Uganda Tourist Board
IPS Building, Parliament Avenue
PO Box 7211, Kampala
Tel: 256 41 242 196/7
Fax: 256 41 242 188

Physical geography

Uganda, situated astride the Equator and right in the heart of Africa, covers an area of 235,880 sq km, of which 44.079 sq km is open fresh water. Bisected by the Equator, the country gives one the impression that it is rocky and dry, but far from that Uganda is amazingly beautiful with rolling green hills, rich fertile valleys, numerous rivers and magnificent fresh water lakes which abound in fish. All these and the numerous towering mountains, some of which are perpetually snow-capped are perfect territory for travellers.


For those in search of relaxation, Uganda has much to offer; although it is astride the Equator is average altitude of 1,220 metres above sea level and the mean annual temperature of 22°C give the country a pleasant climate all year round. One important point to note is that unlike countries in the temperate regions which have four seasons, Uganda has only dry and rainy seasons, the rainy season periods being March-June, September-November while the dry seasons are July-August and December-January/February. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Economic geography</H3> A striking feature of Uganda's economy is that it is predominantly agricultural: coffee, tea and cotton are the chief cash crops. These have of recent years been joined by horticulturals such as flowers and vegetables. Industrialisation is still in its infancy, but with the rapid spread of electricity almost throughout the country let alone the prevailing conducive investment environment, more industries have come on line and more should be built. <P>The tourism industry is definitely on the upswing and it is the fastest developing industry in Uganda. Everything possible is being done to exploit the abundant attractions that are found in the country while serving the environment. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Demography</H3> Uganda's population is 17.5 million and is composed largely of Africans of varying ethnic origins and a few others of foreign extraction. The capital city Kampala has a population of one million. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>A brief history</H3> Although most of the country's documented history goes back to the early days of European explorers in search of the source of the Nile, modern historical and ecological studies are beginning to unveil a lot that happened long before. <P>For those with a keen sense of history, wishing to know more not only about Uganda but about Africans in general, a visit to the museum would be highly useful. The coming of both European explorers and Christian missionaries in the late 19th century witnessed the existence of a traditional rule which was upheld by the British. The protectorate which the British established lasted roughly 60 years, that is up to 1962 and thereafter Uganda became an independent state with a republican constitution. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Religions</H3> Religion is predominately Christina though Islam and other faiths also exist. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Language</H3> English is the official language and Kiswahili is also widely used. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Time</H3> Uganda time is three hours ahead of GMT. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Currency</H3> The Ugandan shilling (Ushs) is divided in to 100 cents and the conversion rate is currently Shs1,050 to US$1. There is no currency import restriction and there are Forex bureaux selling and buying money on the open market. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Official holidays (offices and shops closed)</H3> 1 January, New Year's Day - Idd El Fitr - 26 January, Liberation Day - Good Friday, Easter Monday - 1 May, Labour Day - 3 June Martyrs' Day - 9 October, Independence Day - 25 December, Christmas Day - 26 December, Boxing Day. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>The new Uganda</H3> Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, has a wealth of natural and man-made attractions that make it one of the most exciting destinations in Africa. <P>The unspoilt scenic beauty and its unique flora and fauna, and the outstanding mountain features evenly distributed all over the country are part of the exquisite beauty that blankets Uganda and makes it so special. <P>The tropical rainforests of Western and Southern Uganda so famous for the rare Mountain gorilla, the exceptional waterfalls of the River Nile and the conducive equatorial climate are becoming a unique event to experience. <P>Uganda is embarking on diversifying its tourism product by creating niche markets which include multiple forms of attraction. Outstanding are white water rafting on the river Nile along the Victoria Nile and sport fishing on the waters of the largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What one should not fail to see</H3> Uganda has numerous places that are worth everyone's appreciation, but as an introduction, let us have a look at what is around Kampala. The Kasubi tombs, burial grounds for the Buganda Kings situated 10km from the city centre, are worth a visit, especially by those interested in culture. Other places worth visiting are Makerere University, the Museum, Namugongo Martyrs shrine, the botanical gardens at Entebbe and Lake Victoria. The source of the Nile is just one hour drive east of Kampala and Bujagali Falls, scene of white water rafting. <P>Those who have the time and want to see as much as possible will not be disappointed. Uganda's ten game parks are rich and attractive. It is in fact surprising that in a country of the size of Uganda there should be such a great variety of flora and fauna. The game parks can be divided into three categories: Kidepo, Murchison, Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo are the traditional Savannah parks visited by thousands of tourists. They are a wonder in themselves. It is in these parks that one finds such big game as elephants, buffaloes, lions, giraffes, zebras, Kobs, hippos, and crocodiles undisturbed in their natural state. Although many of the animal species are common to all the parks and sanctuaries, each park has its own unique characteristics. For example, at Kidepo the animals are concentrated in a small beautiful area and are wilder than those in other parks. Murchison is the attraction which can hardly escape anyone's attention is the awe-inspiring sight of the might and breathtaking Murchison Falls. Queen Elizabeth, which is the western rift valley enchanted visitors with its stunning scenery provided by the numerous crater lakes and the towering mountains of the moon which almost overlook the park. <P>The second category is that of the newly constituted forest park of Bwindi Impenetrable, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Kibale Forest and Semliki where rare and endangered species of mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are not uncommon. Getting to Bwindi and Mgahinga is in many ways like going to some country in the temperate zone, for in this area of terraced hills and reclaimed swamps, usually referred to as the 'Small Switzerland of Africa'. Sitting by an evening fire or the need for a pullover is almost a must. The third and last category are the alpine parks of the Rwenzori and Mt Elgon. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring</H3> While it is possible to travel in Uganda at any time of the year, the most favourable seasons are December to March and June to September. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>How to dress</H3> Uganda's favourable climate makes cotton and linen fabrics the ideal wardrobe for both men and women. Lightweight suits are suitable for evening wear and for women any decent dress will do. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Holiday sports</H3> There is a variety of sports which include swimming, golf, tennis, fishing, sailing and mountaineering. Football is quite popular among Ugandans. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to eat and drink</H3> What to eat and drink will largely depend on one's taste. Quite a number of good hotels and restaurants are available in the capital and other towns and parks. Western, oriental and local dishes are well catered for. For those who are interested in drinking, Uganda Waragi, a locally distilled gin is always there for the asking. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to buy</H3> Wood carving, textile weaving and pottery form an old art which has survived the test of time. A variety of handicrafts are made from various parts of the country and many handicraft shops in Kampala and most parts of the country are well stocked with beautiful souvenirs. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Frontier formalities</H3> Visitors wishing to enter Uganda are required to be in possession of a valid passport. Visitors from the Commonwealth, European Union, USA, Japan, Sweden and PTA countries do not require visas to enter Uganda. For those who require visas, they can be obtained from your nearest Uganda Diplomatic missions overseas or from Immigration Department, PO Box 1365, Kampala. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Health regulations</H3> In accordance with international health regulations all visitors are required to be in possession of authenticated international certificates of inoculation against yellow fever. <H3>Customs</H3> Basic customs duty is usually charged on foods other than the bona fide baggage of tourists. For details of what can be brought in free please contact Uganda's Diplomatic missions or Uganda Tourist Board. <H3>Currency regulations</H3> There is no currency declaration when visiting Uganda and there is no restriction on currency importation. Forex can be bought and sold freely in the many Forex bureaux and commercial banks. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main travel routes</H3> Uganda's traditional touristic circuit is the triangular one which starts from Kampala or Entebbe and takes in Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks. The circuit has now been expanded to include Kidepo and Kigezi District. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Representatives abroad</H3> M/S Tourism Partnership - 42 Packhorse Road, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire SL9 8EB, UK. Tel: 01753 891244, Fax: 01753 891266. <P> <IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <I>We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Uganda thanks to the co-operation of the Uganda Tourist Board in Kampala. <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>