Journey Around Uganda

About Uganda – Major Districts

5. South-Eastern Uganda: Mbale and Tororo

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

Tororo and Mbale are two important towns located at the foot of Mount Elgon in the south-eastern region of Uganda. They are both major regional marketing centers. Mbale Town is much involved with the marketing of agricultural goods. Tororo, in addition, is rapidly developing as an industrial center based on the mining of limestone from nearby volcanic plugs. Agriculture is these districts is largely concerned with the smallholder cash crop farming of cotton, around Tororo, and coffee, around Mbale. To the east of Mbale the land surface rises rapidly into the slower slopes of Mount Elgon. This extensive volcano, which reaches a height of 14,176 feet (4,324 m), has a considerable influence on the climate of Mbale District. To the west of Mbale the land is much flatter and the wide valleys contain large areas of some seasonal and permanent swamps. The varying height of the land near Mbale Town means that temperatures also vary and so this area has a climate which is suitable for the growth of a wide range of crops. The temperatures, especially around Mbale, are strongly influenced by the increasing altitude of the land in the foothills of Mount Elgon. Tororo tends to be slightly warmer because it is further from the mountain. Similarly Tororo is rather wetter because it is much closer to Lake Victoria, which is the source of moisture for rainfall. Although Mbale Town is near the mountain, which might suggest that it should be wet; it does not get such a high rainfall because the mountain blocks the north-east monsoon and prevents it from bringing much rainfall to the south-western facing slopes. Mbale District therefore experiences a slight rain shadow effect in November to February period. So that much of the economy in south-eastern Uganda is agricultural and can be divided into the coffee growing part, east of Mbale, and the cotton growing part, which extends from south of Mbale proximate to the shores of Lake Victoria. The lake itself is important for fishing. Majanji, which is located along the shore of Lake Victoria, near the Uganda-Kenya border point, is an important marketing center for fish.

Mbale Town overlooking Mount Elgon. Image courtesy of Globe Spots
Mbale Town overlooking Mount Elgon. Image courtesy of Globe Spots

Weather Guide to Uganda

Uganda enjoys an archetypical tropical climate marked by year round rains, lots of sunshine and moderate temperatures. At Kampala, nearby Lake Victoria, the average daily temperatures range from 18-28 degrees C., in January and from 17-25 C (or 62-77 F) in July. The country is generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August). The Northern Region of West Nile District and southern part of the region has two rainy seasons, in late March to May and August to September with an average of 50 – 55 inches annually. Over the northern part of the country most rain falls in the months of May up until September. In the Karamoja District, rainfall decreases from 45 inches in the west to about 20 inches in the east with peak falls in May and July. The rains are mainly of the thundery type, gathering in the afternoon or evening and sometimes lasting until the following morning. Temperatures in the west and south reach a high of 30 degrees C. whilst in the north and Karamoja they reach 32 – 35 degrees C., in the dry season and 27 degrees C., in the wet months. In the Western Region most of the rainfall of the Kigezi District occurs as light rainfall during March to May and October to December, and averages 30-45 inches annually based on the altitude. Early morning mists and hill fog are frequent. Rainfall in the lake flats is much lower. In the Ankole District the wettest period are mid-March to April and September to October. Maximum temperatures are 24 degrees C. in Kigezi, 27-30 degrees C., in the Ankole, and 32-35 degrees C., in the lake flats, the daily variation being 11-14 degrees C. In Buganda – Rain falls every month here with the wettest period from end of March to mid-May and late August to October. Along the Lake coast early morning showers and thunderstorms are the main feature of the weather. Inland the greater part of rain, 45-50 inches annually, comes from the afternoon showers. The highest temperatures average about 27 degrees C. along the coastal region and 27-30 degrees celsius. In Eastern Region, early morning showers and thunderstorms affect the Lake Victoria coastal area but they are not so intense as those in the northwestern corner of the Lake. In the Elgon Region, where there are two distinguished wet seasons, April/May and August/September, most of the rains derives from afternoon showers or from thunderstorms. Maximum temperature reaches 32 degrees C., in Kyoga region.

Weather Guide to Uganda