Uganda (Yuganda in Ugandan languages), officially the Republic of Uganda (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. The country is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region, lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but a generally modified equatorial climate. It has a population of around 49 million, of which 8.5 million live in the capital and largest city of Kampala.
Uganda is named after the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala and whose language Luganda is widely spoken throughout the country. From 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the United Kingdom, which established administrative law across the territory. Uganda gained independence from the UK on 9 October 1962. The period since then has been marked by violent conflicts, including an eight-year-long military dictatorship led by Idi Amin.
The official language is English, although the Constitution states that “any other language may be used as a medium of instruction in schools or other educational institutions or for legislative, administrative, or judicial purposes as may be prescribed by law. Luganda, a central region-based language, is widely spoken across the Central and South Eastern regions of the country, and several other languages are also spoken including Ateso, Lango, Acholi, Runyoro, Runyankole, Rukiga, Luo, Rutooro, Samia, Jopadhola, and Lusoga. In 2005 Swahili, which is foreign and so viewed as being neutral, was proposed as Uganda’s second official language, but this has yet to be ratified by parliament.In 2022 Uganda decided to make Swahili a mandatory subject in the school curriculum.
Uganda’s current president is Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who took power in January 1986 after a protracted six-year guerrilla war. Following constitutional amendments that removed term limits for the president, he was able to stand and was elected president in the 2011, 2016 and 2021 general elections.
Lakes and rivers
Much of the south of the country is heavily influenced by one of the world’s biggest lakes, Lake Victoria, which contains many islands. The most important cities are located in the south, near this lake, including the capital Kampala and the nearby city of Entebbe. Lake Kyoga is in the centre of the country and is surrounded by extensive marshy areas.
Although landlocked, Uganda contains many large lakes. Besides Lakes Victoria and Kyoga, there are Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and the smaller Lake George.It lies almost completely within the Nile basin. The Victoria Nile drains from Lake Victoria into Lake Kyoga and thence into Lake Albert on the Congolese border. It then runs northwards into South Sudan. An area in eastern Uganda is drained by the Suam River, part of the internal drainage basin of Lake Turkana. The extreme north-eastern part of Uganda drains into the Lotikipi Basin, which is primarily in Kenya.
Biodiversity and conservation
Uganda has 60 protected areas, including ten national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Kibale National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Mount Elgon National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Semuliki National Park.
Uganda is home to a vast number of species, including a population of mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, gorillas and golden monkeys in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and hippos in the Murchison Falls National Park. Jackfruit can also be found throughout the country.
The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.36/10, ranking it 128th globally out of 172 countries.
Tourism in Uganda is focused on Uganda’s landscape and wildlife. It is a major driver of employment, investment and foreign exchange, contributing 4.9 trillion Ugandan shillings (US$1.88 billion or €1.4 billion as of August 2013) to Uganda’s GDP in the financial year 2012–13.The Uganda Tourism Board is responsible for maintaining information pertaining to tourism in Uganda. The main attractions are photo safaris through the National parks and game Reserves. Other attractions include the Mountain Gorillas found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP), Uganda having some of the oldest cultural kingdom in Africa has many Cultural sites. Uganda is a birding paradise boasting a massive bird list of more than 1073 recorded bird species ranking 4th in Africa’s bird species and 16th internationally. Uganda has landscapes ranging from white-capped Rwenzori mountains to the Great Rift Valley.