Straddling the equator, the country’s dominating feature is water: the vast blue of Lake Victoria, the ever-flowing river Nile, Lakes Edward, George and Albert, and the expansive network of wetlands and marsh. Dramatic mountains punctuate the landscape: the snowcapped Rwenzori Mountains (Ptolemy’s famous ‘Mountains of the moon’), the volcanic ranges of the southwest, the the massive Mount Elgon in the East of the country.
“For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life-plant, bird, insect, reptile, beast,” Churchill wrote, “Uganda truly is the Pearl of Africa”. It is a misconception that Uganda is for the seasoned Africa traveller. If you are a first-time visitor you will be well rewarded with wonderful wildlife sightings, a hugely warm welcome, some of the most beautiful scenery the world has to offer, and a serenity and gentleness that is hard to find elsewhere.
The wildlife is truly wild, but it’s all here: lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant (both forest and savanna species), buffalo, warthog, forest hog, river hog, hippo, giraffe (the rare Rothschild – otherwise known as the Ugandan Giraffe) zebra (both Grant’s and Burchell’s), chimpanzee, many species of monkey (vervet, red-tailed, colobus, de Brazza, among others), eland, topi, dikdik, duiker, kob, bushbuck, waterbuck, reedbuck, sitatunga, civet, genet, mongoose. The Mountain Gorilla. The elephant shrew. Creatures that look like they’ve come from the imagination of Dr. Suess. The Shoebill. Big things, little things. Things that crawl, things that fly. Things that crawl first then fly. There are, reportedly over 340 mammal species found here, and 1062 species of bird. That’s not even taking into account the astounding butterflies and moths.