Uganda is situated at the intersection of the sprawling savannahs of East Africa, the primordial rainforests of West Africa, and the semi-arid Sahelian zone of North Africa. In the middle of this eclectic mix of vegetation zones are some of the world’s easily identifiable geographical landmarks – the world’s longest river, River Nile; the world’s second largest lake, Lake Victoria; Africa’s highest mountain range, the Rwenzori Mountains, Africa’s highest solitary volcano, Mt. Elgon; Africa’s oldest rainforest, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; the western arm of the African rift valley, the Albertine Rift Valley, and the Equator. With such an varied mix of habitats, it is no surprise that Uganda offers all the ‘Big 5’ – Rhino, Elephant, Leopard, Cape Buffalo and Lions – in addition to the 2 great apes; Chimpanzee and Mountain Gorilla.
Nature & Conservation
Geography & Topography
Uganda is surrounded by 3 Great Lakes; Albert, Edward and Victoria and a fourth, Lake Kyoga lies in the Central region. Grassland and tropical forest dominate the central lake region and the mountainous highlands of the Southeast where dense rainforests flourish. The low-lying Nile valley cuts its way through Central and Northwest Uganda to enter South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt, and finally empty in the Mediterranean.
Altitude & Mountains
The entire country lies above 900m above sea level and generally slopes from South to North. It is commonly classified as a plateau between 1,000-1,200m in altitude, with numerous hills and valleys, and extensive savannah plains. Mountains on all sides cradle this plateau; the volcanic foothills of Mt. Elgon in the East, Mt. Moroto in the Northeast, the northernmost of the Virunga range in the Southwest and Ruwenzori Mountains including Uganda’s highest snow-capped peak Margherita (5029m), in the Southwest.
The Great Rift Valley
The Albertine Rift Valley also called the Western Rift Valley is responsible for many of the land formations in Uganda and it is also where most of Uganda’s wildlife and birds can be found. In Uganda the Virunga Mountains and the Rwenzori Range border it, and it contains the Great Lakes, Lake Edward and Lake Albert. Much of this area lies within the boundaries of national parks including Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.