When I first started to tell friends and family that I was starting a business in Uganda, one of
the questions I got most frequently asked was “Is it safe?”. The more I spoke to them the more I realised people seemed to have a preconception of what Uganda would be like; a war-torn and poverty filled nation. And fair enough, I probably had the same preconceptions before I first visited, maybe because of the media portrayal, maybe the fact that Uganda is heavily featured on programs like children in need (for those from outside the UK; children in need is an event where celebrities and people from across the UK raise money for good causes around the globe) or maybe because the only bit of knowledge I had of Uganda was about Idi Amin and his brutal dictatorship. So I thought it might be a good idea to let people know why, despite all this negativity, Uganda has a special place in my heart.
Well, the main reason above anything else is the sheer diversity on offer. Diversity of the people, of the landscapes and of the wildlife. I have been travelling around Uganda for several years now and I am still learning new things and discovering new places all the time.
Over 30 different languages are spoken in Uganda. The reason for such a high number is all the different tribes from different areas, each with their own history and culture. They have different art, different dances and songs and it’s interesting to learn about the different cultures and history of each place I visit. With there being such a large number of different languages spoken, it was decided that the national language should be English, which makes speaking to people and learning from them extremely easy wherever you go. That combined with Uganda recently being listed as the second best country in the world for making friends (on a survey conducted by InterNations) makes me want to encourage all that visit Uganda to speak to as many local people as possible, because they will hear some amazing stories from the diverse, welcoming and friendly people that they meet.
Uganda is located neatly between the jungles of Central Africa and the savannahs of East Africa, that combined with the mountains, volcanoes, rivers and lakes make Uganda a feast for the eyes. Uganda boasts the beginning of the world longest river (The River Nile), the world’s second largest lake (Lake Victoria), Africa’s highest mountain range (Rwenzori Mountains), three of the famous Virunga volcanoes, the world’s largest volcano base, the Albertine rift valley and the list goes on and on. The unbelievable scale and diversity of Uganda’s landscapes make it a joy to travel around.
Due to Uganda’s unique location, there is also an amazing diversity of wildlife, best signified by the 1000+ different species of birds that live there, more than any other African
country. There is also plenty of big game on offer including elephants, rhino’s, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, various antelope/impala species, buffalo and many, many more. There is also a large variety of primate species including chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys to name a few. But what has made Uganda an increasingly popular tourist destination is that it is home to over half of the remaining Mountain Gorillas, split between Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The rest reside in Rwanda and DR Congo. These magnificent animals attract tourists from all over the world and tracking them is one of the world’s great wildlife experiences.
There really is something for everybody in Uganda, whatever your interests, and by tailor making your safari with East African Discovery you can design a safari specifically around you. I hope this article has made you think a little more about what there is in Uganda, and if you had any, then changed your preconceptions.