Uganda’s Geography

Uganda has a rich geography characterized by beautiful scenic lakes, meandering rivers, glacial mountains, rolling hills and wide valleys. For any geographer, Uganda has challenged experienced geographers who thought they had traveled the world and had seen it all. The then president of the Britain’s Royal Geographical Society, Sir Roderick Murchison had thought of sub Saharan Africa as a geographically dull continent, little did he know that its rich geography could be un equaled.

physical map of ugandaFrom the east, as the sun rises, those in Mbale town may not be able to see it early enough because of the shadow cast upon them by the mighty Elgon Mountain that strides the border of Kenya and Uganda. The mountain features the world’s largest intact mountain caldera that has a diameter of 7sqkm. The mountain is good for the hikers and doesn’t pose a lot of challenge.

Caves and waterfalls that lie along some of its rivers that flow down slopes are some of the features that beautify this landscape. Plenty of wildlife like buffalos, elephants, water bucks and a number of primates inhabit the slopes of this mountain which led to the formation of Mt. Elgon national park to protect this wildlife.
This mountain is the 8th highest in Africa but some sources say that before erosion and landslides occurred, it was the highest in Africa. The mountain has however retained its prestigious position as the mountain with the largest volcanic base on the continent covering a distance of 42sqkm.
The majestic Rwenzori Mountains, where the sun sets from, is a magnificent feature to see. The mountain has managed to retain its glacier despite its close proximity to the equator. It is the highest block mountain on the continent and is generally the 3rd highest of all mountains on the continent after Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya respectively. The mountain is one of the most challenging hiking places in the world even harder to hike than the higher mountains. The mountain is also a habitat for some wildlife species and is gazetted as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

The rolling hills of Kigezi sub region adorned with terraces are a big spectacle as one traverses the gorilla home land. This area’s scenery and cool conditions have made it to be regarded as the ‘Switzerland of Africa’. The hills inter twin and the valleys are deep and narrow, the terraces around the hills give them an extra touch. In the same region is the scenic lake Bunyonyi popular for its fascinating scenery and enormous bird life to which the lake is named. The lake is a sanctuary for many bird species that inhabit its scattered islands. It is also historical in a way that, it is where pregnant ladies before marriage were taken and left to starve to death for engaging in premarital sex.
The lake is a perfect get away for most visitors who seek to refresh and recuperate themselves after a tiresome safari or a strenuous gorilla trek. It is also a perfect spot for the honeymoon makers and those interested in birds. The lake featured a scene in ‘the Lord of the Rings’ movie

The Albertine rift valley is yet another ‘scene in a movie’. The great western arm of the East African rift valley that was formed due to tectonic movements, creating a long depression near Uganda’s border with D R Congo has been a great wonder to many geographers. The rift valley bears some of other unique features like gorges, waterfalls and escarpments that are not only fascinating to see but also shelter wildlife endemic species.

Due to the tectonic forces in this area, wondrous features like the Sempaya hot springs were also formed. These features are amazing because of their varying temperatures, you will be left in awe when you see local people around bathing in the upper stream where water is warm and believed to cure all kinds of skin diseases while on the hotter spots, people are always busy boiling eggs and making porridge in an environment where you can never see any source of fire.

The World’s 2nd largest in-land Fresh Water Lake; L. Victoria, is only but a refreshing environment for one to sit and marvel at God’s art of creation. The lake is shared by 3 East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and its enormous islands are themselves sensational. From the refreshing and relaxing islands like Ssese, to the wildlife sanctuaries like Ngamba and to the mythical sites like Musambwa island that has a high population of reptiles that live in harmony with human beings, this lake is indeed a blessing from God.

The lake shelters some of the biggest fish species like the Nile perch some as long and huge as a human being, while the bird varieties on some of its islands is splendid. The lake has been found to mother the longest river the world has ever known that treads its journey to the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile River is arguably believed to begin its journey from L.Victoria at the source of the Nile spot where one can witness the Nile gently pulling out of the lake in Jinja.

The Murchison Falls that lies along this meandering river has been regarded as the hardest waterfalls in the world because of its force and depth. At the top of the falls, the Nile crushes through an 8m wide gap before plunging down 42m deep into the gorge, producing a thunderous roar and a rainbow that is very fascinating to see.

The falls were named by explorer Sir Samuel Baker in 1864 after the then president of Britain’s Royal Geographical Society, Sir Roderick Murchison who had believed Sub Saharan Africa to be a geographically dull region. These are only but a sample of the captivating scenic landscape that Uganda has to offer. Invest your time and money and your mind will be richly filled with unfading memories of stunning geographical features.

Weather and Climate

Uganda has a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 21-25°C (70- 77°F), apart from in the mountainous areas that are much cooler; the top of Mount Rwenzori is often covered with snow. The hottest months are December to February. Evenings can feel chilly after the heat of the day with temperatures around 12- 16ºC (54-61°F).

Most regions of Uganda, apart from the dry areas in the north east, have an annual rainfall of between 1,000mm and 2,000mm. There is heavy rain between March and May and between October and November, when road travel can become difficult in some parts especially up country remote areas. The best time for trekking is during the dry seasons, between January and February and June to September. Wildlife viewing is best at the end of the dry seasons, when game is more concentrated around water sources.

Required clothing:

Lightweight clothes with a warm cover-up for the evenings are advised. Take a pair of good walking shoes or boots for forest trekking, and long-sleeved tops to protect against thorny and scratchy shrubs. If you’re planning to go to mountainous areas, be sure to take warm clothing, as temperatures drop substantially. White clothes won’t stay white for long with Uganda’s red dust roads especially during dry seasons therefore; darker colors may be very much convenient.

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