PEOPLE AND CULTURE

Situated at the geographical heart of the African Continent. Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot, as evidenced by the existence of 30-plus different indigenous languages belonging to five distinct linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art and handcrafts. The country's most ancient inhabitants, confined to the hilly Southwest, are the Batwa and Bambuti Pygmies, relics of the hunter gatherer cultures that once occupied much of East Africa to leave behind a rich legacy of rock paintings, such as the Nyero Rock shelter near Kumi.

Certainly, Uganda is the only safari destination whose range of forest primates is as impressive as its selection of plains antelope, and this verant bio-diversity is further attested to by Uganda’s status as by far the smallest of four African Countries whose bird checklist tops the 1,000 mark, yet there is more to the country than wildlife far more! There is the mighty Nile, punctuated by the spectacular Murchison Falls, and the setting for the world’s most thrilling commercial White water.

Dominated by an expansive Golf course leading down to the shore, and a century-old botanical garden alive with chatter of acrobatic monkeys and colorful tropical birds, Entebbe itself is the least obviously urban of all comparably sized African towns. Then, just 40km distant, sprawled across seven hills, there is the Capital KAMPALA.

The bright modern feel of this bustling, cosmopolitan city reflects the ongoing economic growth and political stability that has characterized Uganda since 1986, and is completed by the sloping spaciousness and runaway greenery of its garden setting.

Ecologically, Uganda is where the East African Savannah meets the West African jungle. Where else but in this impossibly lush country can one observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the ample afternoon, then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippo and crocs before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a Mountain Gorilla????

According to oral tradition, these centuries -old Kingdoms are off-shoots of the medieval Kingdoms of the Batembuzi and Bachwezi, which lay in the vicinity of present day Mubende and Ntusi, where archaeological evidence suggest that a strongly centralized policy had emerged by the 11th century. Three former kings 9 of Buganda are buried in an impressive traditional thatched at the Kasubi Tombs in Kampala.

Elsewhere, Uganda's cultural diversity is boosted in the North-East by the presence of the Karamojong, traditional pastoralists whose lifestyle and culture is reminiscent of the renowned Maasai, and in the northwest by a patchwork of agricultural peoples whose Nilotic languages and cultures are rooted in what is now SUDAN.

The Rwenzori Foothills are home to the hardy Bakonjo, whose hunting shrines are dedicated to a one-legged, one-armed, one-eyed pipe-smoking spirit known as Kalisa, while the Bagisu of the Mount Elgon region are known for their colorful Imbalu Ceremony, an individual initiation to Manhood that peaks in activity in and around August of every even numbered year.

The development of political dynasties resulted in a sophisticated pre-colonial history and by the time Arab and European explorers, traders and slavers reached the region, the Buganda Kingdom was well established. Colonized by Britain, independence came in 1962 but it was only i in the mid-1980's, after the catastrophic regimes of MILTON OBOTE and IDI AMIN, that Uganda experienced social stability and economic growth fertile soils and regular rainfall mean an economy-built Agriculture. Cash crops such as Coffee, Tea and Tobacco dominate the export market but most Agriculture in Uganda Is subsistence farming, occupying some 75% of the workforce. Significant mineral, gas and oil deposits are set to be exploited in the future while tourism has proved to be an ever -growing sector of the economy

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