Geography in Uganda
Uganda is located in eastern, central Africa directly on and north of the equator.
The country borders on South Sudan to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Rwanda and Tanzania to the south-west and south, and Kenya to the east.
The geography of the approximately 241,000 km² land area of Uganda is characterized on the one hand by the large lakes belonging to the Central African rift system (Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Edward and Lake Kyoga) and on the other hand by extensive primeval forests and savannas. However, the northeast of the country is desert-like. To the north, west and east, the country is bounded by mountain ranges, which, with Mount Stanley in the Ruwenzori Mountains on the western border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rise up to over 5000 m (Margherita Peak 5,110 m above sea level) and partly by glaciers are covered. The deepest region of Uganda is the area around Lake Albert, located at 620 m above sea level, and the lower reaches of the Albert Nile, which adjoins it to the north. The average land area, of which approx. a sixth is covered with water, but is over 1000 m high. Uganda is one of the few countries on the African continent in which the most varied of landscapes can be found, from glacier areas to deserts to tropical rainforests.
The white Nile with its two tributaries Albert-Nile and Victoria-Nile forms the main drainage system, which drains the country over the Nile to the north over 6000 km to the Mediterranean Sea.
Uganda has important raw material deposits such as copper, cobalt, limestone, nickel and rock salt. In addition, large oil and natural gas reserves have been discovered in Uganda in recent years.
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Flora and fauna in Uganda
The savannah of East Africa in Uganda merges from the northeast into the rainforests of Central Africa, which causes a sharp increase in the biodiversity of plants and animals. As a result, Uganda has a species-rich fauna and flora. Uganda’s flora depends on the prevailing rainfall in the individual regions of the country. Because of the fertile soils and its enormous wealth of vegetation, Uganda was already referred to as the “Pearl of Africa” by Wiston Churchill.
The original fauna has been severely impaired by the civil war developments in recent years. The animals are most widespread in the national parks and can be observed on game drives. The Uganda Kob, a species of antelope belonging to the waterbuck genus, is almost endemic in Uganda. Hippos, crocodiles and pelicans can be seen in the vast wetlands of Uganda. Uganda grass antelopes, African buffalo, white jacks, elephants, lions and zebra mongooses also belong to the inventory of the large national parks, as well as up to 500 bird species, including kingfishers, fish eagles and goliath herons. The heraldic animal, the crowned crane, can still be seen frequently, especially around Lake Victoria. Chimpanzees live in the rainforests of Uganda.
National parks and nature conservation in Uganda
With the designation and protection of 10 national parks and other game reserves, Uganda has made some efforts to repair the damage caused by wildlife caused by the civil war and to promote and protect the development of the remaining biodiversity of living beings in Uganda. They include the Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the Kibale National Park, the Kidepo Valley National Park, the Lake Mburo National Park, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Mount Elgon National Park and Semliki National ParkThe Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains National Park are certainly the most famous wildlife parks in Uganda. The national parks are spread across the country mostly near the borders and less in the center of the country, which means that different landscapes and communities are protected.
The drainage of wetlands, deforestation and overgrazing have in the past had a detrimental effect on nature and the environment, as has the settlement of alien animal and plant species such as the water hyacinths and Nile perches in Lake Victoria, which led to the extermination of numerous endemic fish species.
Kampala is both the capital of Uganda with around 1.5 million residents and the district of the same name with a total of almost 3 million residents and is located a few kilometers from Lake Victoria on an area of 195 km². The original Luganda settlement is one of the fastest growing metropolises in the world. Kampala has always been a center of Christian mission. Religious buildings include the Roman Catholic Rubaga Cathedral and the Anglican Namirembe Cathedral, each of which is the seat of a bishop, the Islamic Kibuli mosque, Sikh and Hindu temples and the only Baha’i House of Worship in Africa. With the financial support of the former head of state of Libya Muammar al-Gaddafi, the great Gaddafi National Mosque was built, from whose minaret the city center can be seen well. A few kilometers outside the city center of Kampala are the Kasubi Tombs, the tombs of the kings of Buganda, which were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001. In 2010 the central burial site, the city’s most important cultural and historical sight, burned down under previously unexplained circumstances.