everyone is fluent in each of the languages but you will find that almost everyone has a little understanding of the English language.

Culture everywhere is described by dance and drama as the most components of cultural ceremonies along with songs and this is exactly what you can expect to witness on your cultural trip in Uganda. There are other ceremonies and passage rites like birth rites, marriage, and initiation which are held with high regard in the different cultures and may be different in many ways.

There are several other historical, Archaeological and religious sites that offer a remarkable experience and a deep understanding of the country. Achieve Global Safaris team possesses great knowledge of the cultural sites in Uganda and will tailor you a great cultural tour in Uganda if you just contact us!

Uganda Travel Tips and Advice

 

Best Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors-Safari Travelers & Tourists to Uganda-the Pearl of Africa

This Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors page is to make your time here an enjoyable one, keep your sense of humor, put away your schedule at times and remember that relationships are more important than 20 minutes.

Enjoy Uganda and read the Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors before you go.

Uganda will be a life-changing experience for most, no matter if you are coming as a business traveler, or going on a Safari with us.

Travel to anywhere can be stressful and wear one out rather quickly and often because a traveler is ill-informed as to what to expect in Uganda. Uganda is Africa and Africa no matter what your background or your country of origin is different. Uganda is a different experience and it is best to be prepared and to be in the Know before you Go.

Preparing for your Trip to Uganda:

Coming to Africa, coming to Uganda, takes a bit of preparation, a bit of planning and it is best to use the services of a tour company such as Cars 4 Hire Rwanda that will aid you to make your time in Uganda a pleasure.

Read up about Uganda, both on our website which has lots of helpful information about Uganda which will be most helpful. However read out local newspapers, join us on facebook for daily updates about the Pearl of Africa.

Traveling to Africa is unlike any other trip you have ever taken, it is best to be ready.

Read books. we have some suggestions, read local newspapers, watch a few National Geographic Films, you might want to watch Gorillas in the Mist, or Out of Africa to get you ready for your Safari in Africa.

Money Matters

The Ugandan shilling is issued in denominations of 1000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 shillings for notes, while coins are issued in denominations of  10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 shillings. The local currency can be obtained at authorised facilities (such as banks and foreign exchange bureaus). Foreign currency can also be changed at the airport on arrival. Many establishments will only change USD issued after the year 2003. Be aware that only paper currency will normally be accepted for exchange. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted outside of Kampala. In Uganda, credit card use is usually restricted to major banks and hotels and most shops will not accept other methods of payment other than cash. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp accepts Visa, MasterCard, Amex and JCB credit cards which attract a surcharge of 5%.

Tipping

Tipping is not compulsory, nor are there any fixed amounts. The customary gratuity is about 10% of the cost of the service. Tips are usually given in Uganda Shillings or US Dollars.

Driver-Guide in Bwindi: a tip of about US$10 per transfer is appropriate for your transfer driver.

On a Gorilla Track: If you choose to take a porter (highly recommended), the minimum recommended tip is US$15 per traveller per track.

Guides (usually 1 per group), Trackers (usually 2-3 per group) and Security personnel (usually 2-4 per group) do earn salaries.

A recommended tip of about US$20 per day of tracking per traveller may be placed in the appropriate tip box for your gorilla group (found at Park Headquarters) for distribution amongst  the staff.