In this post, you'll find 22 interesting facts about Uganda. These include wildlife, culture, food, politics, and lots of nature. Let's get started!
“For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa.” -Winston Churchill
Located in East Africa, Uganda is an independent country with a booming economy, mild weather, and breathtaking landscapes, flora, and fauna. There is no doubt as to why Churchill referred to it as the “pearl of Africa.”
The interesting facts about Uganda below may have you packing to go and see for yourself.
22 Interesting Facts About Uganda
1. Second Largest Lake in the World
Its surface area more than 26,000 square miles, Lake Victoria (named for Queen Victoria) is the biggest lake on the continent of Africa and the globe's second largest freshwater lake, trailing North America's Lake Superior.
It's also the largest tropical lake on Earth. Lake Victoria is also one of the Nile River's sources and is even said to be where it begins.
2. Rife With Youngsters
Not only is Uganda one of the youngest countries in Africa. The largest age group (48%) consists of those who are 14 and under, making it the second most youthful country. Only 2% of Ugandans are over the age of 65.
3. Rwenzori National Park
Uganda national parks are some of the most fascinating because of their picturesque landscape. Rwenzori National Park is a hiker's dream. It houses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, which has the third largest mountain peak in Africa. The mountains are known for having varying climates and species.
In Rwenzori, you can see forest elephants, leopards and over 217 species of birds. It also consists of 17 species that are endemic to the park.
Read more about the most beautiful places to visit in Uganda.
4. One of the World's Smallest Churches
Measuring in at 8 ft tall and 250 centimeters wide, a chapel on Biku hill has just enough room inside for 3 churchgoers – including the pastor. There are points surrounding the church that are designated for meditation, prayer, and worship.
The church boasts an amazing vista of Namrwodho Falls, home to the rarely seen shoebill stork.
5. Where Gentle Giants Roam
Uganda wildlife is among the most majestic in the world. There you can find the largest land mammal, the African elephant. They weigh between 6,000 and 11,000 pounds on average and have huge, multifunctioning trunks that can even serve as another foot. These beautiful creatures are known to be kind and compassionate.
Learn more with these 13 facts about the African bush elephant.
6. Rare Rhino
The northern white rhinoceros is no extinct in the wild – with the surviving individuals all living in captivity. The southern white rhino is the 3rd largest land mammal after the African and Asian elephants.
Like other large land mammals, they are megaherbivores and essential to the ecosystem. Also called the square-lipped rhinoceros, they are known to be quite sociable.
Learn more about the white rhino (northern and southern).
7. Fried Grasshoppers, Anyone?
Every society has its idiosyncrasies. Try not to get offended when you're invited to someone's home for fried grasshoppers; It's a sign of endearment because this cuisine is a delicacy in Uganda.
8. Murchison Falls National Park
Out of all Uganda national parks, this is definitely one to add to your bucket list. The famous Nile river runs through it. If you hike to the top of Murchison Falls, you can see where the Nile River rushes through the Albertine gorge heading towards Egypt.
You can enjoy many other activities too, such as a Nile River boat safari to view wildlife and visit the Ziwa Rhinoceros Sanctuary.
Check out our Guide to Murchison Falls: 16 Things to Know
Here are 15 things to do in Uganda – including culture, nature, culinary and adventure.
9. Ssese Islands
The Ssese Islands make up an archipelago consisting of 84 islands, half of which are inhabited. They are located in Northwest Lake Victoria and named for the lake flies that sometimes form huge swarms.
On the Ssese Islands, you can find many things to do, like biking, hiking, enjoying a beach bonfire, drinking at a resort bar, and lying on the beach.
Just a heads up about the water in Lake Victoria. It contains the bilharzia parasite (also known as schistosomiasis or snail fever). So you need to use caution with water-sports on the lake.
10. African Safari: Big 5
You can't get much more exotic than an African safari. Uganda is one of the best settings for the adventurous spirit seeking first-hand wildlife experience.
During a big five safari, you can track rhinos, take a boat ride in the River Nile and hike to the top of Murchison Falls.
During the safari you can see the Big Five:
You can learn more about Big 5 Safaris here.
11. Equator Crosses Uganda
Earth's equator is an imaginary line dividing the North and South hemispheres. There are only a few countries that the equator runs through, including Ecuador and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Uganda, the equator is located 75 km south of Kampala, where you can purchase memorabilia and watch cool equator water experiments.
12. Watch Out for Crocodiles
If you happen to be visiting the Ssese Islands, take precautions before venturing into the waters in certain areas. Too much fishing and too little prey have led to an overabundance of Nile crocodiles. The increased number of crocodiles has led to more human attacks.
13. The Grass is Always Greener in Uganda
Because it rains consistently in Uganda, you will see green foliage year-round. Uganda also has average temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for vegetation. All that rain also makes certain areas very muddy, so be careful when hiking.
14. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)
Responsible for the maintenance of 12 wildlife reserves and 10 national parks, the UWA works behind the scenes to make Uganda's natural beauty available to tourists. The UWA also provides a wealth of information about the parks and activities.
To learn more about national parks, wildlife and activities, visit their website.
15. Uganda's National Bird
The grey-crowned crane is Uganda's national bird, a mostly grey bird with white, red and black. The crane's most prominent feature is the golden crown of feathers on its head. Additional characteristics show why this bird is named the national bird:
- They are monogamous.
- Males and females equally share parenting responsibilities.
- Either the male or female will perform what is known as the nuptial dance when courting.
- They can roost in trees because they can grip branches with their toes.
Don't forget about the equatorial sun! Here's how to choose the best sun protection hat for Africa.
16. “The Butcher of Uganda” Dethroned
The infamous Idi Amin ruled Uganda for decades beginning in the early 1970s. His despotism earned him the moniker “The Butcher of Uganda.” He spearheaded ethnic cleansing and it is said that around 300,000 people were murdered under his command.
Amin was defeated by Tanzania in 1978, and he fled to Saudi Arabia. He died in 2003, of multiorgan failure.
17. Kiira Motors Company
Uganda is already a trailblazer, as it is one of the youngest and fastest growing nations. The development of their own vehicle attests to that.
Kiira Motors is a green company that focuses on sustainability. They have already developed and manufactured solar-powered buses, hybrid-electric and electric vehicles.
18. Cover Your Legs
If you're a tourist, you may get away with a warning, but it's customary for men to wear trousers. Even in the heat, they wear them because shorts are only for the immature.
Additionally, you won't see women wearing shorts or short skirts. They cover as much of their legs as possible to avoid being mistaken for a prostitute.
19. Uganda's Largest Export is Coffee
Uganda's economy is largely based on agriculture. Their primary export is coffee. The coffee is exported to numerous countries all over the world, including the US and Switzerland.
Uganda exports both Arabica and Robusta coffee.
Here's how to make strong coffee.
20. Kampala is World's 13th Fastest Growing City
Uganda's largest city, Kampala, is the 13th fastest growing city in the world. Kampala contains Makerere University, a museum, a national theater, and the popular Nakasero and Owino markets.
Owino is Kampala's largest open market, and there you can buy anything from clothes to herbs. The city is also famous for nightlife and its casinos.
21. Eat a Few Rolexes For Breakfast
This street food inadvertently sounds like a famous watch brand. It's actually a chapati wrapped filled with eggs, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, and peppers.
Chapati is unleavened bread made with atta, a type of wheat flour. Here's a great rolex recipe.
Check out our Uganda Food Guide (16 Must-Try Dishes for Your Visit)
22. Safety First
Almost 100% of Ugandan tourists leave without having any negative incident. This is evidence that it is one of Africa's safest countries.
Uganda has no travel alerts and the last terrorist attack was reported in 2010. Since then, security has become even more strict. There are no mass shootings, and most citizens do not even own weapons. Here's more about safety in Uganda.
And these are your facts about Uganda to make you want to visit someday.
Many are hesitant when it comes to visiting less developed countries, but there's enough evidence to see that Uganda is burgeoning in popularity and wealth because of its natural riches and accomplishments. It's not a place where you should expect to be bored.
Have a fact to add? Join us in the comments!
Learn more about Lake Victoria, located in the southern part of the country.