Capital | Kampala
Population | 34,612,250 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 236,040 SQ KM
Official Language | English
Holidays | Independence Day, 9 October (1962)
Currency | Shilling (UGX)
Time Zone | UTC +3
Best Time to Visit | January to February (when the weather is hot but generally dry) or June to September (the dry season).
Connecting with the Culture | Staying up to enjoy Kampala’s vibrant, fast-changing nightlife. Trekking Mt Elgon’s cliffs, caves, gorges, and waterfalls without another soul in sight. Spectacular wildlife watching at Murchison Falls. Penetrating the Impenetrable Forest (Bwindi National Park), home to half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas. Roaming through the mystical snow-capped Rwenzori ‘Mountains of the Moon’. Chilling away a few more ‘no-hurry-in-Africa’ days in Ssese Islands.
Read | The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden, a page-turner chronicling the experience of Idi Amin’s personal doctor-turned-confidant; or The Abyssinian Chronicles by Uganda Moses Isegawa, a coming of age story of a boy and of a country during Idi Amin’s dark reign and its chaotic aftermath.
Listen | to Ngoma: Music from Uganda, a cultural preservation project by the multiethnic Ndere Troupe.
Watch | Raid on Entebbe, the Charles Bronson classic about the Israeli rescue mission of a Palestinian-terrorist hijacked plane.
Eat | matoke (mashed plantains) and groundnut sauce—food for fuel rather than food for fun.
Drink | Bell Beer, infamous for its ‘Great night, good morning!’ ad-jingle, or try waragi, the local grain-distilled spirit (watch out for the kick!).
In a Word | Mazungu! (white man!)
Characteristics | The tragedy of HIV/AIDS (one in five of the population is afflicted); a fresh-water lake bigger than Ireland (Lake Rutanzige).
Surprises | In spite of all they’ve endured, Ugandans are some of the most open and outgoing people in the world; proof that the number of people, pieces of baggage and chickens that can be squeezed into a matatu (minibus taxi) is far more than the 14 it was built for.
NEWS ABOUT UGANDA:
Uganda's Kony believed in Central African Republic: UN
(HN, 3/26/12) - UN investigators said Friday they have information Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army fugitive leader Joseph Konyis in the Central African Republic. The revelation comes as the African Union is setting up a new coordinated force of 5,000 troops in Yambio, South Sudan to hunt him in Uganda, CAR, the DRC & South Sudan where the LRA operates. The move follows the viral social media phenomenon `KONY 2012' film & campaign by Invisible Children founder Jason Russell. Kony, wanted by the International Criminal Court for leading a grim campaign of rape, mutilation & murder, kidnapping boys to serve as child soldiers & girls as sex slaves from 1986 to 2005. Kony proclaims himself the spokesperson of God & a spirit medium; has nurtured a cult of personality, & claims he is visited by a multinational host of 13 spirits, including a Chinese phantom. Last year the US sent 100 special forces to help the AU search for Kony.
Northern Uganda fears 'nodding disease' not Joseph Kony
(HN, 3/19/12) - In northern Uganda, people do not understand the global attention being given to Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. The militants have not been active here for six years. Nowadays the population is facing another deadly enemy. Michael Odongkora (30) and his two wives and six children live in a thatched hut in Uganda’s arid north. Of course he knows all about Joseph Kony and the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). From 1997 until 2010, Odongkora and his family took refuge in a camp for internally-displaced people in northern Uganda. ‘Invisible Children’, ‘Stop Kony’ or ‘#kony2012’? “That says nothing to me.” (READ MORE from RNW)
RELATED STORY: Nodding Disease: First Ugandan treatment centres open