Uganda the pearl of Africa: people, Culture, tribes, History, tourism

Uganda the pearl of Africa: people, Culture, tribes, History, tourism

Uganda The pearl of Africa

Uganda – the pearl of Africa, Winston Churchill was the one to give credit to Uganda as Pearl of Africa because of its magnificence, variety of form and colour, the profusion of a brilliant life, bird, insect, reptile, and beast in large scale. Almost over 80% of Ugandan people live in rural areas and directly serve off the environment and natural resources. The Bantu speaking people migrated to the area from central and western Africa long ago. They brought political and social ideas with their ironworks and Now Uganda safari is a dream of all peoples of the world

The cultural diversity of Uganda has produced a wide variety of lifestyle and interest among Ugandans. The south of Uganda has the Ganda culture and north has Acholi and Lango culture. Uganda possesses a rich tradition of theatre, ranging from the active National Theatre in Kampala to hundreds of small, local theatrical group.

The Ethnic groups are; Baganda, Bahima, Bakiga, Banyarwanda, Bunyoro, Batoro, Langi, Acholi, Lugbara, Bagisu and others. The Baganda are the largest ethnic group in Uganda and comprise approximately 17% of the population.

The languages spoken in Uganda are; English and Swahili as the official language and numerous other local languages.

History of Uganda:

Uganda in history
A village in northern Uganda in 1925

Beginning in 100AD, Nilotic people, including the Ateker and Luo came into Uganda from the North. Some of the Luo invaded the Bunyoro areas and assimilated with the Bantu. This gave life to the Babiito dynasty. This Luo migration ended in the 16th century. The Ateker settled in other areas of Uganda and some combined with Luo north of Lake Kyoga.

The Arab traders moved from the East African coast and were followed by British explorers looking for the Nile’s source. Protestant and Catholic missionaries followed later in the century and made it British East India Company. For more information click here

Geography:

map of Uganda

Uganda has an average height of 1,100 metres above the sea level and it is on the East African plateau. Lake Kyoga dominates the country’s centre. Uganda is almost all within the Nile Basin. The Victoria Nile drains from Lake Victoria to Lake Kyoga and then runs to Sudan. The turkwel River drains in Uganda’s eastern edge.

The climate in Uganda is equatorial and not uniform. The southern areas are wetter and northern part of Uganda is dry sometimes.

Economy:

Uganda economy

The poor economic policies and instability caused the economy to suffer for decades. This left Uganda as one of the poorest countries in the world.

Bank of Uganda is the central bank of the Republic of Uganda and the primary purpose of the bank is to foster price stability and a sound financial system.

The ministry of Finance planning and Economic Development derives its mandate and functions from the constitution of Republic of Uganda and other related subordinate laws, including; the Budget Act, the Public Finance and Accountability act.

The official currency of Uganda is Ugandan Shilling [Ush]. The Ugandan shilling is now a stable currency and predominates in most financial transactions in Uganda.

Cities:

Kampala
Kampala the capital of Uganda

Uganda has a total of 65 cities with its own culture and heritage. Uganda has 1 city with more than a million people, 2 cities with between 1,000,000 and 1 million people, the other 62 cities have a population ranging between 10,000 and 1,00,000 people. The largest city is Kampala and it is the capital of Uganda.

The capital city Kampala is situated in countries most prosperous agricultural section, Kampala exports coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco and Sugar. The city has numerous food, metal-products and furniture enterprises and tractor assembly plant.

The other major cities include; Nansana, Kira, Makindye, Mbarara, Gulu and others.

People: Ethnic group:

Tribes in Uganda

Belonging to many ethnic groups, Ugandans speak over 30 different African languages, English and Swahili are the countries official languages. The largest group is the Baganda and they speak Luganda.

Most people produce their own food and eat two meals a day, lunch and supper. Breakfast is often a cup of tea and porridge. Meals are prepared by women and girls. Men and boys above age 12 do not sit in the kitchen.

The main ethnic groups are; Baganda, Bahima, Bakiga, Banyarwanda, Bunyoro, Batoro, Langi, Acholi, Lugbara, Bagisu and others. The Baganda are the largest ethnic group in Uganda and comprise approximately 17% of the population.

The Religions are Muslim, Christian and others.

Languages spoken are English and Swahili as the official language. Luganda and other local languages are also major within the groups.

Food:

Uganda food

The traditional food in Uganda includes Ugali which is served with a stew of groundnuts, beans, chicken or meat such as beef, goat or mutton. The game can be found in Menus of some restaurants and at Safari lodges. Fish including the tiger fish, Mukini, mputa, and tilapia are also popular.

The most of tribes in Uganda have their own speciality dish. Uganda cuisine consists of traditional and modern cooking styles, practices, foods and dishes in Uganda. They also have English, Arabian and Asian influences. Many of the dishes include various vegetables, potatoes, yams, bananas and other tropical fruits.

Language:

Uganda’s official language is English, which is spoken by most of the educated Ugandans. The three major indigenous language families are Bantu, Central Sudanic, and Nilotic. The main language widely spoken is Swahili and Luganda.

Luganda is widely spoken local language and this is predominantly spoken by the Baganda people in the Urban areas of Kampala. Swahili was approved as Uganda’s 2nd official language.

Religion:  

Christianity is widespread in Uganda. Nearly one-third of the population follows traditional religions. There are also some Muslim sects, the small community of Ugandan Jews and 0.7% of Uganda’s population is classified as ‘Other-Non Christians’, including Hindus. Uganda has the largest minority religion.

Tourism in Uganda:

Uganda tours

Wondering why it is called “The Pearl of Africa”? You can see Lions prowling across the savannah as day breaks before white water rafting down the Nile; then the next day set off into the misty mountains in search of majestic mountain gorillas before settling in to watch a local cultural evening around the campfire.

The main attraction is Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and respective genocide memorial monuments. The Uganda gorilla safari experience is worth going and affordable too. The Uganda Safari offers some great safari experiences, such as; Primate Safari experience, wildlife viewing encounters and long or short excursions according to your preferences. 

Here is a list of few National parks you can visit while in a Uganda safari:

Murchison falls national park:

You can visit Uganda’s biggest National park, the Murchison falls cover approximately 3,800km. The Murchison falls is formed when the Victoria Nile forces its way through a narrow cliff.

Bwindi impenetrable national park:

	Bwindi impenetrable national park

This is the main habitat area for Mountain gorillas in the wild. The largest population of primates is found in Bwindi impenetrable national park. The Uganda Safari offers one of these tours to experience social primates.

Kibale Forest:

The Kibale Forest National Park is in the western park of Uganda. This lush green park covers around 750kms and the forest has both Montana and Low land with Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Mount Elgon National Park:

The park is located at the border between Uganda and Kenya. Mount Elgon National Park is one of the largest volcano calderas in the world and the second highest mountain in Uganda.

Semuliki Valley National Park:

The Semuliki National Park is in between the steaming jungle of Africa region and East Africa. The park offers a lot including the visit to Hot springs, Birding, Sceneries, Primates, Wildlife and many more.

Lake Mburo National Park:

The Lake Mburo is located in the western region of Uganda. The park has a variety of animals such as zebra, Impala and others. This area is considered as Lion conservation area since 2005.

Queen Elizabeth National Park:

	Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth national park is Uganda’s most famous National Park, offers best of  Uganda safari and most of travellers destination. The presence of varied with beautiful lakes, extensive savannah, the natural forests and fertile swamps attracts travellers around the world. It is the best place for big games, primate spices including chimpanzees and more than 500 species of birds.

Kidepo Valley National Park:

The Kidepo Valley National Park is situated in the wilderness region of Uganda and it is the most isolated National Park in Uganda but still one of the best places every wildlife viewer can visit. It is a true gem with a huge abundance of wildlife.

Rwenzori Mountain National Park:

The Rwenzori Mountain National Park is the ultimate trekking spot for adventure lovers. It has a unique and outstanding biggest glaciers in Africa. The mountain is located in Kasese, Uganda and one of the free-standing, snow-covered, clock mountain. Read more

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park:

The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the icon of Uganda’s National Park seated high in the clouds. It has a majestic Natural beauty and attracts tourists every year. The park is home to three Virunga volcanoes, abundant wildlife and awe-inspiring caves. The Uganda Safari offers Mountain gorilla trekking here and it is a great experience.

The other main attractions offered by Uganda Safari include;

  • Source of the Nile: The longest river in the world River Nile starts its source from Jinja Uganda, the name Nile means valley in Greek. The main activities done here are Water rafting, bungee jumping, Kayaking, boat rides and fishing.
  • Ssese Island: The Ssese Islands are an archipelago of 84 Island in the North-Eastern part of Lake Victoria in Uganda.  The Ssese Islands are inhabited by Bantu speaking Bassesse tribe.
  • Kasubi Tomb: The Kasubi Tomb is situated on a hill within Kampala. It is an active religious place in the Buganda kingdom. It was the place for the burial ground of the previous four kabakas.
  • Lake Bunyonyi: Lake Bunyonyi is located in southwestern Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale, it is close to the border with Rwanda. It is the place to watch many little birds.
  • Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary: Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a private, non-profit animal sanctuary in Uganda. It is located north of Kampala. The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is collaboratively run by Uganda wildlife authority, the Rhino Fund Uganda, a Ugandan NGO and Ziwa Ranchers limited.
  • Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary – Ngamba Island is home for 49 orphaned and confiscated chimpanzees rescued from illegal pet and bushmeat trade. Ngamba Island is a part of the Koome group of Islands located in Lake Victoria.
  • Mengo Palace: The Mengo Palace is the former home of King Buganda. Mengo is bordered by Old Kampala to the north. Mengo Hill has played an important role in Ugandan political and religious history.
  • Equator Line: The Equator line in Uganda is found along the Masaka – Mbarara highway at what has become a small town called Kayabwe. The people go here to witness equator experiment and take photos.
  • Uganda martyrs shrine Namugongo:

The Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo is one of the largest Christian pilgrimage destinations in Africa dedicated to the 22 Martyrs and saints of Uganda who were Martyred.

  • Budongo Forest:

The Budongo Forest in Uganda is northwest of the capital city of Kampala. It is located on the escarpment northeast of Lake Albert. An exceptionally large Mahogany tree is still found here. It is the home to a population of chimpanzees.

  • Mabira forest:

The Mabira is a rainforest area covering about 300 square kilometres in Uganda. It has been protected as Mabira forest reserve since 1932. It is Uganda’s one of the largest surviving Natural forest.

  • Sezibwa falls:

The Sezibwa falls are located along the Kampala – Jinja highway. It is Uganda’s hidden cultural treasures with one part-owned by Buganda kingdom and other by Anglican Church of Uganda. You can include this tour in your Uganda Safari, like Gorilla Safari, Wildlife Safari, Birding Safari etc…

  • Kisiizi falls:

The Kisiizi Falls is situated in the Rukungiri District in SW Uganda in the Kigezi highlands. It is on the Kyabamba River. You can do bird watching, Forest walks and community experiences which are the main attractions of Uganda Safari. 

  • Sipi Falls:

Sipi Fall is located in the East of Uganda. This fall is found on the foothills of Mountain Elgon just at the edge of Mount Elgon National Park. The name Sipi was derived from the word ‘sep’ which is the name of a wild banana-like indigenous plant that grows along the banks of Sipi River. The Sipi falls has 3 waterfalls each from a different altitude.

  • Wamala tombs:

Walama Tomb is situated on a hill with an exceptional panoramic view, Wamala tomb is the place where one of the greatest ancient king of Buganda, Kabaka Sunna 2 was laid to rest. This is situated at Wamunyenye in Kyadondo County of the Buganda region along the Kampala – Hoima highway.

  • The Bahai temple:

The Bahai temple is situated in one of the suburbs of Kampala city. It is famously known for being a spiritual home for the Bahai Faith in Uganda. The construction of Bahai temple in Kampala was an effort of more than one country; Belgium brought the roof tiles, Germany brought the colored glass, the windows were imported from Britain and Uganda was responsible for the timber and hard rock’s to put up this phenomenal temple.

  • Lake Victoria:

The source of the famous River Nile, Lake Victoria is located East in Africa. The lake rests between three countries namely Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Lake Victoria covers approximately 68,800 km squared. Scattered along the shore of Lake Victoria there are approximately 84 scheduled clusters of the island known as Ssese Island.

Uganda is also known for its Uganda Safari to watch Mountain Gorillas which are a few left primates in the world right now. You can also witness the chimpanzees and other primates. The best part is that you will be allowed inside the National Park to witness the remaining half of Mountain gorillas who is now at the road of extinction.

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