Welcome to Uganda
The Pearl of Africa
“For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life – bird, insect, reptile, beast – for vast scale – Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.” British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote this in his book My African Journey, following a safari to Uganda in 1907.
His words still hold true today – the natural attractions, rare wildlife, rich cultural heritage and friendly people of this landlocked nation in East Africa – the source of the Nile – are as precious as any gemstone.
This is a country of breathtaking beauty and huge diversity in everything from landscapes and wildlife to activities and accommodation options. The scenery ranges from river rapids, island-studded lakes and snow-peaked mountains, to grasslands, rolling savannah and dense tropical rainforests rich with wildlife.
You need time on your side to really savour the experiences on offer during a Uganda safari holiday. Activities range from adventure rafting, kayaking and canoeing, hiking, cycling, mountain biking and mountain climbing, to 4×4 wildlife safaris, forest walks, birding, fishing, photographic safaris, village visits and cultural encounters, and even vineyard tours.
It’s also one of the only places left on the planet where you can observe gorillas in the wild, or go trekking for chimpanzees.
All of this, and yet Uganda remains an undiscovered gem for safari adventurers. Which is, of course, yet another of its abundant charms.
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Uganda at a glance
Located in East Africa, Uganda covers around 241,000 square kilometres in the heart of the African Great Lakes region. It’s roughly the same size as the United Kingdom and shares borders with five countries: South Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, Rwanda and Tanzania to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.
Once upon a time Uganda was occupied by hunter gathers. The Kitara Empire began to emerge in the 14th century and became the first tribe with formal organisation within the region. Other kingdoms followed, until the British entered Uganda in the early 1800s. Soon after the first explorers came the missionaries. Uganda was placed under the charter of British East Africa Company in the latter half of the century and stayed in this way until independence from Britain was granted in 1962.
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Today, Uganda has a population of around 45 million and is a cultural melting pot, with ancient inhabitants of the Batwa and Bambuti pygmies still resident today. They are relics of the hunter-gatherer cultures that once roamed much of East Africa. Another ethnic group, living mainly in the north-east of Uganda, is the Karamojong, a fierce, semi-nomadic cattle herding tribe that migrated down from Ethiopia centuries ago. At the cultural core of Uganda today are the Bantu-speaking kingdoms of Toro, Ankole, Bunyoro and Buganda. With such cultural diversity comes and exciting and colourful mix of music, dance and, of course, cuisine.
The best time to travel to Uganda is during the dry seasons: June to August and December to February.
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