A prized thing is to be handled with care because of its preciousness and is often referred to as a “pearl”A pearl is formed after a unique formation process that separates it from any other gem to give it the high value that makes it a pearl. Uganda was baptized “pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill a visiting member of parliament from the UK in 1907 and is indeed a prized country with lots of natural resources and marveling unspoiled beauty. The country is endowed with the snow-capped “mountains of the moon” wildlife that consists of mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, antelopes, lions, leopards, zebras, Rothschild’s giraffes, crocodiles, hippopotamus, a unique variety of birds and more. The other features entail the source of river Nile, Lakes, tropical rain forests, rocks, hills and a diverse culture. The vegetation consists of Savannah grasslands, mivule trees, dry thorn scrubs, acacia trees, and euphoria shrubs of the northeast, elephant grass and papyrus which grows in the swamps. An account of Uganda’s physical features paints an outstanding picture which can only be rightly referred to as the pearl of Africa.
Lake and Rivers
Uganda’s abundant water bodies consist lakes, swamps, rivers and streams and almost one-fifth of it is water or wetland moreover all East Africa’s four Great Lakes lie within the Pearl of Africa’s borders.The four big lakes consist Lake Kyoga, Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward besides other smaller ones like: Lake Bugondo, Lake Kwania, Lake George, Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Opeta besides many others. While Lake Victoria is the largest in Uganda it’s also the second largest fresh water lake in the world after Lake Superior in the USA and feeds the River Nile waters to form the Victoria Nile. Its flow continues further through Lake Kyoga into Lake Albert to become Albert Nile on its great journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the water bodies in Uganda are also hosts to wildlife providing enchanting boat rides for memorable experiences. In addition to that the River Nile also provides an opportunity for a world class white water rafting experience besides kayaking, and marveling views of one of the world’s loudest waterfalls known as the Murchison Falls.
Mountains Hills and Rocks
Uganda is largely plateau area with a blend of rolling hills, mountains, wide grasslands plus volcanic foothills in the eastern side of the country. Big mountains with beautiful wild vegetation and snow-capped peaks plus amazing craters abound here in the Pearl of Africa. Some of these mountains are Mt Elgon which has the largest intact caldera in the world, Mount Rwenzori with a snow capped top, Mt Mgahinga which is capped by a swamp-filled crater and a vegetation of giant lobelia and bamboo forest.Uganda’s rocks include but are not limited to: Rwoboko rock, Tororo rock and Nyero rocks plus more. Rwoboko Rock situated west of the country is nestled on a scenic ridge with breathtaking views of Lake Mburo National Park while Tororo Rock is located nearly 5 kilometers southeast of the town’s business center. The coordinates of this rock are: 00 41 06N, 34 11 01E (Latitude: 0.6850; Longitude: 34.1836). A climb to the top of Tororo rock is a great hike that brings you to see the great views of the town and across the Kenyan border. The Nyero rocks are located in Eastern Uganda 8kms out of Kumi town and this site is renown for displaying ancient art showing activities believed to have been carried out as far back as the Iron Age.
Uganda has a big forest cover although records reveal that it’s being depleted at a high rate due to population pressure. Despite the down ward trend it’s amazing that the World Conservation Monitoring Centre reports that, Uganda’s biodiversity has a total of about 1592 known species comprising of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles etc. Of these the species endemic to Uganda add to about 1.1% while 3.1% are endangered. The pearl of Africa is also home to at least 4900 species of vascular plants and covers a total forest area of about 2988 ha which is about 15% of forest cover.
The Pearl of Africa is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries and some of the friendliest people on the planet. Uganda’s culture is very diverse containing over 50 tribes and emphasized by the variety of food types and tropical fruits like: pineapples, mangoes, passion fruits, jackfruit, and oranges etc. Additionally the country is blessed with organically fertile soils, and 2 food growing seasons in a year giving it the potential to be Africa’s food basket. The Country consists of different sub regions which are also the defining lines for the varied cultures and tribes. The Bantu-speaking tribes consist of Baganda, in the central region, the Banyakole, Batooro, Bakonjo, Banyoro, Bakiga, Bafumbira, Batwa and Bamba, in the western region, while the Basoga, Banyoli, Bagishu, and Bagwere are from the eastern region. The Nilotic tribes include the: Alur, Acholi, Jopadhola, Jonam, Sebi, and Pokot from the northeastern area, and the Nilo-Hamites who consist of the Langi, Iteso, Kumam, Karimojong, and Kakwa on the north side of the country among others. All these tribes have different cultural practices expressed in traditional dances, songs, and folk tales. Cultural dances in Uganda include: courtship dances, marriage ceremony dances and harvest songs among others. Some of the traditional dances are: larakaraka a courtship dance among the Acholi, called Runyege – Entogoro among the Bunyoro. The Ekitaguriro a dance from Ankole while Agwara is the social dance of the Lugbara tribe besides many others. Uganda’s traditional dance performances are filled with the beat and excitement to draw audiences to the dance floor irrespective their country of origin. Visiting the pearl of Africa for a cultural experience will give you a raw form of some of the most amazing cultural encounters in Africa.
Uganda is blessed with a variety of wildlife that exceeds the description“destination of the big 5”. The Country has an un -equalled bird population in Africa with over 1000 bird species moreover many of them are found nowhere else in the world. Some of the unique birds in the pearl of Africa include: African Broad Bill,Shelley’s Crimson wing, Green-breasted pitta, the elusive Shoe Bill Stork, Great Blue Turaco, Bar-tailed Trogon and more. Several mammal populations have Uganda as their home and consist several primate species at a count of 13 types so far. The pearl of Africa is also host to slightly over half of the world’s remaining endangered mountain gorillas nestled in the amazing Bwindi impenetrable Forest National Park on the southwest part of the country. The wild animals consist of, hippopotamus, crocodiles, elephants, cape buffalo, lion, leopards, warthogs, antelopes, snakes, mongoose, zebra, Rothschild giraffe, chimpanzees, baboons, mountain gorillas, black & white colobus, l’hoest, mangabey, golden monkeys, besides several monkey species and pangolin which are the only scaly mammals in the world besides many more animal species. To exhaust the wonders of Uganda in a short write up like this one is unjust, Uganda still has a lot to be explored and is your off the beaten path destination. Karibu!