GEOGRAPHY OF UGANDA

Uganda is a sub-Saharan landlocked country bordered by five countries: South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It lies in the Great Western Rift Valley.

About the same size as the UK, it has several large lakes, including a share of Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world. The River Nile flows northwards out of Lake Victoria into Lake Kyoga, then westwards to Lake Albert before flowing north into South Sudan.

The Rwenzori Mountains, on Uganda’s western border with DRC, have permanent snow. Other mountains include Mt Elgon on the eastern border with Kenya and the Virunga Volcanoes on the south-western border with Rwanda. Apart from the mountains, Uganda varies in height from about 600m above sea level in the north-west to 2,300m plus in the south.

There is a great variety of countryside and landscapes, from dry, open, flat savannah to rolling hills; from steep, cultivated terraced hills to undulating plains used for cattle grazing; from tropical rain forest to densely populated and cultivated areas; from lakes and swamps to arid desert-like areas. Most of Uganda is very lush and green and beautiful. There are several large National Parks and some smaller Reserves where wild animals are protected.

Uganda is one of only eleven countries in the world through which the Equator passes. It crosses the main road south west from Kampala to Masaka and across the main road in the Queen Elizabeth National Park near Kasese. So there is no winter and summer and the days are equal. It gets light at about 7.00am and dark about 7.00pm. Instead of the four seasons of the northern hemisphere, there are wet and dry seasons, which occur at slightly different times in central/southern Uganda and northern Uganda (including Teso). However, as in so many countries, global warming is affecting the seasons.

In Teso and northern Uganda, the main dry season in the north and east is usually from about the end of November to the end of March. The main wet season is about April to June. From July to November, there are two less well defined dry and wet seasons. During rainy seasons, the mornings are usually bright and sunny with rain during the afternoon and evening for up to five hours.

In central and southern Uganda, the main dry season is June to August, with a secondary dry season (with some rain) from about December to February. April and May are the wettest months, but there can also be a lot of rain from September to November. Around Lake Victoria, it tends to rain early in the morning.

Temperatures in the wet season are more like a good English summer. It can get quite chilly in the evenings during the wet season, especially when it’s raining, but hot and humid when the sun comes out, so be prepared. During the main dry season, it gets much hotter (in the low 30s Celsius in some places). Harvesting and drying food is mainly done in the dry seasons. People are very busy cultivating when it rains.