Uganda is a land locked country in East Africa 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 Rwanda and 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 Buganda kingdom which encompassed a portion of the south of the country including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter gatherers until 1700 to 23000years ago when Bantu speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country. Uganda gained its independence on 9th October, 1962 from Britain.
Uganda is located on the edge of the equator, it averages about 1100meteres (3609ft) above sea level and while much of its borders is lake shore, Uganda is land locked with no access to the sea. The country is mostly plateau with some rolling hills and low mountains. Grasslands and tropical forests dominate the central region with volcanic foothills in the east. Uganda is replete with water and contains many large lakes; in fact, almost one fifth of its total area is open water or swamp land. Four of East Africa’s great lakes; Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward lie within Uganda or on its borders.
Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform as the altitude modifies the climate. Southern Uganda is wetter with the rain generally spread throughout the year. Temperatures range from 21 –25 0 C from the mountainous areas. The hottest months are November, February and December though the evenings can be a bit chilly after the heat of the day with temperatures around 12-16 degrees Celsius (54-61) degrees Fahrenheit
Most areas and regions apart from the dry ones have an annual rainfall of between 1000mm and 2000mm. There’s heavy rain between October and November, when road travel can become very difficult in some parts of country. The best time to trekking is during the dry seasons. Wild life viewing is best at the end of the dry season, when the game is more concentrated around water resources.
The culture of Uganda is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu speaking people who dominate much of the East, Central and Southern Africa. In Uganda they include the Baganda, in the north, the Lango and Acholi, in the east are the Iteso and Karamajong who speak Nilotic languages whereas the Gishu are part of the Bantu and live mainly on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. They speak Lumasaba, which is closely related to the Luhya of Kenya. A few Pygmies live isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda.
The official language is English and Kiswahili though Luganda is the most common language used with at least 40 languages in usage. Uganda’s different tribes have different beliefs and cultures ad are practiced accordingly.
Uganda’s cuisines consist of traditional and modern cooking styles, practices, foods and dishes with English, Arab and especially Indian influences. Our food varies in complexity like many other cuisines of most countries, from the most basic starchy filler with a sauce of beans or meat, to several-course meals served in upper-class homes and high-end restaurants.
Most tribes in Uganda have their own speciality dish or delicacy. Many dishes include various vegetables, potatoes, yams, bananas and other tropical fruits. Chicken, pork, fish (usually fresh, but there is also a dried variety, reconstituted for stewing), beef, goat and mutton are all commonly eaten, although among the rural poor, meats are consumed less than in other areas, and mostly eaten in the form of bushmeat. Nyama is the Swahili word for “meat”.
Ugandan immigration policies are not always consistently applied and may change without notice. Travellers should pay close attention to the validity of their visas or special pass to avoid fines and travel interruptions. A passport valid for six months beyond the date of entry is required. Visas are available at Entebbe airport upon arrival or may be obtained from the embassy of the republic of Uganda
It is recommended that travelers obtain visas to Uganda in advance to travel, in particular these travelers who will arrive via land. If you plan to obtain your visa upon landing you should confirm in advance so that your airline allows you to board without a visa.
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