The natural scenery of Uganda, makes it one of the most beautiful countries in Africa. Half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population can be found here and the people are among the friendliest you can wish to meet. World-class white-water rafting at the source of the Nile and safaris in peaceful national parks for wildlife viewing does not get hindered by an influx of tourists. Although the country has it’s tragedies and can be considered unstable, the reality is that stability has returned in most of the country and tourists are welcomed with enthusiasm.
Agriculture remains the most important component of the country’s economy and accounts for 70% of gross domestic product. Coffee, sugar, cotton and tea are their main exported crops. Tourism has the potential for foreign currency investment and generally considered to be the second largest export earner. The country still uses the barter system to exchange goods for imports, which is an interesting concept and probably one that the rest of Africa could consider in the future.
The main attraction for visitors to Uganda is without a doubt the mountain gorillas, which are in the southwestern rainforests, either Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. Other attractions which are definitely not to be missed include the Murchison Falls, found along the Nile and Kabale Forest National Park and Budongo Central Forest Reserve, which host a number of primate species and chimpanzees.
Uganda Quick Facts
Location: Eastern Africa, west of Kenya
Area: 236,040 sq km
Border countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo 765 km, Kenya 933 km, Rwanda 169 km, Sudan 435 km, Tanzania 396 km
Population: 26,5 million
People: Baganda 17%, Ankole 8%, Basoga 8%, Iteso 8%, Bakiga 7%, Langi 6%, Rwanda 6%, Bagisu 5%, Acholi 4%, Lugbara 4%, Batoro 3%, Bunyoro 3%, Alur 2%, Bagwere 2%, Bakonjo 2%, Jopodhola 2%, Karamojong 2%, Rundi 2%, non-African (European, Asian, Arab) 1%, other 8%
Language: English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic
Religion: Roman Catholic 33%, Protestant 33%, Muslim 16%, indigenous beliefs 18%
Independence: 9 October 1962 (from UK)
Head of State: President Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI
Currency: Ugandan shilling (UGX) – Exchange Rate(link popup window)
Export Commodities: coffee, fish and fish products, tea; gold, cotton, flowers, horticultural products
Agriculture – products: coffee, tea, cotton, tobacco, cassava (tapioca), potatoes, corn, millet, pulses; beef, goat meat, milk, poultry, cut flowers
GDP growth: 4.4% (2003 est.)
GDP per capita: $1,400 (2003 est.)