INTRODUCTION TO UGANDA.
Uganda, commonly known as the “pearl of Africa” has an area of approximately 236,580 sq km and a population of about 25 million people.
Its climate is fairly constant characterized by cool and wet seasons .With mountains like Mt Elgon in the east, Ruwenzori’s in the west, the rest of the country is tropical with temperatures averaging about 26c during the day and 16c at night. The hottest months are between December and February with temperatures ranging between 30 to 32c, though the highlands are considerably cooler especially at night.
TOURISTIC ATTRACTIONS AND SITES.
Uganda has a lot of tourism potential but has remained unexploited because of various factors such as lack of vigorous marketing, political instability, lack of security, inaccessibility among others, but currently due to the East Africa co-operation, more exposure has been made possible since even travel within the country has been made much easier.
Apart from possessing the title” Pearl of Africa”, it also possesses the two most important and largest fresh water bodies in Africa,: Lake Victoria and River Nile and more sites!!! Some attractions includes;
The intense Mabira Forest which has lodges and fit for some activities like trekking,camping,etc
Bwindi impenetrable forest, common for gorilla tracking.
Mt Elgon and Ruwenzori which have magnificent sites for hiking, camping sites,trekking,etc and have attractions like caves, gorges, hot springs and waterfalls
National parks like Queen Elizabeth, Murchison national park, Kidepo valley, mt Elgon national park Bwindi national park, among others.
Murchison falls along Kazinga channel in Murchison national park
Source of River Nile, where tourists can participate in very many activities like white water rafting, mountain biking, exploration, horseback safaris, among others.
FAMOUS HISTORICAL SITES AND CULTURES INCLUDE:
The martyrs shrine at Namugongo
Botanical gardens at shores of Lake Victoria
The local Buganda culture and traditions.
The traditional shrines of Kitara and Buganda kingdom
Activities: Uganda Gorilla-tracking Most visitors to Uganda come to track the endangered mountain gorillas in the south west of the country, in either Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga National Park. Less than 700 of these gentle giants exist in the world, with half the remaining population living in Uganda, divided into four habituated gorilla troops: three in Bwindi and one in Mgahinga. Despite their fierce reputation, gorillas are peaceable primates, the largest and most ferocious looking of the ape family, and the chance to view them from up close is a thrilling as well as awe-inspiring experience.
Tracking them generally involves a fairly strenuous walk through forest or dense undergrowth, and on steep mountain slopes, led by guides who take trekkers to where the gorillas were found the day before. From there the trackers look for signs to indicate which way they went. Tracking can take anything from three to eight hours, but groups are only permitted to stay with the gorillas for one hour once they have been found, to prevent behavioural disturbances and the possible transmission of diseases from humans to gorillas. Gorillas share 95% of their genes with humans and people with even a common cold are not allowed to join a group, as this could be fatal to the animal. Peak season is January, being one of the drier times of year. Permits allow a maximum of six people per group per day and booking is at the UWA Headquarters in Kampala.
Getting around: Buses connect all major towns daily. Minibuses and shared taxis are a good way of getting around and are the most commonly used by Ugandans – they are frequent, have fixed fares and leave when full. A few airlines offer scheduled and charter flights within the country; some places can only safely be reached by air. Cars can be rented from Entebbe Airport, Kampala and other major towns.
Travel Health: Travellers’ diarrhoea is the most common complaint for visitors to Uganda. Recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and typhoid; a Hepatitis E outbreak in northern Uganda since the end of 2007 has killed over 60 people so far and infected thousands more, and visitors are advised to take precautions if visiting the area. All visitors require vaccination against yellow fever. Cholera outbreaks occur occasionally, but most travellers are at low risk for infection; bottled water is widely available. Malaria and HIV/AIDS are widespread. Outbreaks of the plague and meningitis occur and visitors should insure that vaccinations are up to date.
Local Customs: Visitors to Uganda are advised not to take photographs of military or official sites, including Owen Falls Dam. Homosexual practices are frowned upon and public displays of affection should be avoided.
Major Airports in Uganda: Entebbe International Airport (EBB) Location: The airport is situated 25 miles (40km) southwest of Kampala.
Time: Local time is GMT +3.
Climate:Uganda has a typically tropical climate with little variation in temperature throughout the year. Distinctive wet and dry seasons characterise the climate of most of the country, except in the semi-arid north east. The dry season, generally from December to February and mid-June to mid-August, is the best time to visit. The two rainy seasons are from March to May, and September to November. In the south the rainiest month is April. The mountainous areas in western and eastern Uganda can be cold at night.
Money: The official currency is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currency, like US dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling, can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted outside of Kampala. ATMs are available in Kampala. Credit cards are only accepted at major hotels, shops and restaurants, usually only in the cities.