Uganda Holiday Guide – A Complete Guide to Gorilla Trekking & Wildlife Viewing in Uganda
Known to few tourists, Uganda is currently the best travel destination in Africa. A Uganda Holiday Guide Safari to this untouched nature haven is a lifetime experience which comes with different adventure activities like gorilla trekking, wildlife viewing, bird watching, whitewater rafting, cultural walks and many more. Surprisingly, this small country has the highest number of mountain gorillas and this is the reason why primate lovers book short safari excursions to Uganda to have a glance at these great apes.
Are you interested in exploring Uganda on a complete round-trip or a combined tour to Rwanda? Book with us now for a tailored safari which takes your personal needs into consideration and all your wishes. We are ready to take care of your travel dream to Africa by arranging a thrilling Uganda Safari holiday. From the day you arrive into the country,we have arranged everything. You will find all your accommodation booked, tour activities arranged and a well trained guide to take you around the country. Come and we take you on a journey of discovering through the pearl of Africa!
What you need to know about Uganda
Overview of Uganda
Uganda is a country with no coastline located in the east African region. It is labeled as the pearl of Africa due to its unique green landscapes that exist across all regions. It is neighbored by South Sudan in the North, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, Kenya in the east, Tanzania in the south but the area that separates Uganda from Tanzania is mostly occupied by Lake Victoria and finally Rwanda at the bottom of the southwest. This wonderful country gets its name Uganda from its dominant kingdom the Buganda kingdom named by its colonial master the British during the scramble and partition of Africa in the 1800s. During the colonial time, its capital and the administrative state was Entebbe but later after the independence, Kampala city was made the capital up to date. Uganda got her independence from Britain on 9th October 1962.
Facts about Uganda
Official name: Republic of Uganda.
Capital: Kampala City
Surface area: 236580 sq km
Official language: English but Luganda dominantly spoken by the locals
Population: 40,322768 million (according to 2016 census)
Population growth rate: about 3% per year
Life expectancy: about 53 years.
What is the Political situation in Uganda?
Uganda is a democratic country whereby the president is elected by the people of Uganda. The government has three administrative organs that are independent from each other the executive which is led by the president, judiciary led by the chief justice and the parliament led by the speaker of parliament. Its current president is His Excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Uganda is a peaceful country it has never been hit by any major political instability since the last coup that took place in the early 1980s. There have been minor instabilities in the country like the northern civil war caused by the lord resistance army in the early 2000s and the Buganda riot that happened in 2009. Fortunately enough all were silenced in a dialogue manner and since then nothing security threatening has happened.
What is the Geography of Uganda
Uganda is situated on the east African plateau, lying between latitudes 4⁰north and 2⁰south and the longitudes 29⁰ West and 35⁰ East. It is sandwiched by the equator the mid line of the planet earth. Its average altitude is about 1100 meter (3,609ft) above sea level. Its lowest point is located in the Albertine rift which is the hottest area and highest point is the Margherita peak of mountain rwenzori which is the coolest area in Uganda. Uganda lies in the great lakes region and in the Nile basin and it has very many water bodies with in some of the notable ones are lake Victoria , river Nile, River Kafu Edward, George, Kyoga, Bunyonyi, Mutanda, and Albert. It has also both volcanic and block mountains with fertile soils and great physical features. These mountains include Rwenzori, Elgon, and Moroto to mention but the few.
What is the Climate of Uganda
Meteorologists indicate that Uganda receives an equatorial type of climate in general but the climate varies across regions as the altitude blends the climate. Southern of the country which has the great lakes and also has very many ranges/ mountains is wetter with rain relatively spread through the year. In the central part of the country areas near Lake Victoria receive rain from March to June and November, December and February it rains occasionally. The northern part near the borders of South Sudan Gulu, Arua, and Lira receive a drier climate in the months of November to February.
Most areas of the northeast, Karamoja region receive a semi arid type of climate whereby they mostly receive dry spells, rainfall is very rare and these areas are liable to droughts at times.
Culture and the People of Uganda
Demographic and People
The country is divided into districts that are situated across four constitutional regions; central, eastern, northern, and western region. The districts are later divided into divisions and counties then parishes till village levels.
Uganda is a heterogeneous country with different tribes of people in its very many regions and districts. The major ethnic groups in Uganda are the Bantu speaking people that live in the central, south, west and eastern region of the country and the Nilotics and Nilohamites occupy the northern region but all these ethnic groups work and live together and intermarriages take place. However, Ugandan people are strongly attached to different cultural and traditional norms and rituals of their different tribes or ethnic group. There is also free movement and settlement of people across all regions.
The most dominate tribe in Uganda is the Baganda tribe that is located in the central region. Baganda tribe is among the few tribes in Uganda still with a highly recognized and respected king called the Kabaka.
There are very many languages spoken by different tribes in Uganda but the official language in Uganda is English and Swahili. However, Luganda language originally spoken by the Baganda tribe is widely spoken by people across different regions of Uganda.
The number of religions in Uganda is unknown as there are very many sects of religion that people follow. However, the recognized religions in Uganda are only three i.e. Christianity being centered by Catholics, Anglicans, Adventists, Evangelists and Pentecostals and other two religions are Islam and local traditional beliefs. Christianity takes up the largest percentage with over 84% of Uganda and 12% Islam and the remaining 6% belong to traditional beliefs and those who do not have any faith.
The Economy of Uganda
Uganda is an agro based country with natural resources which include ample fertile lands, regular rain falls and mineral deposit. Agricultural sector employs a whopping percentage of 82% of the Labour force in Uganda and rest percentage is employed by other sectors like manufacturing and service sectors. Uganda’s gross domestic product (GDP) is ranked 104th in the world meaning that Uganda is among the less productive countries in the world but its GDP growth is at 5.6% ranked 46th in the world meaning that Uganda’s economy is among the top 50 fast growing in the world. Uganda’s main export is coffee followed by fish, cotton, flowers and horticultural products. The 17 million people of the Labour force, 75% is employed in the informal sector and the 25% in the formal sector.
Uganda has an infant banking sector and there are a handful of banks in Uganda. It is only 18-21% of the population engages in banking services according to 2013 research report by Bank of Uganda. But however, this has been boosted by invention of mobile money services where by money transactions are being carried out by local telecom companies.
Fortunately Uganda has most of the banking ancillary services used internationally like electronic transfers through the use of visa, debit and credit cards. There are also forex bureaus in Uganda wherefore exchanges are carried out. The main foreign currencies exchanged in Uganda are us dollars, pound sterling, Kenya shillings, Euros, Japanese yen. The US Dollar is highly recognized as one can make a transaction in modern hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and tourism destinations with the currency.
Which type of Transport is Used in Uganda?
The transport sector in Uganda is still very young but quiet promising to get to the top level. There are four main types of transports in Uganda that is the road, air, railway and water transport. We shall emphases more on road transport and air transport that are mainly used by travelers in Uganda.
This is the main type of transport in Uganda. The road network in Uganda is covered by the marram and tarmac roads. The tarmac roads are largely found in large cities and also on the routes leading to major places like tourism destinations, commercial cities and main industries. The roads in Uganda are relatively small compared to our counterparts in the western world.
The main means of road transport are:
Commuter Taxis/Matatus: These are locally known as taxis in Uganda. These taxis are in van form and designed in white with blue stripes. There are always on the busy routes leading to various outskirt places of Kampala city. These are the main public means of transport in Uganda.
Special hire/cabs: In the western world, they are known as the taxis. These private taxis were commonly known to be owned by driver individuals but this transport business is growing everyday as now established companies are coming up which include Uber taxis, friendship taxis, premium taxis and city cabs to mention but a few. These are normally do door to door or point to point drop offs.
Bodaboda/motorbikes: They are referred to as the quickest and most convenient public means of road transport in the city due to their ability to beat off the hectic Kampala traffic jam. However, they are related with insecurity and un-safety problems as they are the major causes of road accidents in the busy city of Kampala.
Car rental services: These transport services are not yet to be at their peak but they are the most convenient, reliable and safe means in Uganda. These are normally used for airport transfers, wildlife safaris, business trips, self drive tours and wedding ceremonies. These services can easily be accessed on the internet. Car hire companies rent out 4×4 vehicles like Toyota RAV4, Land cruisers, super customs, Hiace safari van and the Toyota coasters to private travelers.
Air transport is at an infant stage in Uganda. Uganda has only one international airport but there are several airstrips that are located in some major towns. Uganda hubs about 20 international different air carriers at Entebbe international airport and some of the notables are British airways, fly emirates, Turkish airlines, SN Brussels airlines, KLM royal Dutch airlines, Kenya airways, Qatar airways and Ethiopian airlines. These fly to various destinations across the world most especially Africa, Europe and Asia. Anyone around the world can access Uganda by air transport thanks to the code sharing agreement amongst air carriers where by different airline companies came into partnership to carry passengers of different air carrier flying to other countries on behalf of each others; in case it cannot access a certain destination.
There are also domestic charter flights that are carried by Aero Link that is located at Kajjansi airstrip. This conducts private charter flights to different regional places with airstrips like Soroti, Kisoro, Kasese, Arua, Kasese and Masindi to mention but a few. These flights are normally used by political and business delegates that travel to these places and also high end tourists use them to get to the national game parks and other eco tourist sites.