Uganda can be proud of very rich natural heritage. The tropical forest here has some of the highest species diversity in Africa, the country has powerful waterfalls and interesting volcanic landforms.
Man-made wonders of Uganda are less impressive. Here recently existed or still exists a unique tradition of rainmaking rituals. Rain is called with the help of enormous natural stone gongs – large boulders that sometimes are covered with paintings and carvings. Amazing are the grandiose works of the Kitara Empire from the 11th – 16th centuries.
Map with the described wonders of Uganda
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Top 14 wonders of Uganda
Roaring, powerful waterfall of Victoria Nile. The river is squeezed into a 6 – 7 m wide gorge and falls for 43 m over a distance of some 200 – 250 meters.
The third highest mountain in Africa, 5,109 m high (Margherita Peak). The summit area contains glaciers and it is possible to descend with skis up to 800 m vertical distance, which is a highly unusual experience in equatorial Africa.
A cascade of three tall waterfalls on the Sipi River. The lower cascade is some 95-100 m tall, the middle: 69-74 m tall, and the upper: 87 m tall.
Perpetual spouter! The most impressive geothermal region in Uganda with hot springs and a geyser-like fountain of hot water – the Mumbuga erupting spring. In dry season here appear also fumaroles.
Impressive waterfall on Victoria Nile. One of the few remaining waterfalls between Lake Kyoga and Murchison Falls – most of the other waterfalls have been flooded by hydropower projects. Stories about Karuma – mighty spirit of the waterfall.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
This intact montane rainforest is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa. There live at least 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, and more than 1,000 flowering plants. Here live some 340 Bwindi gorillas – a disjunct population of Mountain Gorillas. There live also chimpanzees – this is the only place in the world where both these primates are living together.
A giant tree believed to be the largest mahogany (Khaya anthotheca or Entandrophragma angolense) in the world. Unconfirmed reports tell that the tree is 80 m tall and there are needed 10 people to link hands around this giant. The tree is located in the largest mahogany forest in this part of Africa – Budongo Forest. Walking in this forest, under the dark green canopy of tall trees gives a very special feelings.
Nyero rock paintings
Group of some 400 years old rock paintings located in three rock shelters. These paintings have an associated tradition of rainmaking that was continued here until recent times.
Nsongezi Rock Shelter
A Neolithic settlement from the 9th century AD. On this site were produced stone tools and pottery.
Approximately 2 km² large area rich with archaeological finds. It is possible that this was the main urban center of the Empire of Kitara in the 11th – 15th centuries. The site includes two large mounds.
Rock Gong of Lolui Island
Enormous rounded granite rocks here are forming picturesque stacks. In several locations, these rocks have been used as natural gongs by local people. Here have been found also associated rock paintings.
Kakoro rain stone
Large granite obelisk that is balanced on a rock. This standing stone is painted with some fifteen symbols, including Twa concentric circles. This obelisk with its surroundings served as a rainmaking site until recent times in the middle of the 20th century. In some places, these rituals may continue up to this day.
Bigo bya Mugyenyi
Giant fort – earthworks, built between the 14th and 16th centuries by Bacwezi – the rulers of Kitara. Consists of an outer ring and inner rings of fortifications that enclose approximately 10 km³ large area.
Burial grounds of four kabakas – kings of Buganda. Royal enclosure was built in 1881 – it contained straw thatched buildings with the burials and was developed on the site of the royal palace. Buildings burned down in March 2010, the burials were untouched.
Once notorious for the tyranny of Idi Amin, immortalized in the film The Last King of Scotland, Uganda has, for the last twenty-six years or so, struggled to overcome its negative image. It has largely been successful. Rated the best country to visit in 2012, it was one named of the best tourist destinations of 2013 by National Geographic magazine. In addition to its game parks, home to the Big Five, Uganda has one of the largest numbers of recorded bird species of any country.
The Bradt Guide to Uganda, now more than 500 pages long, is the definitive travel handbook to this wonderful but oft-neglected destination, not only providing comprehensive background information to its varied national parks, towns, and other cultural attractions but also including detailed reviews of the ever-growing selection of world-class lodges and budget hotels that service them.