Uganda Geography


Already inhabited by groups similar to the pygmies or bushmen, Uganda was subsequently invaded by Bantu agricultural populations according to threergroup, then by Hamitic pastoral peoples: this meeting was responsible for the birth of the kingdoms that have marked the country’s history. The establishment of an aristocratic organization can be explained by the advent of the first Hamitic groups, which easily imposed their superiority as herders on the farming peoples. These, subjugated by the very kind of life of the invaders, by their tall stature, by the animals on which they based the economy, soon formed an inferior social class subject to shepherds; from this differentiation of class it originated, towards the sec. XV, the kingdom of Kitara, which germinated the following kingdoms, among which the most powerful was, for a long time, that of Nyoro (BaNyoro). Large livestock epidemics at one point caused the abandonment of farming for agriculture, but the organization founded on a king (kabaka), administrative hierarchies of various degrees and servants remained intact over the centuries. The dominance of the kingdom of Ganda (Baganda, 17.3%) is recent and you have the support received from the British. From this also derive the pre-eminent role of this people in today’s life of the country and the same numerical prevalence. The other main Bantu groups are the Banyankore (9.8%), the Basoga (8.6%) and the Bakiga (7%).

There are also numerous Nilotic groups, such as the Langi (6.2%), the acholi (4.8%), the madi, and the Niloto-Hamitic ones, such as the iteso (6.6%) and the karamojong, mostly located in the north and east of the country. Then there are groups of bagisu (4.7%), lugbara (4.3%), banyoro (2.8%) and batoro (2.5%); other minorities make up (25.4%). Several Tutsis live in Uganda todayrefugees from Rwanda and other refugees from Sudan, Congo and Rwanda. Asians, Indians and Pakistanis who came to Uganda as well as Kenya at the beginning of the twentieth century were subject to a practically total expulsion by Idi Amin Dada, who expropriated their lands. The country’s first census dates back to 1948, which recorded 4.9 million residents, which grew in recent years with an annual rate of approx. 3.5% (2002-2007). The average population density is 121 residents/km²; the highest densities are recorded in the belt around Lake Victoria, due to the favorable conditions offered by plantation agriculture; the settlements in these fertile and populous areas are made up of small families scattered in the middle of the countryside. The density in the area of ​​Mount Elgon is also relatively high, where coffee plantations have spread, and in the Kigezi area. The least populated areas are the savannah ones of the North (area of ​​the Acholi) and of the North-East, where there are minimum densities of 10-15 residents / km². Throughout the country, urbanism is underdeveloped (in 2008 only 13% of the residents lived in urban centers), but it is gradually expanding. The major centers are located near Lake Victoria where, between Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja, the greatest demographic concentration has established itself, having attracted both the populations of the interior and, in the past, Europeans and Asians; in fact, in this area the environmental conditions are favorable and there is a connection (rail and road) with Kenya and the coast. The development of this area can be indicated by the expansion of the capital Kampala, one of the most beautiful African cities, which is home to multiple activities, including industrial ones, although these are mainly located in Jinja, favored by the proximity of the large Owen hydroelectric plant. Falls that exploits the waters of the Nile. Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria, is a port center and hosts an important airport in the country. Outside this area, important centers, albeit at the district level, are Tororo and Mbale, on a branch of the railway to Mombasa (Kenya), which has also enhanced the towns at the foot of the Ruwenzori (Kasese area) towards the west.


The vegetal mantle is represented by now reduced strips of rainforest (with cedars, mahogany, podocarps) and very extensive wooded and grassy savannahs (Pennisetum purpureum or elephant grass) which become shrubby in the north, less rainy. Along the rivers, the gallery forest extends, while the lakes and marshes are dominated by aquatic plants such as papyrus, reeds, rushes, lotus plants, water lilies and water hyacinths. Particular is the vegetation of the Ruwenzori in its various altitudinal planes; over 3000 m it hosts a rich flora of seneci and lobelie, which are followed by grasslands up to the snow limit, just below 5000 meters. Famous parks are home to typical African fauna; the best known is that of the Kabalega Fallson the Victoria Nile, rich in elephants, buffaloes, lions, zebras, leopards and various species of monkeys and gorillas, while hippos and crocodiles live in the wetlands. The excessive exploitation of land for agricultural use and the constant demographic growth have led to the devastation of swampy areas and forests, producing deforestation and soil erosion. Another problem Uganda faces is poaching. To stop the degradation of wooded areas, 10 national parks and numerous other nature reserves have been established (26.1% of the territory is a protected area); also the UNESCO declared the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (1994) and the Rwenzori Mountains National Park (1994) a World Heritage Site.

Uganda Geography