Uganda

Known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is a diverse and beautiful landlocked country bordered by Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Kenya, and Tanzania. Approximately the size of Great Britain, Uganda boasts lush and diverse terrain, which varies from mountains to savannah and rainforest to semi-arid desert.

Visitors will find a warm welcome as they step off the plane at the international airport in Entebbe. A trip to Uganda can easily be a four-day adventure or a twenty-one-day sojourn. Whatever time you have, Uganda can accommodate.

While Uganda's parks and reserves are smaller than those in Kenya and Tanzania, they offer the visitor a broad range of wildlife viewing and tend to be less crowded.

Uganda has ten national parks and fifteen wildlife reserves with a healthy population of traditional safari wildlife. Elephants, leopards, lions, giraffes, and plains game can be viewed on the savannah, while the hippo and crocodile are found in the wetlands. Uganda also boasts a phenomenal bird population and is a paradise for even the casual bird enthusiast.

As with visitors to Rwanda, the mountain gorilla is a huge attraction for travelers visiting Uganda, but there are also large numbers of chimpanzee and other primates. For those interested in seeing the gorillas, the gorilla families move around often and locating them can be a long arduous hike at high altitude. Physical fitness should be a consideration when planning to see the gorillas.

Uganda is a safari goer's dream, with abundant animal and bird life, dramatic and beautiful scenery, and warm and welcoming people. Popular areas include Kidepo Valley National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Semliki Game Reserve, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park.

For those looking for something completely different, and who wish to have a more extended and hands-on experience, there are volunteer programs, such as those at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Ngamba Island.

Agriculture and tourism make up a large part of the economy, though the country also has mineral, copper, and largely untapped oil and gas reserves. Uganda has approximately thirty indigenous languages and a strong international influence within the country, giving this exciting destination a unique personality.

Because of the varied altitude within the country, the climate changes depending upon the area. In general, the southern part of the country is much wetter than the drier northern portion, with rains falling March to May and again toward the latter part of the year. Lake Victoria is the largest lake on the continent and the largest tropical lake in the world. Its presence dramatically affects the south and contributes to the temperatures, clouds, and rainfall.

Safari Destinations: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

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