Uganda, officially referred to as the Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country found in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the north by South Sudan, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to south by Tanzania. To the south, the county is covered by a great portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Tanzania and Kenya. Uganda has a total land area of 199,810 km2 (77,147 sq. miles), with a current population of 44,771,667 as of 16th. November 2018, based on the most recent United Nations estimates. The population is equivalent to 0.58% of the total world population. The population density in Uganda is 222 per km2, with 17.1% of the population being urban.
People and Culture
The nation of Uganda was forged by the British between 1890 and 1926. The name Uganda was derived from Buganda – the largest and one of the oldest monarchies in the country. The earliest inhabitants of Uganda were the stone-age people, a mass that was gradually absorbed by the agriculturalists and pastoralists in the first millennium A.D. By the time the British came, there were more than 30 ethnic and cultural groups in Uganda. The diversity of these ethnic groups can be summarized into four major linguistic categories; the Bantu, Luo, Atekerin, and the Sudanic people.
The Bantu majority occupy the southern part of the country, and summed up they comprise over 50% of Uganda’s population. The Bantu are the earliest group that migrated into the country, they include; the Baganda, Banyole, Banyankole, Bakiga, Batoro, Bafumbira, Bakonjo, Batwa, Basamia, and Bagwere. The Bantu are generally spread across the country, they occupy the Central, Eastern, Western and Southern Uganda.
The Atekerin are referred to as; the Para-Nilotics, the Lango or the Nilo-Hamites. The majority of this group are found in the North, East and North-eastern Uganda. The group comprises the; Karamojong, Langi, Iteso, Kakwa and Kumam. The Atekerin are said to have migrated from Ethopia and are believed to have been one people until they spread throughout the various regions of the country.
The Sudanic people hail from West Nile and they comprise of; the Lugbara, Madi, Bari, Okebu and Metu. This group traces its origin from Sudan, yet the diverse culture and languages of its tribes indicate that the people are completely detached from their place of origin. Also, with the coming of colonialism to Uganda, the Lugbara tended to dominate the other tribes in the group since the Lugbara language was used as a medium of instruction in schools.
Presently, it is nearly impossible to define the confines of any of the ethnic groups above because inevitable factors like; colonialism, urbanization, education and improved transportation, have led to the breaking up and loosening of cultural ties through intermarriages and inter mixtures. It is important to note however that the strength of cultural-tribal ties can still be felt, as most people prefer marrying and identifying themselves with their own tribes and people. The various tribes and ethnic groups are reason behind Uganda’s diversity and wealth of culture.
Religiously, Uganda is tripartite – comprises of three major religious divisions; the indigenous religions, Christianity and Islam. Christianity is the most dominant grouping, comprising of about four-fifths of the population. The major Christian groupings are; Catholics and Protestants, and the others include; Pentecostals, seventh day Adventists, Presbyterians and Baptists. About one-eighth of the country’s population is Islamic and majority of the remaining people practice traditionalism.
Uganda is endowed with a diverse array of wildlife including; over 364 species of mammals, 1062 bird species and numerous plant life. The mammal species are found in National Parks, forests, wildlife reserves, lakes and rivers. They include; the African bush elephant, Bush babies, velvet monkeys, mantled guereza, African leopard, cheetah, common genet, black-backed jackal, maneless zebra, klipspringer, African buffalo, giant eland, mountain reed buck, gemsbok, water bucks, yellow-bucked duiker, lions and buffaloes. Some of the bird species in Uganda include; ostriches, ducks, geese, waterfowls, guinea fowls, quails, pheasants, grouses, allies, flamingos, grebes, pigeons, doves, bustards, turacos, cuckoos, night jars, swifts, fluff tails, finfoots, cranes, thick-knees, plovers, stilts, avocets, oyster catchers, lapwings, painted-snipes, jacanas, sandpipers, button quails, pratincoles, coursers, gulls, terns, skimmers, storks, darters, cormorants, pelicans, shoe bills, hamerkops, bitterns, herons, egrets, ibises, spoonbills, secretary birds, ospreys, hawks, eagles, kites, owls, mouse birds, trogons, hoopoes, horn bills, kingfishers, bee-eaters, rollers, African barbets, honey guides, falcons, woodpeckers, broadbills, pittas, wattle-eyes, shrikes, orioles, drongos, fly-catchers, nicators, ravens, wax bills, weavers, larks, swallows, martins, treecreepers, bulbuls, warblers, cisticolas, babblers, thrushes, starlings, ox peckers, sun birds, spider hunters, wagtails, finches, and indigo birds.
Tourism is a major income earner in Uganda and one of the major drivers of development, investment, foreign exchange and employment. The trade contributes about 4.9 trillion Uganda shillings on an annual basis. Tourism is majorly focused on the country’s landscape and wildlife. The tourism industry aims at developing; ecotourism, adventure tourism and cultural tourism. Uganda is endowed with a diverse array of wildlife, culture and landscape. The country has many tourism destinations including 10 national parks; Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountain National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Semuliki National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Mountain Elgon National Park, Kibale National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park. Also, Uganda has an inexhaustible list of tourist attractions, they include; Lake Victoria, Lake Bunyonyi, River Nile, Nyero Rock paintings, Murchison Falls, Sipi Falls, Rwenzori Mountains, Mount Elgon, Mabira Forest, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, Pian Upe game reserve and Kanyanchu game reserve.