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Travel Information about Unique, Unforgettable Uganda
Uganda has come a long way in a few years and is now an up and coming tourist destination of note. Straddling the Equator but with much of the country over 1000m above sea-level, Uganda has a beautiful climate 12 months of the year (unless you want to go skiing). Temperatures range from the high 20’s to the low 30’s C and good rainfall promoting many areas of lush vegetation. Uganda deserves the label once applied by Sir Winston Churchill of “Africa’s green pearl”. Renewed efforts to develop game parks and an increasingly wide range of options for tourists in areas such as; accommodation and related facilities, transport, sites to visit and cultural experiences, etc. make this one of the nicest destinations to come and experience the Africa that is changing fast but holds elements of what you may expect to find here.
To the surprise of many visitors, hospitality and safety rate very highly in Uganda. Although there are areas in the north of the country that are unsafe, most of the country provides a level of safety to visitors that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Those of you who still associate Uganda with the Idi Amin era, should remember that it finished 30 years ago. Recent changes have brought the modern world with extensive mobile phone networks, large modern shopping complexes in Kampala and high standards of service; coupled with the more traditional lifestyles experienced by most Ugandans. The population is still predominantly rural based. The roads and transport systems are improving but still provide an adventure. The mix of cultures will help you see the world in a different way.
But you will still find parts of Uganda with a feel of Africa that goes back through the centuries and it isn’t hard to find the space to walk down a dusty track with lined with the occasional grass roofed hut, greetings from kids – “jambo mzungu” – and to feel that you have entered a part of Africa that will find a special place in your heart.
Gorilla trekking is an activity that has brought many visitors to Uganda. The only remaining populations of mountain gorillas live in the area that covers the southeast corner of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many companies offer you the opportunity to do this although places are very limited (book well ahead) and time allowed visiting a gorilla group is restricted to 1 hour so as to minimise human impact. The money generated is used to protect these remaining populations.
Economy: Uganda is largely a free market economy and in recent years has maintained a growth rate of about 7% per annum. Agriculture provides about 60% of GDP and over 80% of the adult population are either subsistence farmers or work in agriculture related fields. Major export crops include coffee, tea and tobacco. Industry is diverse and centred around Kampala. It is mainly small scale and aimed at supplying the domestic market with basic products. The majority of manufactured goods are imported. Tourism is increasing very rapidly and is now makes a significant contribution to the economy.
Geography: Uganda lies between the two arms of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. It is crossed by the Equator. It is roughly the same size as Great Britain having an area of 241,139 sq. km. Of this 17% sq km is made up of swamps and open fresh water bodies, 12% forest reserves and game parks. It is bordered by Kenya to the East, Sudan to the North, DRC to the West and Tanzania and Rwanda to the south.
The country has an average elevation of 1200m above sea level. Mountain areas are the Rwenzori mountains (5000m) with permanent snow cover and Mount Elgon (4300m).
Uganda's climate is equatorial but this is tempered by its elevated altitude and average daytime temperatures range between 20C and 27C. Average annual rainfall is in the region of 1000mm. There are two rainy seasons - March to early May and September to December.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and second largest in the world. It is also the source of the River Nile. Lakes Edward and Albert lie to the west of the country.
The landscape and vegetation have exceptional diversity. Uganda lies at the overlap between tropical East African savannah and the West African rainforest zones. The south of the country is mostly covered by forest and sub-tropical cultivation (plantains, coffee and tea). There are woodland and open savannah grassland areas. The north is drier than the rest of the country. It is covered in semi-desert and dry acacia woodland, which lacks the heavy intertwining canopy found in tropical forests.
The population of Uganda is about 30 million and growing rapidly. Kampala, the capital city has a population of around 3,500,000. The percentage of urban and rural population is about 20% and 80% respectively. Annual population growth rate is very high compared to many other countries .
History : Uganda was under British rule between 1900 and 1962. Prior to that it had for many centuries been made up of a number of separate kingdoms divided mainly along tribal lines.Post independent Uganda had a turbulent history under a number of Presidents until President Yoweri Museveni gained control in 1986 and managed to bring a war torn and divided country together. Since that time the country has been largely trouble free with the exception of occasional local disturbances and, as a result, has enjoyed rapid economic growth.
There is no shortage of hotels of all qualities in Kampala and most other towns can offer tourist standard hotel accommodation. Most National Parks also have a choice of accommodation ranging from campsites to luxury safari lodges.
Travel within Uganda is relatively straight forward, most major roads being in good or reasonable condition. Once off the major roads conditions are more difficult and 4 x4 vehicles are recommended.
For more information specifically about the upper reaches of the River Nile and particularly the Bujagali area see http://www.atadventures.com/ata/ATA-BUJAGALI.html
For general information about travel in Africa, contact Peter Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org