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Interesting Facts About Uganda | For Travelers To The Pearl Of Africa

Facts About Uganda

Facts About Uganda

Find interesting facts about Uganda.

Expect to learn more about wildlife in Uganda, the weather and climate, the languages spoken, Uganda currency, national parks in Uganda, UNESCO world heritage sites, and many other useful facts about Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.

Interesting Facts About Uganda

This guide to Uganda facts shares interesting information about Uganda that you may need to know before you travel to Uganda the Pearl of Africa.

Uganda Facts

1. What is the official name of Uganda?

The official name of Uganda is the Republic of Uganda. Uganda is named after the Buganda kingdom. Buganda encompasses a large portion of the south of the country and whose language Luganda is widely spoken throughout the country.

From 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the United Kingdom, which established administrative law across the territory.

Uganda gained independence from the UK on 9 October 1962.

2. Where is Uganda located?

Uganda is a landlocked country located on the African continent in the Great Lakes region of East Africa.

Uganda bordered by 5 countries: to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda and to the south by Tanzania.

The longest border is shared with DR Congo, followed by Kenya.

3. how big is Uganda?

The country size of Uganda is about 241,038 square kilometers (93,065 square miles). It is 79th largest country in the world; same size as the US state of Oregon.

The country is on the east African plateau at an average elevation of 1,100 meters (3,609 feet) above sea level. It slopes downwards to the Sudanese Plain to the north.

In the west there is a series of mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. Although the country is landlocked, around 26% of Uganda consisting of water: lakes, wetlands, and rivers. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania.

Uganda also lies almost completely within the Nile basin. The Nile River flows out of Lake Victoria at Jinja, northwards to South Sudan and beyond.

4. Why is Uganda called, the Pearl of Africa?

The Pearl of Africa is a slogan from Winston Churchill. In 1907 Churchill, who was at that stage of his life an explorer travelling the world, visited Uganda and went on safari there. He was blown away. In his 1908 book “My African Journey”, Sir Churchill writes:

For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly ‘the Pearl of Africa.

5. Does Uganda sit on the equator?

Uganda is one of six African states that lies on the equator, offering visitors a unique moment to stand in two places at once.

The Uganda Equator monument is located at Kayabwe in Masaka District and in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese District.

Because it sits on the Equator, Uganda enjoys plenty of sunny days.

It also receives plenty of rainfall, so rivers gush, waterfalls impress, the vegetation is exuberant, and the landscape is green.

Facts About Uganda

6. What is the flag of Uganda and what does it mean?

The flag of Uganda has horizontal stripes in the colors black, yellow, and red.

The black color represents the native ethnic tribes of Africa.

The red color stands for brotherhood, the connection through blood, and the color yellow refers to Africa’s sunshine.

At the center, you can find the national symbol of Uganda, the grey-crowned crane.

The raised leg of the Grey-crowned crane is a symbol of the ongoing development of Uganda since it became independent from the British colonialists in 1962.

Facts About Uganda

7. What is the capital city of Uganda?

Kampala is the capital city of Uganda. It is also the largest city in Uganda.

The city is located in Buganda region, north of Lake Victoria.

Kampala originally referred to only the present-day Old Kampala hill, on whose summit Fort Lugard was located and the initial headquarters of the colonial authority in the in the soon to be Uganda Protectorate.

Before the British construction of Fort Lugard, the hill was a hunting reserve of the Kabaka (King) of Buganga and had several species of antelope, especially the Impala.

As a result, when the British colonial officials were allocated this hill by the then Kabaka (King) of Buganda, they referred to it as “The Hill of the Impala”.

The Baganda, in whose territory this British settlement was located, then translated “Hill of the Impala” as Akasozi ke’Empala. This was then shortened to K’empala and finally Kampala. Kasozi means “hill”, ke “of”, and empala the plural of “impala”.

Hence the name “Kampala” came to refer to this initial British colonial settlement that would later on spread out from the occupied Old Kampala hill near the pre-existing Kibuga (capital) of the Buganda Kingdom.

8. How is the weather & climate in Uganda?

Uganda earned the name, “Pearl of Africa”, partly due to her amazing weather and climate. The climate in Uganda is tropical.

And the weather is warm during day and cool at night. It is only in Uganda where you can comfortably keep shirtless both during day and night!

There is slight variations across regions and seasons. The country has two rainy seasons (average annual rainfall is 1,000 to 2,000 mm) in the south.

Uganda is semi-arid in the northeast. The When Is The Best Time To Visit Uganda? is from December to February and from June to September.

However, temperatures are always pleasant in Uganda, with the dry season having relatively little rainfall.

9. How many people live in Uganda?

Uganda has over 45 million people. It is a fast-growing and densely populated country in Africa. And with the world’s youngest population, Uganda keeps growing.

The average age in Uganda is around 16 years. About 80% of the population lives in rural areas. Kampala, the largest city, has around one and a half million inhabitants.

In the cities, many people live a very western-style life.

10. What is National animal Of Uganda?

The Uganda kob is the national animal of Uganda and features on the Ugandan coat of arms. The Uganda kob is a type of antelope.

These Uganda animals move around in small herds, which can come together into large groups sometimes up to 1000 strong. Kobs are abundant and not protected, though their grazing areas are coming under strain due to farming.

In Uganda, these animals are one of the main sources of food for predators including lions, leopards and hyenas. Male Uganda kobs can whistle – which they do both to mark their territory and as part of their courtship rituals.

Facts About Uganda

11. What is the National Bird of Uganda?

The National Bird of Uganda is the Grey-crowned crane because of its elegance and beauty. The Grey-crowned crane, also known as “the Crested Crane” also shines on Uganda’s flag and coat of arms.

It can be found abundantly near the Uganda’s many lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Standing up to 3.3 feet tall and weighing in at 3.5 kilograms plus with a wingspan of 6.5 feet, this is quite a specimen to behold.

The cranes have grey bodies, white wings with brown and gold feathers, white cheeks, bright red gular sacs underneath their chins, relatively short bill, the legs are black, and most strikingly, a spray of stiff golden feathers forms a crown around their head.

Facts About Uganda

12. What is the National dish of Uganda?

The Uganda’s National dish is Matoke, steamed and mashed green banana. In is in fact, Africa’s Banana Republic. 

The country grows more Bananas than any other nation except India and China. Over 50 varieties of Matooke-a plantain banana. They main staple in much of the country.

13. What is the National Anthem of Uganda?

“Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty” is the national anthem of Uganda.

It was composed by George Wilberforce Kakoma. It was adopted as the national anthem in 1962, when the country gained independence from the United Kingdom.

It is musically one of the shortest national anthems in the world. Consequently, multiple verses are sung when it is performed in public, as below:

Oh, Uganda! May God uphold thee, We lay our future in thy hand,

United, free for liberty, Together we’ll always stand.

Oh, Uganda! The land of freedom, Our love and labour we give,

And with neighbours all at our country’s call, In peace and friendship we’ll live.

Oh, Uganda! The land that feeds us, By sun and fertile soil grown;

For our own dear land, we shall always stand, The Pearl of Africa’s Crown.

14. What currency is used in Uganda?

Uganda’s National currency is the Ugandan Shilling, issued by the Bank of Uganda.

Officially divided into cents until 2013, due to substantial inflation the shilling now has no subdivision. UGX is the currency code for the Ugandan shilling, although the symbol USh is used to represent the currency locally.

The currency structure of Uganda consists of banknotes and coins.

The banknotes denominations that are currently in circulation include UGX 1000, UGX 2000, UGX 5000, UGX 10000, UGX 20000, and UGX 50000. The coins include UGX; 100, 200, 500, and 1000.

Please note that US Dollars are also widely accepted in Uganda. The current exchange rate is 1 USD  = 3,734.19 Ugandan Shillings.

Facts About Uganda

15. What language is spoken in Uganda?

Uganda is a multilingual country with 41 living languages.

The most spoken local language is Luganda. This is followed by English, which is the official language of Uganda since 1962. Al schools in Uganda use English in their studies due to the introduction of English during the colonial period.

English is also the language of business and judicial matters. In fact, Uganda is the best English-speaking country in Africa.

The most spoken language  after Luganda and English is Swahili. This language is more common in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania.

In 2005, there were talks to include Swahili into as the second official language as it was seen as neutral, however this is still not ratified by the government.

16. What is the time zone in Uganda?

The time in Uganda is given by a single time zone. The time zone in Uganda is officially denoted as East Africa Time Zone (EAT), which is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3). Uganda does not observe daylight saving time.

17. How many National Parks are there in Uganda?

Uganda has 10 National Parks. A visit to anyone of these magical Uganda safari  parks rewards visitors with unique experiences. The 10 national parks of Uganda include:

19. How many UNESCO sites are in Uganda?

Uganda has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (2001), Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (1994) and Rwenzori Mountains National Park (1994).

Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi, Facts About Uganda

20. What is the largest lake in Uganda?

Lake Victoria is Uganda’s largest lake and is situated in southern Uganda.  With a surface area of just under 70 000 km², it also ranks as Africa’s largest lake, the world’s largest tropical lake and the second largest freshwater lake in the world.

Yet despite its huge size, the shimmering lake is quite shallow – only 80 metres at its deepest. Uganda shares this giant lake with Kenya and Tanzania. Tulambule offer trips or fishing expeditions to Lake Victoria.

The Ssese Islands, lying close to Entebbe, offer visitors to Uganda the chance to soak up a little of the lake’s atmosphere. The emphasis on these islands is less about wildlife and more about rest, relaxation and interacting with the local fishermen.

Another island lying near the equator and close to Entebbe is Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Uganda’s sanctuary for 52 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from illegal pet trade and circuses, who are now free to roam the island and play in its tangled vines and towering trees.

21. What is the highest mountain in Uganda?

The snow-capped Mount Stanley in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park is the highest mountain in Uganda at 5109 meters.

Mount Stanley is also is the third highest mountain in all of Africa, after Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro  (5,895 meters) and Mount Kenya in Kenya (5,199 meters).

The Rwenzori Mountains are the legendary “Mountains of the Moon”. They are situated on western border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo and are a haven for hiking safaris in Uganda.

Facts About Uganda

22. What are the most important export products in Uganda?

Most Ugandans work in agriculture or as farmers.

Did you know 70 percent of the land in Uganda is used for agriculture? That is a lot! The country’s most important export products are therefore coffee.

Tea, tobacco, cotton, corn, beans, sesame, flowers, vanilla, and fish are also among the main export goods of Uganda. Important trading countries are the neighboring countries of Kenya, Congo DRC, and Rwanda. Others are China, UAE, and India.

Facts About Uganda

23. Is Uganda a Rich Or poor country?

The Pearl Of Africa, Uganda is sadly ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. Most Ugandans live from farming or agriculture. However, the economy is growing due to Uganda’s natural resources.

24. Can you find all of the Big 5 in Uganda?

Yes, you can find all of African Big Five animals (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino) in Uganda.

However, you won’t find rhinos in the Uganda national parks. The only place to see the Southern white rhinoceros is at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where the rhinos are protected by armed rangers 24/7.

Apart from that Uganda has varied wildlife and you can find, for example, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, and antelopes in most of the National Parks.

Facts About Uganda

25. What is Uganda most known for?

Uganda boasts with the highest concentration of primates than any other country in the world. Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas. The country also has over 5000 chimpanzees and numerous old world monkeys.

In Uganda you can go gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, both of which are in the southwest of the country. A gorilla trekking tour involves going on a guided hike through dense montane forest to see a gorilla family in its natural habitat.

The hike itself is very special, as you walk through remote forest full of wildlife, colourful birds and beautiful plants. Read more about Wildlife In Uganda.

Facts About Uganda

Fun Uganda Facts

It Is Customary For Men To Wear Trousers

Even if you are a male tourist on Uganda safari tours, we recommend that you wear trousers on your trip. You will find that even the locals are wearing trousers, no matter how hot it gets in the day.

That is because shorts are thought to be immature and childish. On the other hand, you will also rarely see women wearing short skirts or shorts. Even the women have to cover their legs, or they are thought to be of questionable character.

Grasshoppers (Nsenene) Are Considered A Delicacy

Every place has unique food and delicacies that it consumes. That is why if a local invite you for grasshoppers, don’t get freaked out.

It means that the person admires you because pan-fried grasshoppers are a delicacy in Uganda. That said, don’t worry because pan-fried grasshopper does not define all Uganda cuisine.

There are tons of delicious Ugandan food that you can try and should not miss.

Facts About Uganda

People Eat Rolex For Breakfast

No, we are not talking about the watch brand here. Rolex in Uganda means roll eggs, which is an omelet rolled in chapati bread. The people here love it so much that they have a festival for it each year to celebrate this food.

The National Dress for Women

The National Dress for is the Gomesi or Busuuti.

The dress was designed between 1905 and 1908 by Gomes a Goan Taylor from India as a school uniform for girls Gayaza Junior School.

The Gomesi is a colorful floor-length dress. It is the most commonly used costume for women and has become the unofficial national cultural dress.

Facts About Uganda

Visit our Uganda safaris and tours page for more info on trips to this magical destination. Customized tours to Uganda are available to suit your requirements and travel dates.

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