Pearl of Africa

Uganda is a country in east Africa. It shares its borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, Kenya in the east, Tanzania and Rwanda in the south, and South Sudan in the north.

The country is landlocked, which means it does not border the sea. Though it does not have a seashore, it has lake shores, as it is has access to Lake Victoria, Lake Albert and Lake Edward.

The equator passes through the country, and so it is situated in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The capital of Uganda is Kampala and its currency is the Ugandan shilling.

One of the most densely populated countries in Africa,Uganda has an incredibly young population — around half of its people are under the age of 15. With more than 30 different languages and a diverse set of ethnic groups, the country is a melting pot of cultures. The official languages are English and Swahili, while Ganda is also commonly used.


Much of Uganda is covered by a plateau. In the west are the Virunga and Ruwenzori Mountains and the Western Rift Valley. The country’s highest point, the Margherita Peak, is found in the Ruwenzori Mountains.

Towards the northeast are a string of volcanic mountains.

In the south lies Lake Victoria, which is the world’s largest tropical lake and second largest freshwater lake. The thunderous Murchison Falls, formed by the Victoria Nile river, is one of the most powerful falls in the world.


Since early days, Uganda has been home to hunter-gatherers. The region later witnessed the rule of several kingdoms. The Arabs arrived here in the 1840s, followed by the British. Uganda became a British colony and remained so until its independence in 1962. From 1971 to 1979, the country was under the control of Idi Amin, widely considered to be one of the most brutal dictators in the world.




Uganda is one of the top 10 most biodiverse countries in the world. Its national parks, which boast of a rich variety of flora and fauna set in stunning landscapes, offer astonishing opportunities to experience wildlife first-hand. The country is home to more than half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorilla. With over 1,000 species of birds, some of which cannot be found anywhere else on earth, it is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It also has seven of the continent’s 18 plant kingdoms, higher than any other country in Africa.


Diverse sights: (Top) Luwombo; (above) Mountain gorilla.

Diverse sights: (Top) Luwombo; (above) Mountain gorilla.  

Ugandan food reflects influences from British, Asian and Arab cuisine. It predominantly features local produce such as plantains, cassava, corn, beans and sweet potato. Some popular dishes are posho or ugali (a thick cornmeal porridge), luwombo (a classic dish that combines meat and peanut-based sauce wrapped in banana leaves), katogo (a traditional breakfast dish containing cassava and beans), muchomo (roasted meat), rolex (omlette rolled inside a chapati), and mandazi (African doughnuts) and the ubiquitous chapati. Ugandan coffee is world famous.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 2:31:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/pearl-of-africa/article36425431.ece

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