When you make up your mind to go for a holiday to Uganda, you want to know exactly what to expect and what your route will be on arrival in the country. It is also useful if, when consulting your travel Agent, you have some background information on the possible plan for your journey. The information that follows is intended to assist the prospective tourist in making a travel plan which is as realistic as possible.
Where to Go
Why Visit Uganda
Uganda has an extraordinary variety of landscapes, from arid savannas to swamps, lakes, tropical forests and high mountains. Its unique topography in the west is derived from great earth movements that, over a quarter of a million years, have faulted the earth’s crust to create the Albertine rift valley and Rwenzori Mountains. Furthermore, within the last few thousand years, there has been intense volcanic activity, creating Mt Elgon in the East, the Virungas in the south west and the crater lands around Fort Portal and Kasese.
Forests in the Albertine Rift Valley in Uganda are key refuges for a huge diversity of forest animals and plants. These forests are famous for their many regionally endemic bird and primate species including the highly endangered mountain gorilla.
Uganda is at crossroads of vegetation types that take separate forms in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. Here, the Acacia woodlands of the east meet the forests of the west; forest species mingle with savanna species, further increasing the diversity of life. And there are some extraordinary biological paradoxes; Giraffes are not found south of the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park, Zebras, found in Lake Mburo, have never been recorded in Queen Elizabeth national park just a short distance to the west.
The combined effects of geological and climatic history have thus created a country of great diversity and natural beauty, where the tourist interested in wildlife and scenery will be captivated. These attractions may be viewed to even greater effect from the many lakes and waterways, from Lake Edward in the east, to lake Victoria, which dominates southern Uganda. In the wetland the visitors will be able to observe the rare shoebill. And Uganda is the source of the Nile, an immense river winding through farmland, forest and savanna from south to north of Uganda ending its journey in Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.
The people of Uganda are as diverse as its landscapes. Excavations in various parts of the country have discovered a rich Iron Age culture flourishing along the Riverbanks and Lakesides. More recently, over the past few hundred years, great ethnic migrations have resulted in a unique mix of cultures and traditions, from Karamojong pastoralists in the east, to the Bakonjo people of the Rwenzoris in the west. Diverse systems of government have evolved, the north being dominated by the Chiefdoms, the south by Kingdoms. Many cultural traditions, monuments and relics may be explored, ranging from the tombs of the Kabaka (a world heritage site), to the routes and meeting places of the early explorers Emin Pasha, Baker and Speke.
Over the last 40 years, Uganda has established a network of National Parks and wildlife reserves to protect its wildlife and special landscapes, covering over 10% of the country.
The visitor has a wide range of opportunities, from game viewing in queen Elizabeth and Murchison falls national game parks to gorilla viewing in Bwindi (a world heritage site) and mountain climbing in the Rwenzoris (to become a world heritage site). Fishing safaris are increasingly popular, and more extensive walking safaris will soon be available in the savanna parks. Away from the wildlife areas, white water rafting is increasingly becoming popular on the Nile at Jinja, and cultural tourism will benefit from new initiatives to protect important historical monuments and cultural sites.