east africa maps
No. 1 - UGANDA
The main map on this title locates, describes and illustrates the country’s national parks. On the reverse, annotated maps highlight the primary tourist attractions and points of interest. A checklist and crossword are included to keep visitors entertained along the way. The Uganda map provides an attractive souvenir and is presented by numerous safari companies to their clients. While adequate to indicate the itinerary of a safari, as a countrywide self-navigation tool, the small scale has some limitations. For travelling from A to B, the best map commonly available in Uganda is published by Nelles.
Though no larger than the United Kingdom or the US state of Oregon, Uganda’s 241,000km² area contains a remarkable diversity of natural attractions. East Africa meets west within its borders; Congo-style rainforests bristling with central African birds and primates adjoin expansive, east African savannas inhabited by big game favourites. Add the snow peaks of the continent’s highest mountain range, an island-studded expanse of its largest lake, the turbulent headwaters of the world’s longest river, the vast trough of the Western Rift Valley, and a particularly friendly and hospitable people - and the result is the continent’s most welcoming and varied safari destination.
GEOGRAPHY AND LANDSCAPE
Uganda is found on the equator in east-central Africa where it lies in the upper Nile basin between the eastern and western branches of the East African rift valley. Its most memorable landscapes are all consequences of this geographical system.
Arguably, the finest scenery lies along the western (Congo) border which follows the trough of the Western (or Albertine) Rift Valley. Here the improbable equatorial snow peaks of the 5100m Rwenzori mountain tower above lakes Edward (913m) and Albert (612m) while further interest is provided by the Virunga volcanoes (pictured below), the forested hills of the Bwindi Impenetrable, and the Katwe and Ndali crater lakes.
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At the northern end of the Albertine rift, the Nile races down 80km of rapids before plunging over the Murchison Falls. Happily for visitors, most of Uganda’s national parks and wildlife are also located in this remarkable area. Though the eastern branch of the rift valley system lies outside Uganda in Kenya and Tanzania, associated tectonic activity has left a chain of extinct volcanoes along the Uganda-Kenya border; the largest of these is the massive, 80 x 50km form of the 4321m Mount Elgon.
South-central Uganda is a green and pleasant land rather than a spectacular one. Low, flat topped hills divide swampy river valleys that seep into lakes Victoria and Kyoga. As the explorer John Hanning Speke established in 1863, the River Nile is the sole outlet from Lake Victoria. Below the Source of the Nile at Jinja town, the great river starts its 6650km journey to Egypt and the Mediterranean in dramatic fashion, plunging down a series of rapids which provide excellent rafting and kayaking.
A fascinating array of wildlife is supported by a wide variety of habitats in Uganda. These are a consequence of rift valley geography (giving rise to lakes, swamps and mountains) and Uganda’s longitudinal location at the transition from Central African forest to East African grasslands. This diversity is epitomised by a 1000+ birdlist containing many Congo-Guinea forest biome species at the eastern limit of their ranges. Other forest residents include 18 primates, among them mountain gorilla and chimpanzee. The savanna parks are home to Africa’s familiar big game species; elephant, buffalo, lion, zebra, giraffe et al. But the mega fauna is not limited to terrestrial habitats; Lake Victoria contains Nile perch weighing up to – and perhaps more than - 180kg! Mega flora is also present: the Afro-montane vegetation zones on the higher mountains contain gigantic forms of familiar groundsel , heather, and lobelia.
Area: 247,00km² (equivalent to the United Kingdom or US state of Oregon).
Location: On the Equator in East-Central Africa; Longitude: 25-29º East.
Neighbours: Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Kenya.
Climate: Tropical. Two annual rainy seasons (March-May and Oct-Nov.) separate two dry seasons.
Temperatures: Daily range of 12-27ºC in most parts of the country. Hottest months are usually January and June..
Landform: A central plateau (900-1500m a.s.l.) bounded to the west by the Albertine Rift Valley and Mt. Rwenzori and to the east by a chain of extinct volcanoes.
Drainage: Uganda is drained exclusively by the Nile.
Highs and lows: Uganda’s highest point is the 5110m Mt Rwenzori while the lowest is the Nile’s effluent into Sudan (c. 600m).
Population: 32 million (2010 estimate)
Capital: Kampala (1.5 million).
Head of State: President Yoweri Museveni (since 1986)
Economy: Based on tourism, agriculture (coffee, tea, fish), donor support and remittances from Ugandans abroad.
GDP: US$1700 per capita.
Currency: Uganda shilling (1US$ = Ush 2850 in 2015).
Electricity: 240V (approx.)
Driving: Poor. Officially on the left.
Internal transport: Road and charter flights. There are no passenger trains.
Safety: All parts of Uganda are safe for travel. Since a long-running rebellion in northern Uganda ended in 2007, the only area still subject to US and UK travel advisories is the vast and under-developed region of Karamoja on the Uganda-Kenya frontier. Though informed safari companies regularly travel between Kidepo and Mbale, independent travellers should seek advise from UWA before crossing this area.
Beers: Try Nile Special (5.2% ABV), Nile Gold, and Bell (4%) lagers
Religions: Christian (85%), Islam (11%), Ba’Hai, Hindu, Jewish, traditional.
Football: National team is the Uganda Cranes (70th in July 2010 FIFA rankings)
Languages: English (official) and 33 regional languages.
Email and telephone: Mobile phone networks provide nationwide coverage for voice and data services.
Bradt Guide to Uganda (7th edition: 2013) Philip Briggs & Andrew Roberts.
Updates on blog: http://bradtugandaupdate.wordpress.com
Uganda Wildlife Authority
For information about Uganda’s national parks and wildlife reserves contact the Booking Office at:
Plot 7, Kira Road,
Tel: +256 414 355000
Uganda Travel Planner
Plan your trip with Uganda’s premier tourism & travel website at www.traveluganda.co.ug
African Bird Club
Birding news, highlights in Uganda, species records and trip reports at www.africanbirdclub.org
Free bi-monthly ad magazine and directory. Also online at www.theeye.co.ug