Uganda is situated on the equator in central east Africa, east of Kenya, with the Congo to the West and Tanzania and Rwanda to the south. It is located on the most fertile plateau of Africa at a height of 1200 meters above sea level. Almost one third of the country is covered by lakes, with the impressive Lake Victoria dominating the southern region. Uganda is the result of a unification of many small kingdoms and chiefdoms, and today you will find a strong sense of culture, heritage, and pride. The official language is English, but Swahili and Luganda are still widely spoken. There are 48 different tribes in the country living mainly in the fertile rural areas. Craft making skills are passed from generation to generation and art crafts such as mats, baskets bark cloth, masks, paintings, musical instruments and more can be found in the bustling markets of Kampala, Uganda’s capitol. The Uganda Museum sits atop Kololo Hill, and features a hands-on collection of traditional musical instruments.
There are a number of national parks, the major park being the Queen Elizabeth National Park, sometimes called the “Pearl of Africa” or “Switzerland of Africa.” This fertile equatorial area is very scenic, with two lakes, volcanic craters, grassy plains and tropical forest. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings in the world. The Kyambura Gorge located at the end of the Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most important areas for avian, primate and wildlife biodiversity. The gorge is the only place in the Park where you can see chimpanzees, red tailed monkey, colobus and vervet monkeys. Much of Uganda’s wildlife was poached out in the past, especially elephants, but now this area is protected and the number of elephant and other species are continually increasing. Here you will also see hippo, hyena, waterbuck and bushbuck, buffalo, kobs (antelope now seldom seen in other parts of East Africa) and good birdlife including pelicans and eagles. Uganda’s bird species number more than 1,200 including the rare shoebill stork. The primeval Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and unusual birds. Tracking the endangered mountain gorillas in the forests of Bwindi is an exciting and deeply moving experience. Murchison Falls is a highlight – one of the most impressive features of the Nile River as it flows from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean, dropping 40 meters as it is forced through a cleft in the rocks. Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest National Park, and is cut in half by the Nile, its landscape varying from dense rainforest to undulating savannah. The scenery is studded with palm trees and wildlife viewing adds to the experience – buffalo, giraffe, elephant, lion, hartebeest, and Uganda Kobs are just some of the animals to be seen.
If you are planning a trip to Uganda, you may wish to consider combining other destinations in East Africa to complete your journey!
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