Snapshot of Uganda
Here are a few things that are handy to know before setting foot on Ugandan soil, whether it will help you in your travels or help you be more considerate of Ugandan culture.
Africa is really really big
Africa has more land mass than the United States, China, Mexico, India, and Western Europe combined. It is made up of 54 countries and an estimated 3,000+ tribes. This continent is about as diverse in land, resources, culture, and people as all the other countries listed above are from one another. Uganda, on the other hand, is roughly the size of Oregon. That means when we're talking about Uganda...we're only talking about Uganda.
93,065 square miles (241,038 square kilometers) (roughly the same size as the UK)
Estimated 41,490,000 people, that's a density of 209 per Km2 (540 people per mi2) Learn more.
The life expectancy is 59 years old, and the median age is 16 years of age.
(Roughly) USD/UGX 3600; EUR/UGX 4150; GBR/UGX; 4690, UGX = Ugandan Shillings. Learn more.
$91,212 billion US dollars ($2,155 per capita)
Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986
Uganda is a small country situated just above the equator bordering Kenya to the east, South Sudan to the north, Tanzania and Rwanda to the south, and the Dominican Republic of Congo to the west.
Despite being landlocked, Uganda's land is still lush and green with the Nile River running between its many bodies of water, including Africa's largest lake, Lake Victoria. The soil near the lakes are among the most fertile in the world.
It's capital city, Kampala, is built around 7 hills not far from the north shores of Lake Victoria. Most of the land is in the plateau region, ranging from about 5,000 feet above sea level in the south, with a gradual slop down to the South Sudanese valley in the north, to around 3,000 feet.
A lot of the Ugandan borders are identified with mountain ranges and valleys, like the Western Rift Valley, and Mount Sabinyo which shares its peak with Rwanda and DRC.
Uganda's ecosystem is truly diverse from the tall volcanic mountains of the eastern and western regions, to the densely forested swamps of the Albert Nile River, and the rainforests of the country's central plateau.
The official languages are English and Swahili, but there are at least 32 different languages among the 56 recognized tribes in the country, divided by 4 main language families (see image). English is the main language taught in schools, and most foreigners can get around on English alone.
Learning the local language is recommended if you plan on staying for more than a few months, although not many expats do. Budgeting for a local language teacher can be very beneficial (prices vary by location and teacher).
Before Uganda's borders were rather arbitrarily drawn by it's previous colonizer, Great Britain, around 1914, the land was divided between many tribes, most of which had little in common. The borders were determined largely by British influence by treaties made with tribal leaders. Some lines, however, were actually drawn separating some tribes from each other.
There's an old story about an Acholi man and wife who had a fight, and she made him sleep on the couch. When they woke up, the new border was drawn right down the middle of their house. When he tried to go talk to her, she refused and demanded a passport! Obviously its an exaggerated example of what happened, but historically this change was very significant. It was then that the country transitioned from migrating ethnic groups to a united governed state. Uganda has found relative unity under their government, but there is still a social division among tribes that can be seen almost everywhere.
Uganda's not so boring history...
There's a reason these leaders and events are still talked about today. The stories are intense, the wars are hard fought, and the impact still haunts us.see for yourself