The Republic of Uganda is known to be one of the landlocked in East-central Africa. The country is bordered by a number of countries including Kenya in the East, South Sudan in the North, Democratic Republic of Congo in the West and Rwanda in the South-west and Tanzania in the South. The southern part of the country has got a remarkable portion of Lake Victoria shared with Kenya and Tanzania. It is in the East African Great Lakes region and lies in the Nile Basin with a varied and generally modified equatorial climate.
Uganda as a country takes its name from the Buganda Kingdom which encloses a large portion of the Southern part of the country including the capital Kampala. Before the migration of the Bantu speaking people migrated to the southern part of the country, Ugandans were originally hunter gatherers.
By 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the United Kingdom, who established their administrative laws across the territory. Later, on October 1962, Uganda gained its independence from the United Kingdom.
The official languages of Uganda are English and Kiswahili although several other languages can be used as a medium of instructions in schools or other educational institutions like legislative, administrative or judicial purposes as prescribed by law. Some of these is Luganda which is widely spoken across the country and others like Runyoro, Acholi, Runyankore, Rukiga, Luo, and Lusoga among others.
Uganda as nation has got a very strong cultural heritage with a number of regions with Kingdoms that describe different tribes and their culture and these include Buganda, Toro, Bunyoro, Busoga and Rwenzururu kingdoms. Ugandans are remarkably hospitable people with a diversity of rich culture and lifestyles each one with its own interesting traditional dance.
Besides cultural dances, Uganda’s culture and traditions is also expressed through local Arts and crafts made from local materials such as papyrus reeds, clay and wood. These art and crafts include weaved baskets, wood carvings, beaded jewelries. All these and many more can be found at all points of the country for example in craft/gift shops, hotel/lodges, urban galleries and national Theaters. Always consider taking on a cultural tour while on a safari to Uganda and explore the beautiful culture of Ugandans in the known destinations.
Some of the remarkable cultural and historical sites in Uganda are;
This is a very important cultural site in the Buganda Kingdom located 5km from the capital city Kampala on the Kasubi hill. This cultural site is a UNESCO heritage place and is known in history as a burial ground of four Baganda Kings locally referred to as” Kabaka“. Much Respect and Royalty is given to this site as it holds great historical treasures in Baganda kingdom and for a number of centuries the Ganda rituals have been performed in this same place. This is a worth place to visit while on a tour in Uganda.
This is a vital place in history especially for the Christians. It is known as a laying ground for over twenty two (22) catholic Christian converts and twenty three (23) of Anglian Christians who were brutally executed following the orders of Kabaka Mwanga ii in 1886. A lot of pilgrims are made to this place yearly by both Roman Catholic Christian churches and Anglican churches both within the country and across the Global a public holiday that is celebrated every 3rd June of the year to remember and pray for the fellow Christians who gave out their lives for Christ’s sake.
These are fascinating spiritual falls that hold a unique significance to Baganda people. The falls are located in Mukono district a few kilometers from Kampala. They have got interesting spiritual features that Baganda people define and believe as a tradition.
Besides cultural values, Sezibwa falls attracts a great number of tourists. It’s also a very good spot for bird watching, rock climbing, spiritual healing and relaxation.
This is one of the must visit cultural sites while on a trip in Uganda. The name Ndere is derived from a Luganda noun “Endere” which means a flute. Ndere troupe Cultural Centre is located Ntinda and probably one of the best places to enjoy traditional dancing, cuisines and culture from Kampala and Uganda at large. The place attracts a crowd of tourists and offers accommodation services.
Other important sites to visit include; Bigobyamugenyi, Nyeru Rock painting, Wamala tombs, Igongo cultural centre, Nkokonjeru tombs, Nakayima tree. Those and many more to offer great experiences of culture.
In addition, Uganda popularly known as the “Pearl of Africa” is well endowed with a variety of fauna and flora. This endowment has made it one of the top tourist destinations in Africa and the whole world. Uganda’s attractions range from mountains, rivers, lakes such as Lake Victoria being the largest water body in the land, national parks, game reserves, monuments, museums and many more. Among the top attractions include the source of the Nile River which is the longest river in Africa and Bwindi impenetrable national park which is famously known to have half of the world’s remaining mountain Gorillas.
Some of the major attractions to see while in Uganda
This is one of the top ranked attractions in the country. It offers amazing experiences of gorilla trekking to visitors who visit this interesting destination every year. Over 300 gorillas are estimated to be in this impenetrable forest with over 116 gorillas habituated. The park is situated south-western Uganda on the edge of the rift valley. The park’s mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by Uganda’s oldest and most biological diverse rainforest.
Besides gorillas, the park also harbours over 120 mammals with over 350 bird species estimated including 23 indigenous/endemic. Certain local communities like Batwa pygmies and Bakiga live around this forest who can offer great culture encounters after a gorilla trekking experience. Other activities such as hiking along Buhoma trails and mountain biking are also available to tourists who visit the place.
Murchison falls National Park is Uganda’s largest and oldest protected area and one of the eye-catching on the African content. The park is divided by the Victoria Nile which plunges 45 meters over stub rift valley wall, creating a dramatic Murchison falls. A boat ride is taken along the Nile River to the foot of the falls which gives a rewarding experience of nature, as the northern bank endows a variety of mammals, reptiles and birds. However other activities like sport fishing and guided nature walk are also possible to offer visitors lifetime memories.
This Uganda’s most popular destination with the highest concentration of wildlife such as hippopotamus which floating in Kazinga channel water, and the famous Tree climbing lions in Ishasha sector. The park has also got a diverse of eco-system which include sprawling savanna, humid forests, shady, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands. The diverse ecosystems make it an ideal habitat for the big game animals, ten primate species and a variety of bird species.
This is the world’s referred Primate Capital and the most varied tract of a tropical forest in Uganda. The parks. The park is home to East Africa’s largest population of the 13 endangered primate species which include, Chimpanzees which are a major attraction of the park and 1450 estimated number. Other primates are red colobus monkeys, rare L’Host monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed and blue monkeys, olive baboons, Grey cheeked mangabey, pottos and bush babies. Activities like Chimp tracking, chimp habituation experience, Bird watching and guided nature walks are done here.
This is Uganda’s most isolated national park situated in the northern wild frontier of Karamoja region. The park is basically a savannah landscape that extends far beyond the gazeted area. The park has got a variety of wildlife such as lions, buffalos, Jackson’s hartebeest, Oribis, giraffes, reedbucks among others. It has also got other interesting attractions like the Kanangorok springs located 11km beyond the Kidepo River which gives rewarding views of mountains beyond the frontier. Others are mount Morungole which stands at 2750m and is crossed by Kidepo and Narus Rivers which nourish the park’s wildlife.
River Nile being the second world’s longest River, with Lake Victoria as its source, starts its 6500km journey from here to the Mediterranean Sea. A visit to the source of the Nile is truly an awarding moment which gives a lifetime experience. The Nile River offers a focal point to the flow of water from the only outlet Lake Victoria due to over of water, rapids are formed which give an opportunity of white water rafting and kayaking. In addition, there is an amazing golf course unrolling along the River Banks.
This is Africa’s most magnificent mountain parks and Africa’s tallest mountain range exceeded by Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya carrying Africa’s third, fourth and fifth highest peaks that are seen from miles around. Mt. Rwenzori is one of the world’s best hiking and mountaineering destinations. A 9-12 day trek will get experienced climbers to the summit highest peak Magherita. The Rwenzoris are located within four major districts in the country namely; Kasese, kabarole, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo districts in western Uganda. The park is habitat to several mammals, bird species, reptiles, and amphibians.
This is Africa’s largest lake shared by three major countries namely; Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The lake was named after Queen Victoria by British Explorer John Speke in 1858. It receives its water from small streams like River Akagera and usual Rainfall. The lake has got several Islands located on it, and the most common being Ssese Island that attracts a number of tourists because of its beauty, affordability and easy to access factors. More to find on this Lake Ngamba island where the Chimpanzee sanctuary is situated, fascinating sunrises, sunsets and holiday weather all year around.
This is one of the interesting Lakes in East Africa that offer a breathtaking moment of relaxation to Tourists after their Gorilla trekking experience either in Uganda or Rwanda. They get to enjoy one of the most beautiful sceneries in the world by getting involved in several cultural and community activities like canoeing, boat rides, local tours, swimming, hiking, Bird watching, Batwa and pygmy village tour. The lake is also one of the second deepest in Africa. And is located in the south western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale districts close to the border with Rwanda.