East African Travel Stories and Inspiration
Uganda – The Pearl of Africa
Uganda is a landlocked country found in East –Central Africa. It is bordered to the East by Kenya, to the west by Democratic Republic of Congo, to the north by South Sudan, to the south west by Rwanda and to the South by Tanzania.
Uganda was named as “Pearl of Africa” in 1907 by Winston Churchill who was a traveler and nature lover. He published his booked titled “My African Journey” in 1908 describing the exclusivity of Uganda in Nature.
Winston Churchill experienced the magnificent, brilliant life of nature and the people of Uganda. He explored different bird species, insects, reptiles, mammals, the Big Five animals, lakes, rivers, various mountains among others.
Uganda has a lot to offer in terms of nature including the exclusive 10 National parks which have unique wildlife, Cultural sites with lots of culture history, Regional sites, Source of the Nile, Tropical rain forests, snowcapped mountains, crystal clear lakes, stunning land scapes and among others;
- Discover Bwindi Impenetrable national park that is located in south-western Uganda next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the Albertine Rift. The designated World Heritage Site covers an area of 331 sq. km of both mountain and lowland forest, accessible only on foot. The Park hosts beautiful apes of Mountain climbing Gorillas with a beautiful tale behind their nature, appearance, behavior and lifestyle.
- Uganda hosts the five big animals in most of its National parks. Find the Big 5 (Lions, buffaloes, elephants, rhino and the leopard) in Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park.
- Explore Kibale National Park that is located in the western part of the country sitting on 795square kilometers. The park neighbors Queen Elizabeth national park from the south creating a 180 kilometers long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki national park. Kibale national park is diversely known as Africa’s most habitat of over 1500 Chimpanzees with other mammal species like the black and white colobus, red tailed monkey, and grey cheeked mangabey. There are also many different bird and plant species. Other wildlife that’s rarely seen in the park include the leopards, bush pigs, duikers, buffaloes and elephants.
- Look out for Golden Monkeys in Mgahinga national park that is situated in the south western part of Uganda in Kisoro District. It was established in 1991 and governed by Uganda Wildlife Authority. It is the smallest of the 3 Virunga conservation area covering 33.9kilo meters squared. The other two are the Virunga Park and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. The park hosts over 39 mammals and 79 bird species including the Golden Monkeys, Mountain Gorillas, elephants, buffalos among others.
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park is within the legendary Rwenzori Mountains which are Africa’s highest mountain range, 5,109 meters (16,762 ft.) above sea level with 6 massifs separated by deep gorges. The 6 massifs are Mount Stanley (5,109 meters) highest peak known as Margherita, Mount Speke (4,890 m), Mount Baker (4,843 m), Mount Emin (4,798), Mount Gossip (4,715 m) and Mount Lugi di Savioa (4,627 m).
Rwenzori or also known as Mountains of the Moon is located along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwenzori Mountain ranges were formed about three million years ago as a result of an uplifted block of crystalline rocks. During their formation, the uplift led to the formation of Lake Albert, Lake Edward and Lake George which are the present day African Great Lakes
The peaks of the mountain ranges (not a single free standing mountain) are snowcapped and glaciated though because of the effects of climate change the snowcapped peaks are slowly melting. The mountain ranges were named the Mountains of the Moon by the Greek Scholar Ptolemy during the European exploration of Africa and also identified it as one of the source of the Nile River.
The high Rwenzori is a montane wonderland, with the trails to the snow peaks of the ranges following glacier-carved valleys with fantastically colored mosses and rare Afro-alpine plants that include giant forms of lobelias, heathers and groundsels. The vegetation is unique as one hikes to the top of the mountain.
- Mount Elgon National Park is situated on the border between Kenya and Uganda, Mount Elgon National Park has the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world and a caldera which covers over 40 square kilometers. The park is within the Trans boundary Mount Elgon with the highest peak, Wagagai at 4,321m above sea level. This is the second highest peak in Uganda after Mountain Rwenzori and the eighth highest in the African continent. Mount Elgon National Park covers 1,110 square kilometers. It was gazette in 1992. The slopes of the Mountain support a rich variety of vegetation ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with the giant lobelia and groundsel plants varying with altitude. The park’s most done activity is mountain climbing and bad watching.
Source of the Nile
Visit to the Source of the Nile
River Nile is the longest river in the world that was discovered on 3rd August 1858 by John Hanning Speke. It flows from Uganda in Jinja to the Mediterranean Sea passing through Egypt, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
While in Jinja, travelers can either use traditional dugout canoes or speed engine boats to reach the point where River Nile starts from. Different activities are conducted on the Nile that is;
The best experience one can ever get is getting on the boat to explore the source of the Nile. With the help of engine boats, travelers get to the maximum beat of experiencing leisure while passing through the rapid falls of the Nile.
The boats normally cover distances close to 90kilometers to enable you have enough fun and also acquire knowledge about the history of the Nile. View different bird species and mammals around.
White Water Rafting
Water Rafting is one of the fascinating water sports adventure activities in Jinja while on the Nile. It can be conducted on a full day or half day depending on the client’s request. Get to navigate through the rapid falls of the Nile with sighting of wildlife like different bird species, Primates along the Island like Vervet monkeys.
Uganda Lakes and Rivers
Uganda is a well-watered country with four of East Africa’s Great Lakes. Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward.
- Lake Victoria covers the southeastern part of the country and sits on an area approximately to 68800 kilometers squared. It is the second largest lake in the world. The lake was renamed after Queen Victoria in the reports of the explorer John Hanning Speke. Lake Victoria acts as a fishing site for the locals with different fish species like Nile Tilapia, Nile Perch. The fresh breathing waters also are converted to the hydroelectricity power and also regulated by Nalubale power station in Jinja. Lake Victoria also has three island shores which are worth a visit, Ukrewe, Rubondo and Ukara Island. The lake and the surrounding offers several tourist activities such as, fishing, bird watching, hikingand boat-rides. Swimming is also possible but should be done with caution due to Malaria and the bilhazia disease.
- Lake Kyoga and the surrounding basin covers central Uganda with extensions of Lake Kwania, Lake Bugondo, and Lake Opeta following through Lake Victoria. The lake sits on about 1,033 meters. It harbors Nile crocodiles, about 60 species of haplochromine cichlid, fish species like Marbled lung fish and Lake Victoria sardine.
- Lake Albert is located on the boarder of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. It is Africa’s 7th largest lake and the 2ndbiggest Uganda’s great lake. It sits on about 160 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide with a maximum depth of 51 meters and a surface elevation of 619 meters above sea level. Lake Albertoffers one of the best fishing game experience, while on a fishing safari at this calm lake you go on a boat ride into the lake and when fishing you get to caught numerous fish species such as Nile tilapia, Niger barb, Albert lates, electric catfish, giraffe catfish, elongate tiger fish, African tiger fish. Site seeing while at Lake Albert offers the best views of the Rwenzori Mountains. The peaks towers in the southern direction and the blue mountains of Congo also towers in the Northwestern shores of the Lake.