Uganda is one of the best travel destinations in East Africa. There are many reasons why you must visit the pearl of Africa. Some of these are explained below as follows.
1. The people of Uganda
The people are some of the world’s population that has gone through very bad experiences most especially that of Idi Amin Dada, violence and many of them sought refuge in the nearby countries. The people of Uganda didn’t give up even though they went through a lot of harassment.
The people have gone back to work to rebuild their nation and have remained the friendliest and most welcoming people on the continent of Africa, and most probably in the world. The people of Uganda love visitors and they love to sing and dance for them to make them appreciate. It makes no sense to visit a place, admire its animals and landscape and not take the time to know the people who own the place. Take time to know the Ugandans.
2. The old kingdoms
Before the colonial masters took over Africa, there were kingdoms in most of the nations that were well functional in the role of governing people and also helping in maintaining culture. Some of the monarchies were so powerful and well administered that even the colonialists wisely thought to work alongside rather than against them.
Uganda had 4 kingdoms by 1992, this included; the Buganda, Toro, Busoga and Bunyoro Kitara. These kingdoms have got kings who are the leaders of the kingdoms. The kingdoms are fully recognized by the law of the land and do assist the central government as they yield political influence on the people. a visit to these palaces will give you the insight to the past lives of the Uganda people before and after the colonial era. the Baganda had the burial grounds of their kings renovated not so long ago and this should make for an interesting visit. The Pearl has many facets that make it all the more valuable.
3. Amazing Rivers, waterfalls and the Lakes
The longest river in the world, the Nile is fed by Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in Africa, and second largest in the world. The river snakes its way 6000 km north wards to empty itself into the Mediterranean Sea at the Nile delta in Egypt. Lake Victoria is a mini ocean in this land locked country with the beautiful beaches, palm trees under whose shade you may take a cool drink as you take in the activities on the lake as the breeze and breaking waves soothe you most likely into a nap. There are also excursions available out on the lake to some 84 of the most idyllic islands that make up the Ssese Islands archipelago. Most of these islands are well-inhabited and lie in the north-west of the lake. The Nile starts its northward bound trip at the Rippon falls in Jinja, a sight which has won Uganda a prestigious accolade for being voted one of the wonders of the world. The Nile offers water sports like rafting, fishing, kayaking, and many great adventures.
Murchison falls, Rippon falls, Sipi falls, Bujagali falls and Owen falls are a few of the more than 10 waterfalls to be found throughout Uganda with its many rivers and the inland lakes. Other than the mother of all lakes, Lake Victoria, the Pearl of Africa is dotted with many beautiful lakes like jewels on the crown of this beautiful land to include Lake Albert, Lake George, Lake Edward, Lake Buhera, Lake Bujuku, Lake Bugondo, Lake Bunyonyi, and Lake Bisina.
4. Agriculture of the country
Many of the people are not aware that the pearl of Africa goes by many names, another one being the banana republic. This name has nothing to do with the type of government that rules the country, but rather the country’s ability to grow lots of bananas among the foods. In case you are known as a health conscious person, taking care of your caloric intake, as you should, then Uganda, with here many fresh fruits is the place to visit. Uganda is blessed with lots of fruits including; Mangoes, papaya, jack fruits, oranges and many more. Plantains or bananas or matooke in the local lingua are among Uganda’s top cash food crops with cassava, millet, sorghum, maize, beans, sweet potatoes, and groundnuts. Uganda’s export earners in Agriculture are tobacco, cotton, tea and coffee. In fact, both varieties of coffee beans, the Robusta and Arabica, are grown here. Incidentally, the Arabica variety was introduced in Uganda in the 1900s, but the Robusta is an indigenous plant. According to Africa Big Five Safaris, “Coffee tours are organized through guides with knowledge of coffee farming, processing, and roasting,” while talking about Arabica coffee grown on the slopes of Mount Elgon.
5. Lots of Wildlife
The pearl of Africa is a unique country and due to its abundant rains and tropical climate, tracks of land easily can turn into the impenetrable forests. Nature decided to reward Uganda a healthy dose of the African elephant with its high appetite and huge need for water daily. As the big animals trek the Savannah grasslands looking for foliage, they effectively keep the land from being overgrown with trees and shrubs. It is here where you will find the king of the jungle lounging in the shade while his cousin, the leopard, will be up to the tree, both waiting for the unsuspecting zebra, antelope, or wildebeest that will be dinner. In the 1970s, the rhino was becoming virtually extinct in Uganda due to indiscriminate poaching. The effort to reintroduce the animal in the country since 2001 has seen the population grow to 20 white rhinos with the most recent addition having been born at the Ziwa Sanctuary in August 2017. The most dangerous of all mammals, the Cape buffalo, is also to be found here where it finds lots of grass to graze on. The many waterways, including the Nile River, are habitations of the hippo, which you would most likely mistake for small islands on the river if you are not familiar with their habits of submerging the head, legs, and torso underwater and only leaving the back exposed. The crocodiles are in abundance and so are the many species of primates. Heading this primate list is the largest concentration of mountain gorillas in the world and the sister chimpanzees. Giraffes, gazelles, and loads of other animals populate the Savannah and forests of the Pearl of Africa.
Uganda is also blessed with variety of birds. Are you interested in bird watching, Uganda has got over 1000 varieties of birds. The grey crown-crested crane has been the emblem on the Ugandan flag well over a century, having been selected by Sir Frederick Jackson, the then governor of the Ugandan British Protectorate in 1893. This beautiful bird stands more than 3 feet with long black legs and a neck that competes with its slender legs for length. On its head, it proudly wears a fringe of pearl grey feathers. The three colours of the Ugandan flag, Yellow, Black and Red, make up the colors of the crested crane’s head.
What makes Uganda a paradise for birding is the diverse climatic conditions from dry savannah to tropical rain forests. The European birds and the native birds live together during migration seasons and share the beautiful environment. You can also catch the Barn Swallow and European Bee-eater, two European birds that love visiting Uganda regularly. At Mabamba Wetland Bay, you will find the Shoebill Stork, the Saddle Billed Stork while the Goliath Heron and African Grey Parrot can be sighted in the Murchison Falls National Park. The Standard Winged Nightjar loves to come out and feast on the white ants, which appear in plenty in the Teso region when it is warm or, as they say in Uganda, during the white ants season.
7. The mountains of Uganda
With the mountains of the moon and the Blue Mountains, Uganda is blessed with Best Mountain in Africa. The country has got over 15 mountains that offer different flora and fauna and amazing trekking safaris. The tallest mountain in Uganda is the snow capped mount Stanley, standing at 16762 feet above sea level. Mount Stanley is one peak along the Rwenzori ranges in the southwest of Uganda. From Lichen to Bamboo forests, from the rare moon striped mouse to otter shrew, and anything in between, is the goodies hidden within the mountain. Mountains include; Stanley, Speke, at a height of 16,043 feet (4,890 meters). It is also within the Rwenzori range, and here you will find leopards, antelopes, chimpanzees, and elephants among other smaller animal species.
Mount Rwenzori also known as the mountains of the moon and is the longest mountain range in Africa and is found at the border of Uganda and DRC. The mountain has got four peaks apart from Stanley and Speke, these include; Mount Emin, Gessi, Luigi di savoia. Many people enjoy hiking the mountain range and experiencing the different kinds of vegetation as they go up the icy peaks. They are also a great place for bird-viewing. Mount Elgon at the border of Uganda and Kenya is also an extinct volcano whose highest peak is named Wagagai and is on Uganda’s side. The mountain is famous for climbing, hiking and mountaineering.
8. The Rain forest of Uganda
Due to its tropical climate and rains in most parts of the country, the country has forests that are home to variety of animals, birds, reptiles and insects, not to mention the many plant species. Though most of the original or primary forests have been lost over the years through deforestation, encroachment of farmlands and growth of towns and villages, there is still a good area under forest cover that is worth a visit. One of the reasons why people love visiting Uganda is to go on a mountain gorilla trek. This is the main destination for those raring to go on a gorilla trek in Uganda. you will also get a bonus of meeting other members of the primate family that are added to the 345 mammals that are found in Ugandan forests, 500 plant species, tens of amphibians, more than 1000 birds and 160 reptiles.
9. The climate of Uganda
Uganda’s longest border is the lake on one side followed by a range of mountains that almost surround this land locked country. The climate is mostly tropical with temperatures ranging from 21-25 degrees celicus, but of course, would be much cooler in the mountains with the top of Mount Elgon often covered with snow. A small part in the north is dry while the rest of the country receives annual rain fall in the region of 1000m to 2000mm. the climate of Uganda is so perfect that one would feel like it’s a holiday each and every day.
10. Safety and Security
‘The political climate in the country is so stable since democracy was restored in the 1980s. Other than the war with the lord’s Resistance Army that lasted almost 20 years, the country has been politically stable. This stability has enabled the nation to recover and grow economically as well as democratically. There have been a few discontent voices in the opposition, but they have not seemed to shake the stability and steady progress of Uganda and Ugandans. A special tourism police unit has been created specifically to protect tourists. “They are there for your safety and wellbeing. They even protect tourists from fraudulent, fake tour operators as arrests of them recently shows.
11. The availability of the accommodation;
There is no one who starts on a journey into the unknown without making arrangements of where they will stay. As you promise to visit Uganda, you will find a lot of accommodation options online; you can make a choice based on your pocket and the area you will be visiting. These are classified based on budget, moderate and up market or luxury.