Facts About Ugandan Culture, Geography, and History
Bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania, Uganda is a country in East Africa. Uganda is also in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The country’s flag consists of six horizontal bands of black, yellow and red. The official languages of its people are English and Swahili, however, the majority of the population speak Luganda.
Read on to find out 12 interesting facts about Uganda!
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12. Home to 11% of the world's bird population
Containing half the population of mountain gorillas in the world, Uganda is the ideal country for tourists interested in these animals. Even though Uganda is best known for its gorillas, it also has other interesting wildlife. Uganda is also home to 11% of the world’s bird population. When visitors go on safaris, they are getting a two-for-one deal as they also get the chance to see the variety of bird species that call the reserves home.
11. Vehicles drive on the left side of the road in Uganda.
By law, vehicles are supposed to drive on the left-hand side of the road in Uganda. One would however advise you to be careful as foreign motorists who have travelled on Ugandan road advise that Ugandans do not heed to this rule. The drive on the side which suits them the most or in the middle. The roads of the capital city especially can be very crazy so be extremely cautious if you plan to drive anywhere in Uganda.
10. For every tree you cut down in Uganda, you plant three more
Uganda is suffering from an increase in deforestation. To reverse the effects of deforestation, policymakers have come up with a way to stop deforestation. In Uganda, for every tree cut down, you are expected to plant three more. It is so important to save the forests that are home to endangered species like the chimp that a study was conducted to see if paying farmers not to cut down the tree would be a good incentive to preserving the forests.
9. Uganda has one of the smallest churches in the world.
On the top of Biku Hill in Nebbi Town, Uganda lies a small building that always leaves visitors in awe. This building that is 2.3 m wide and 8ft tall is one of the smallest churches in the world. The name of this church is the Bethel Church. In 1996 Korean national Pastor Song and Henry Luke, retired Archbishop established this church. It is a part of 12 prayer points the religious men constructed to give worshipers a closer connection with God.
8. Bicycles are the main type of transportation in the towns
Bicycles, not cars, are the main mode of transportation in Uganda. With the poor road conditions that exist, these are a much cheaper and easier way to travel as they can access just about anywhere. They are known for always being overloaded and ignoring the road signals. Bicycles transport just about anything, from people to baboons. Next time you are in Uganda, be prepared to spot one of these or even to catch a ride on one yourself.
7. The 2nd most landlocked country in the world after Ethiopia
As the 2nd most populous landlocked country after Ethiopia, Uganda suffers from an overpopulation issue. The population is made up of over 34 million people. This population consists mostly of Africans with other races such as Caucasian and Indian being a minority. Uganda’s overpopulation issue does not look like its abating anytime as it has a high fertility rate with each woman having on average five children.
6. Uganda has 6.8% of the world's butterfly species
Another species that Uganda has in abundance is butterflies. Uganda has 6.8% of the world’s butterfly species. While on safaris, tourists have the unadulterated pleasure of experiencing the vivid beauty of butterflies as they flit around for nectar. Their natural habitats include the savannahs of Uganda and the Rwenzori Mountains. Visitors can go solely on butterfly safaris to experience the beauty of these creatures and also get the chance to see the different species of birds in the country and the breathtaking fauna that in the reserves.
5. Over 30 different indigenous languages are spoken in Uganda
The many different ethnic groups and kingdoms in Uganda have given rise to over 30 different indigenous languages. Most of the languages fall into three main language groups: Bantu, Nilotic and Central Sudanese. Bantu languages include Nyoro used by Banyoro people, Tooro spoken by the Tooro people and Lunyole, spoken by the Banyole people. Even though English is the official language, there are more Swahili speakers than English speakers.
4. Mt. Elgon has the largest volcano base in the world
Mt. Elgon is a volcano in Uganda with a base so large that it supports a very large ecosystem. Measuring 50km by 80km, the base of Mt. Elgon is the largest in the world. It is also the home of the Mt. Elgon National Park. As one hikes Mt. Elgon, lush forests that are the habitats of over 300 bird species and 24 mammal species inclusive of elephants, leopards, buffaloes and bush pigs surround you. Other features that seen on the hike up are a wide variety of flora and fauna, caves, gorges, hot springs, and waterfalls. Sounds like heaven on earth, doesn’t it?
3. Pan-fried grasshoppers are presented to special guests in Uganda
Pan-fried grasshoppers, Nsenene, are the ultimate delicacy in Uganda. It is one of those delicacies you will not find in a restaurant but find a pub or buy it or on the street side and tastes this dish before you leave. If a Ugandan offers you a dish of fried grasshoppers when you visit, this signals that you are a special guest. Grasshoppers to Ugandans are like hotdogs to Americans. This treat is especially popular on the streets during the rainy time when grasshoppers are abundant. Scientists say they are an excellent source of protein so eat up.
2. If you have to pee, Ugandans call it "making a short call"
An English man might say he is going to spend a penny, drain the lizard, have a piddle to name a few while an American man might say he is going to take a leak. For Ugandans, their toilet euphemism is quite different. If a Ugandan wants a polite way to say that he is going to pee, he will say that he is going to make a short call. This is to ensure that there is no confusion if you go to Uganda or your Ugandan friend says he is going to make a short call.
1. In Uganda, a "rolex" is an omelette wrapped in a chapatti
One of the most entertaining things that travel aficionados always come across is the different meanings attached to common words across different cultures. In Uganda, the word that causes visitors to raise an eyebrow is ‘rolex’. In the Western world, a rolex is a watch but in Uganda, a rolex is a very delicious omelette that locals make with pepper, tomatoes, cabbage and onion that bursts with flavours and comes wrapped in a chapatti. So a rolex may not be dripping with gold and diamonds in Uganda but its flavours create fireworks in your mouth as they pop on your taste buds.
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