Journey Around Uganda

Introduction to Uganda - Major Regions in Uganda

Geography, Regions & Climate of Uganda

Geography, Regions & Climate of Uganda

A Brief Overview of Uganda

Uganda’s moniker as “the Pearl of Africa” aptly describes both its location and natural resources. On the map of Africa the landlocked Uganda occupies only a small area, yet few countries belong so vibrantly to the fertile sphere of Africa. Its compactness and the generously rich and fertile soils makes it a continuous green-belt country, a facet of inestimable value shared by very few nations in Africa. For better consideration, the ecological gamut of Uganda can be broadly split into three regions: The swampy lowlands region in the south; the fertile middle region elevated on a plateau with wooded hills; and the semi-arid region in the north bordering Sudan. Lake Victoria forms part of the southern border. Uganda is at the heart of the tropics, astride the equator, but its climate, thanks to the altitude, is unexpectedly pleasant. Its geography and lovely weather is as salubrious as any, and is comparable with a warm English summer most of the year. Temperatures range between 20 and 30 degrees celsius, and the 50 inches of rainfall each year keep the country lush and green. Uganda, which expands over 241,037 km2, is bordered in the west by Democratic Republic of Congo, in the north by the Sudan, in the east by Kenya, and in the south by Tanzania and Rwanda. It derives its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country including the famous capital, Kampala.

Salient Features of Uganda

  • Surface Area – 241,038 km2
  • Number of Districts – 121
  • Major Lakes – Victoria, Kyoga, Albert, Edward and George
  • Date of Independence – 8th October 1962
  • Current Population (2018) – 42,729,036
  • Official Languages – English and Swahili

Political Map of Uganda. Image courtesy of nations-online
Political Map of Uganda. Image courtesy of nations-online

A Look Into Selected Districts of Uganda

1. Kigezi District

Spatial location of Kigezi District in Uganda. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The impenetrable forest at North Kigezi, which is found between the developed area of Kigezi and the Queen Elizabeth National Park, has high trees – over 30 meters – that completely block the sunlight from reaching the floor.  Although the edges of the forest have plentiful bushes, the inner parts do not have these bushes because there is no sunlight. Kigezi District is situated in the far south-western part of Uganda, where it forms the border with Rwanda and Congo. Its location, far from the more developed parts of Uganda, has turned Kigezi into an isolated region. Only recently has the main town of Kabale been connected to the rest of the county by tarmac road.  Consequently, Kigezi is a district of subsistence farming with few economic activities of national importance.  It has however, the long, narrow Lake Bunyonyi, flanked by steep slopes that form a considerable part of the terrain here. Kigezi is formed of a plateau, about 8,000 feet (2,440 m) high; from this plateau the land slopes steeply downwards to form valleys occupied by rivers and long narrow lakes. Around the edges of this lakes are areas of marshland, where material eroded by the rivers is deposited. In the less developed parts of the region the valleys are covered with tropical forest. Kigezi is considerably higher than other districts of Uganda to the north.

Its high altitude was brought about during the formation of the western branch of the Rift Valley, found to the west of Kigezi. As the floor of the Rift Valley sank the sides were pushed up. So that, Kigezi forms part of the eastern side of the Rift, hence it was uplifted. Along with this uplift and faulting of the Rift Valley, there was a considerable amount of volcanic activity. This was especially strong in the south-western Kigezi District, near Kisoro, where Mufumbiro Mountains were formed. These are iconic lines of volcanoes which stretch from this part of Uganda, through northern Rwanda, and into Congo. The largest in Uganda is Muhavura, which rises to 13,540 feet (4,127 metres); another, Sabinio, at 11,960 feet (3,645 metres) is exactly at the point where the three countries of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda meet, hence the north-western slopes are of the mountain are in Congo, the southern slopes are in Rwanda and the north-eastern slopes are in Uganda! Much of Kigezi District consists of steep slopes since, although it is a plateau area, the rivers have successfully eroded the formerly flat plateau, so that very little flat land now remains. The only large regions of flat land are found in the floors of the valleys where marshland have been formed. The large marshland region is called Kamunyoro Swamp, was once a lake, just like Lake Bunyonyi. By and by, this lake too will disappear and be replaced by marshland.

Lake Bunyonyi in Kigezi District of Uganda. Image courtesy of Lanza Safari
Lake Bunyonyi in Kigezi District of Uganda. Image courtesy of Lanza Safari

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