Uganda Cultural Safaris

Uganda is a cultural melting pot on the African Continent. Its cutural composition is as diverse as its other natural features. This small country roughly the same size of the Great Britaion is composed of over 54 different tribes with the largest single ethnic group being the bantu. Lake Kyoga serves as a rough boundary between Bantu speakers in the south and Nilotic and Central Sudanic language speakers in the north. Despite the division between north and south in political affairs, this linguistic boundary actually runs roughly from northwest to southeast, near the course of the Nile. However, many Ugandans live among people who speak different languages, especially in rural areas. Some sources describe regional variation in terms of physical characteristics, clothing, bodily adornment, and mannerisms, though those differences are disappearing.

Location and Geography. Bantu speakers probably entered southern Uganda by the end of the first millennium. They had developed centralized kingdoms by the fifteenth or sixteenth century, and after independence from British rule in 1962, Bantu speakers constituted roughly two-thirds of the population. They are classified as either Eastern Lacustrine or Western Lacustrine Bantu. The Eastern Lacustrine Bantu speakers include the Baganda people whose language is Luganda, the Basoga, and many smaller societies in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. The Western Lacustrine Bantu speakers include the Banyoro, the Bastoro, the Banyankole, and several smaller populations in Uganda.

Nilotic language speakers probably entered the area from the north beginning about C.E. 1000. Thought to be the first cattle-herding people in the area, they also relied on crop cultivation. The largest Nilotic populations in Uganda are the Iteso and Karamojong ethnic groups, who speak Eastern Nilotic languages, and the Acholi, Langi, and Alur, who speak Western Nilotic languages. Central Sudanic languages, which arrived in Uganda from the north over a period of centuries, are spoken by the Lugbara, the Madi, and a few small groups in the northwestern part of the country.

People and Culture

Ugandas population is estimated to be 27 million people growing at a rate of 2.5% per annum. It is made up of complex and diverse range of tribes with the majority (98%) being Africans who fall into 4 major ethnic groups; Bantu, Nile Hamites, Nilotic and Hamite groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu speaking peoples, who dominate much of East, Central and Southern Africa with the Baganda taking the biggest percentage.

Most of the Bantu speaking people formed their own kingdoms; Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro, Ankole and Tooro. Before the coming of the British these kingdoms were organized political settings with Buganda having the most civilized and highly centralized monarchy. In the north live the Lango (near Lake Kyoga) and the Acholi (towards the Sudanese border) who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamajong who are related to the Masai pastoralists of Kenya. In the forests of the west live the Batwa, a pygmy related tribe thought to originate from Congo.

Ugandans are very polite, enthusiastic, friendly and welcoming people who will often greet strangers on public transport or in rural areas. It is always not a simple hello but also How are you? How is your family? and the interest is genuine.


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Uganda with its vast expanses of Birds, Gorillas, Chimpanzees,Lakes and Rivers,overflowing with wildlife, must surely rank as one of Africa's ultimate safari destinations. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (& Mgahinga Mountain Gorillas ) and Kibale National Park are the two not to be missed destinations...........More.......

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