At just over 90,000 square miles, Uganda is one of the smallest countries in Africa yet possesses an incredible natural diversity often surpassing many of its larger neighbours.
One of only four African nations boasting a list of over 1000 bird species, Uganda also holds a surprising 345 species of mammal (of which 20 are primates), 4,500 species of plant, over 1,000 butterfly species and 142 reptile species. Add to this a wide variety of scenery and landscapes, lush vegetation and agreeable climate and it is clear how Uganda came to be dubbed the ‘Pearl of Africa’.
Straddling the equator, Uganda enjoys a largely tropical climate with thick tropical forest in the south giving way to wide, grassy northern plains. To the west and east lie the Great Lakes of Victoria, Albert and Edward, connected by a series of wildlife-filled rivers, deep gorges and an emergent Nile which snakes through the north before thundering over the spectacular Murchison Falls. The country becomes increasingly undulating as one heads south and west, culminating in Africa’s highest range, the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains (or “Mountains of the Moon”) in the west, and the majestic volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains to the south.
Such rich topography drives an incredible diversity of wildlife. The northern grasslands are replete with the exciting game, birds and carnivore species so typical of East Africa. The forests of the south are inhabited by many rare primates including significant populations of habituated chimpanzees and mountain gorillas. The rivers and lakes are home to flamingos and many other water fowl, with large areas of papyrus marsh providing ideal hunting grounds for the much sought-after shoebill stork.
With a friendly, English-speaking population, an improving road network and all of 60 protected areas (including 10 national parks), Uganda is rapidly becoming known as one of Africa’s most unmissable wildlife experiences.