Uganda is a landlocked East African country that is bordered by Sudan to the North, Kenya to the East and Tanzania and Rwanda to the South with a population of approximately 26 million. Uganda lies between the two arms of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. It is crossed by the equator. It lies between latitudes 4 degrees 12″ north and 1 degree 29″ south and longitudes 29 degrees 5″ and 25″ east. It is roughly the same in size to Great Britain, Ghana or the state of Oregon in the United States of America. It is bordered by Kenya to the East, Sudan to the North, DRC to the West and Tanzania and Rwanda to the south.
Uganda is also known as the “Pearl of Africa”. It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, which is also bordered by Kenya and Tanzania.
Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompassed a portion of the south of the country including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country. Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962.
The official languages are English and Swahili, although multiple other languages are spoken in the country.
The country is located on the East African plateau, lying mostly between latitudes 4°N and 2°S (a small area is north of 4°), and longitudes 29° and 35°E. It averages about 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) above sea level, and this slopes very steadily downwards to the Sudanese Plain to the north. However, much of the south is poorly drained, while the centre is dominated by Lake Kyoga, which is also surrounded by extensive marshy areas. Uganda lies almost completely within the Nile basin. The Victoria Nile drains from the lake into Lake Kyoga and thence into Lake Albert on the Congolese border. It then runs northwards into South Sudan. One small area on the eastern edge of Uganda is drained by the Turkwel River, part of the internal drainage basin of Lake Turkana.
Lake Kyoga serves as a rough boundary between Bantu speakers in the south and Nilotic and Central Sudanic language speakers in the north. Despite the division between north and south in political affairs, this linguistic boundary actually runs roughly from northwest to southeast, near the course of the Nile. However, many Ugandans live among people who speak different languages, especially in rural areas. Some sources describe regional variation in terms of physical characteristics, clothing, bodily adornment, and mannerisms, but others claim that those differences are disappearing.
Mount Kadam, Uganda
Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform as the altitude modifies the climate. Southern Uganda is wetter with rain generally spread throughout the year. At Entebbe on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, most rain falls from March to June and the November/December period. Further to the north a dry season gradually emerges; at Gulu about 120 km from the South Sudanese border, November to February is much drier than the rest of the year.
The northeastern Karamoja region has the driest climate and is prone to droughts in some years. Rwenzori in the southwest on the border with Congo (DRC) receives heavy rain all year round. The south of the country is heavily influenced by one of the world’s biggest lakes, Lake Victoria, which contains many islands. It prevents temperatures from varying significantly and increases cloudiness and rainfall. Most important cities are located in the south, near Lake Victoria, including the capital Kampala and the nearby city of Entebbe.
Although landlocked, Uganda contains many large lakes, besides Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga, there are Lake Albert, Lake Edward and the smaller Lake George.
Uganda is divided into districts, spread across four administrative regions: Northern, Eastern, Central (Kingdom of Buganda) and Western. The districts are subdivided into counties. A number of districts have been added in the past few years, and eight others were added on July 1, 2006 plus others added in 2010. There are now over 100 districts. Most districts are named after their main commercial and administrative towns. Each district is divided into sub-districts, counties, sub-counties, parishes and villages.
Parallel with the state administration, six traditional Bantu kingdoms have remained, enjoying some degrees of mainly cultural autonomy. The kingdoms are Toro, Ankole, Busoga, Bunyoro, Buganda and Rwenzururu.
Uganda is part of the Great Lakes region. The countries covers 241,139 sq. km of which 42.000 (17%) sq km is made up of swamps and open fresh water bodies. 30,000 sq km (12%) forest reserves and game parks.
Uganda lies in the Great African Plateau with an average altitude of 1200m (4000ft) above sea level broken by the Great Rift Valley to the Western Side. Elevated areas are the Rwenzori mountains (5000m) with permanent snow cover and Mount Elgon (4300m). The Nile, the world’s second longest river starts its journey from the world’s second largest fresh water body, Lake Victoria at Jinja.
Uganda’s climate is equatorial but its elevated altitude affects it. The average annual temperature is 26 degrees Centigrade over much of the country though 5 degrees Centigrade in South Western and 35 degrees Centigrade in the North and North East can be recorded. Average annual rainfall is 1000mm in most parts of the country, 500mm in North East and 2000mm in Ssese Islands. Most of Uganda is green all year round.
English is the national language which is taught in most grade schools and also used by most newspapers and some radio stations. Kiswahili and Luganda are also other languages widely spoken. Uganda is a nation of huge diversity with over 50 tribes resident in this robust nation- the languages are as diverse as the friendly people. Rest assured though, in whatever language, the people are still friendly.
Kampala(capital city) ,Entebbe ,Jinja , Mbarara , Mbale , Gulu , Arua , Fort Portal.
October 9, 1962 (from Britain)
Uganda has is abundantly blessed with rich natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall and mineral deposits of copper and cobalt. Agriculture is one of the biggest sector in the economy, that employs over 80% in the country. Since 1986, Uganda with the help of foreign countries and international agencies has worked in rehabilitating and stabilizing the economy through undertaking currency reform, improving civil service wages and many more which has led to boost in production and export earnings in the country.
The Ugandan shilling is legal tender in Uganda. The paper notes are in the denominations of 1000, 2000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000. There are also coins in usage in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 in the country. They are no restrictions on money transfers in and out of Uganda.