interesting facts about Uganda

7 Interesting Facts About Uganda

Squeezed between Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. It’s home to a staggering range of landscapes, including Africa’s largest lake, tallest mountains and longest river. Whether you’re tracking gorillas or trekking volcanoes, Uganda really has it all. Try these interesting facts about Uganda on for size if you don’t believe us.

Interesting Facts About Uganda

1. Uganda is home to Africa’s tallest mountain range

The UNESCO-listed Rwenzori Mountains National Park is the tallest mountain range in Africa. They stretch nearly 100,000 ha across western Uganda and comprise glaciers, waterfalls and lakes.

The mountain range includes Africa’s third-highest mountain, Mount Margherita at 5,109m (16,763ft) too.

Interesting Facts About Uganda

2. Uganda is known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’

Uganda is home to staggering biodiversity and wild landscapes, from lakes to snow-capped peaks to tropical rainforests. Winston Churchill described Uganda as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ in his 1908 book, My African Journey.

interesting facts about Uganda

3. Uganda is home to Africa’s largest lake

Lake Victoria – or Victoria Nyanza – stretches across 26, 828 sq. miles (69,484 sq. km). It is the largest lake in Africa, as well as the world’s largest tropical lake and the world’s second-largest freshwater lake by surface area. The lake has a maximum depth of 262 and 276 ft (80 and 84 metres) and an average depth of 130 ft (40 metres). Nearly half the lake (45%) is located in Uganda, while 6% sits in Kenya and the remaining 49% in Tanzania.

The lake is also home to endemic and endangered fish species such as cichlids and Nile Perch.

4. It’s home to nearly half the world’s surviving mountain gorilla population

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to around 340 mountain gorillas – almost half the world’s surviving population. In fact, the gorillas only live in two places: the dense vegetation of the national park and along the Virunga mountain range, which stretches from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda to the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park spans 128 sq. miles (331 sq. km) and is home to an astonishing number of endangered species, such as forest elephants, 11 species of primate including chimpanzees, African golden cats and the rare giant forest hog.

interesting facts about Uganda

5. Uganda is a haven for bird-watchers

Uganda is widely considered one of the world’s best bird-watching destinations. There are at least 1,041 species of bird in the country, accounting for almost half the total found in the whole continent and 11% of the world’s species. The Gray Crowned Crane or Crested Crane is Uganda’s national emblem. The birds grow to a whopping three ft. (90 cm) tall and can easily be recognised by their crown of stiff golden feathers.

There are 34 ‘Important Bird Areas’ designed for birdwatching and birding trips. Some of the best include the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mabamba Bay Wetland and the Entebbe Peninsula. It’s a hotspot for spotting Shoebill, Green Breasted Pitta, African Green Broadbill and the Brown-chested Lapwing.

interesting facts about Uganda

6. It has a long and fascinating history

It’s believed that Uganda has been inhabited for at least 50,000 years and possibly even as long as 100,000 years. The landlocked country once formed part of the Kingdom of Buganda, a powerful East African kingdom formed in the late 14th century. The British adopted the name – which became Uganda – for the East African colony. In fact, you can visit the four UNESCO-listed Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi. By 1800, Buganda controlled the entire territory bordering Lake Victoria from the Victoria Nile to the Kagera River.

In 1862, the British explorer John Hanning Speke became the first European to visit Budganda. Form 1890, Britain began colonising the region and in 1894 Uganda became a British protectorate. It remained part of the British Empire until 1962, when it became an independent country with Milton Obote as prime minister. Since then, the country has suffered instability, a military coup, a dictatorship and a five-year war. Since 1986, the country has enjoyed relative stability.

interesting facts about Uganda

7. It’s home to the world’s smallest church

Located 11 miles (18 km) from Nebbi, the Chapel on Biku Hill is the world’s smallest church. The rounded stone building is only 2.5 metres (8 ft 3) wide and 2.4 metres (8 ft) high. It can accommodate a grand total of three people, including the priest. The retired Archbishop of the Church of Uganda founded the church in 1996 to offer Christians a special interaction with God once they reach the hill.

Allie D'Almo

Allie is a passionate traveller with a hearty interest in great food and stories. She likes to travel slowly, particularly to underrated and underloved places. She’s lived in Italy and is now based in London, where she spends most of her time either plotting her next trip or writing about her last one.

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