Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa – a land of great diversity, beauty and opportunity. A land of great cultural diversity and yet all united in the fact that they are a warm, welcoming and accommodative people. Little wonder, the country has been voted the best place to raise a family and also won the accolade for most welcoming country in 2017 for both security and attitude to guests.
Located in the heart of Africa, Uganda is rich in wildlife, nature, culture, heritage and history. Its biological and cultural diversity is unmatched for a country the size of Great Britain, Ghana or the American state of Oregon.
Uganda’s diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, the immense Lake Victoria, and the source of the Nile River. Its abundant wildlife includes Africa’s Big 5, chimpanzees as well as over 1070 bird species. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world. Murchison Falls National Park is known for its 43m-tall waterfall on the River Nile.
Area: 241,038 sq km (93,065 sq miles) – about the size of US state of Oregon, UK in Europe, Ghana in Africa, Ecuador in the Americas, or the Korean peninsula in Asia
CO2 emissions per capita: 0.14 metric tons (2019)
Gross national income: 97.96 billion PPP dollars (2021)
The area now known as Uganda has been inhabited for at least 50,000 years. About 3,000 years ago the Batwa, a hunter-gatherer people, became the first to migrate in present day Uganda. Today, you will find them in South West Uganda in the Mgahinga and Bwindi areas.
The area was home to various African kingdoms, including the Bunyoro-Kitara, Buganda, and Ankole kingdoms, which are some of the most prominent kingdoms in Ugandan history. These kingdoms had well-established social and political systems.
In the late 19th century, European powers, including Britain, began to colonize different parts of Africa, including Uganda. Uganda became a British protectorate in 1894.
Uganda gained independence from Britain on October 9, 1962. Uganda remains a diverse nation with over 56 ethnic groups, each contributing to its unique cultural tapestry.
Uganda is known for its diverse cultures, languages, and landscapes. It’s also home to:
Situated at the geographical heart of the African continent, Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot, as evidenced by its many indigenous languages, and an equally diverse mosaic of music, art and handicrafts.
Central Uganda has some of the oldest centralized kingdoms in Africa—with the Bunyoro, Buganda, Ankole and Tooro kingdoms going back over 600 years. Uganda is home to the graceful longhorn Ankole cattle.
Get a sampling of the Uganda cultures from different places of entertainment in Kampala. The Uganda National Theatre, art galleries and cultural centres are some of the most popular places to visit.
Black Stripe: The black stripe represents the African people of Uganda, their African heritage and the rich history of the country.
Yellow Stripe: Yellow represents the abundant sunshine Uganda enjoys, as it lies near the equator. It also signifies the country’s optimism and hope for a bright future.
Red Stripe: The red stripe symbolizes the red blood that runs in our veins, forming a common bond to all humankind.
The Crested Crane: The majestic crested crane (also known as the grey crowned crane) is the national bird of Uganda. The crane is a symbol of peace and harmony. Its leg raised in the circle is intended to convey a sense of forward progress and unity.
Birth of the Flag
The flag of Uganda was adopted on October 9, 1962, following the country’s attainment of independence from British colonial rule. Independence Day is a public holiday in Uganda.
Oh Uganda may God uphold thee,
We lay our future in thy hand,
United free for liberty
Together we’ll always stand.
Oh Uganda the land of freedom,
Our love and labour we give,
And with neighbours all,
At our country’s call
In peace and friendship we’ll live.
Oh Uganda! the land that feeds us,
By sun and fertile soil grown,
For our own dear land,
We shall always stand,
The pearl of Africa’s Crown.
Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa bordered to the east by Kenya, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south by Tanzania, to the southwest by Rwanda, and to the north by South Sudan. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region and lies within the Nile River basin.
Elevations: Highest point is Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley at 5,109 metres. Mt. Stanley part of the Rwenzori Mountain ranges, the highest range in Africa. The mountain has six permanent glaciers. However, these are receding due to climate change. Initially there were over 45 glaciers in these mountains.
Climate: Uganda straddles the equator, which results in a tropical climate with little temperature fluctuation throughout the year. The country has two dry seasons, June through August and December through February. Mean annual temperatures range from about 16°C (61°F) in the southwestern highlands to 25°C (77°F) in the northwest; but in the northeast, temperatures exceed 30°C (86°F).
Time Zone: East Africa Time Zone (UTC+3:00)
Local Currency: Ugandan Shilling
International currency: US, EU, UK pound, Kenya shilling, Tanzania shilling easily accepted here. Also Visa and Mastercard are the most widely used.
International dialing code: +256
Language: Uganda is a multilingual country with over 40 indigenous languages. English and Swahili are official languages. Luganda is widely spoken especially for business. English is spoken allover the country.
Yes, you can use a smartphone for calls and internet across Uganda.
International dialing code: +256
International Roaming: Check with your mobile service provider if your phone has international roaming enabled. This will allow you to use your phone in Uganda.
Local SIM Card: An alternative is to get a local Ugandan SIM card. This will give you a local phone number and usually, much cheaper rates.
Phone Compatibility: Ensure that your phone is unlocked and compatible with the network frequencies used in Uganda.
Internet connectivity is available in most places around Uganda and free in most accommodations. It may not be as fast as what you are used to. Most internet is by mobile connectivity and may not be available in some destinations.
Legal Matters: Remember to abide by the local regulations and laws related to phone usage. For example, while in Uganda you cannot drive and talk/text on your phone.
Visa: Most visitors to Uganda need a visa to enter. Visas are obtained online before travel: visas.immigration.go.ug. The common visa costs US$50 per person and is valid for 90 days.
Passport: Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into Uganda.
Yellow Fever Vaccination: Travelers to Uganda are required to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Some travelers might be asked to show this certificate upon entry.
COVID-19: You are no longer required to show proof of vaccination status or provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate on arrival. If transiting or departing, you should be aware of entry requirements at your final destination..
Travel Insurance: We at Kwezi Outdoors highly recommend travel insurance to cover unexpected events and medical emergencies. We may require proof of insurance if on mountain climbing (summit Rwenzori) safaris.