Uganda

Driving Directions Uganda

UGANDA is a landlocked republic in east-central Africa. The Equator runs through the south of the country, and for the most part, it is a richly fertile land, well-watered with a pleasant climate. Uganda is a country of plateaux, mountains, lakes, and plains, presenting a great variety of land­scapes and vegetation.

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Almost half of Lake Victoria lies within Uganda’s territory while the country’s western border extends along the Great Rift Valley, in which lie Lake Albert and Lake Edward. Other smaller lakes include George, Kyoga, and Kwanza. The White Nile flows from Lake Victoria across the northern part of the country.

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High mountains, including Mount Elgon (an extinct volcano), arise on or near the eastern border, while the southwest occupied by the massif of the snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains which reach heights of 5,109 meters or 16,762 feet.

Tropical forests clothe the lower slopes of the Ruwenzori Mountains, which also support tea plantations. Elsewhere, natural vegetation varies from savannah grassland to marshland and scrubland in the more arid areas. The lowlands around Lake Victoria, once forested, have now mostly been cleared for cultivation. A good variety of African wildlife found in Uganda, including chimpanzee, lion, elephant, leopard, and rhinoceros.

Thanks to its high elevation (averaging 900 meters or 3,000 feet above sea level) equatorial Uganda enjoys a relatively temperate climate with warm rather than extremely hot conditions. Temperatures on the mountain peaks are cold with snow. Elsewhere, rainfall is greatest in the south, becoming progressively lighter towards the north.

Most people are engaged in agriculture and the main subsistence crops are plantains, cassava and sweet potatoes. Coffee is the main cash crop and accounts for over 90 percent of the country’s exports although cotton and tea are also important.

Forestry is also of importance and the major export is mahogany but the bulk of the country’s wood is used as fuel. Virtually all of Uganda’s power is produced by hydroelectricity with the plant on the Victoria Nile being of major importance. Copper mining used to be important but has declined and other mineral reserves have not yet been exploited.

However, attempts are being made to expand the tea plantations in the west, to develop a copper mine and to introduce new industries to Kampala, the capital. Since 1986, Uganda has slowly been rebuilding its shattered economy in spite of some resurgence of earlier violence.

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