Uganda: Statistics, Facts, History & Security

General Statistics / Facts

  • Official Name: Republic of Uganda
  • Capital: Kampala
  • Area: 236,580 sq km, 93,065 sq mile
  • Population: approximately 31,367,972, (2008 est) – Population growth rate 3.60 %
  • Language: Official language is English and is spoken by most reasonably educated Ugandans. There are 33 indigenous languages with Luganda being the most widely used. Swahili is still known and is termed as a ‘trade’ language.
  • Life Expectancy: Total 52.3 years (2008 estimate) – Female 53.4 years (2008 estimate) – Male 51.3 years (2008 estimate)
  • Religious Affiliations: Roman Catholic 41% – Anglican 40% – Ethnoreligionist or indigenous beliefs 4% – Muslim 5% – Other 10%


Ugandans were traditionally hunters and gatherers, until about 1700 – 2300 years ago. At this time Bantu-speaking populations from Central and Western African migrated into the south of the country. This migration allowed for the development of ironworking skills and ideas on social and political organisation. In about A.D. 120, the Nilotic people entered Uganda from the North, they were cattle and subsistence farmers.

In the 1860’s British explorers came to Uganda in search of the source of the Nile. These were followed by Protestant missionaries in 1877 and Catholic missionaries 2 years later. The United Kingdom places Uganda under the charter of the British East Africa Company in 1888 and ruled as a protectorate from 1894.

Uganda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, but maintained their Commonwealth membership. The first post-independence government was formed with Obote as Executive Prime Minster and the Buganda Kabaka (King), Muteesa II holding the largely ceremonial position of President. In 1966, following a power struggle between the Obote-lead government and King Mutessa, the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) dominated Parliament changed the constitution and removed the ceremonial president and vice president. In 1967, a new constitution proclaimed Uganda a republic and abolished the traditional kingdoms, Obote was then declared Executive President, without any elections.

Obote was then removed from office in 1971 by Idi Amin, who seized power with the support of the military. Amin ruled Uganda for the next 8 years. Amin’s rule was a dictatorship and it cost an estimated 300,000 Ugandan’s lives. In 1972 Amin issued a decree ordering the expulsion of all Asians (including those with Ugandan passports). The Asian community owned many of the large scale enterprises that formed the backbone of the Ugandan economy, once removed Uganda’s economy was devastated. Amin’s reign was ended after the Uganda-Tanzania War in 1979, in which Tanzanian forces aided by Ugandan exiles invaded Uganda. This led to the return of Obote, who was deposed once more in 1985 by General Tito Okello. Okello ruled for six months until he was deposed after the so called “bush war” the National Resistance Army (NRA) operating under the leadership of the current president, Yoweri Museveni. Museveni has been in power since 1986.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was formed in 1987 and is led by Joseph Kony. Kony believes that he is a spokesperson of God and a spirit medium, primarily of the Holy Spirit. The LRA has had a long running conflict with the Ugandan government. The LRA is accused of widespread human rights violations, including forcing children to participate in hostilities. The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants in 2005 against Kony and 4 other LRA commanders. 2 have since been killed. In 2010 a bill was passed through the U.S. government called the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act’ – this legislation is aimed at stopping Kony and the LRA. The agenda of the LRA has never seemed political, it appears to be more concerned with attacking rival liberation movements then government troops or installations and these attacks have mostly occurred in Northern Uganda.


Uganda has been an acceptably safe travel destination ever since Museveni took power in 1986. Relative stability has returned to Northern Uganda with the departure of the LRA in 2006. Recent LRA activity has been restricted to the remote region of Garamba National Park in the DRC.

With the improvement in infrastructure and the political stability, Uganda is developing to be one of the world’s top safari destinations. Both the Government and the local communities appreciate the benefits of tourism and want to share ‘The Pearl of Africa’ with visitors. Although, as with any travel, whether in your own country or another, a little bit of common sense is required, for example, use the safes provided in the accommodations, don’t wear or bring your most treasured belongings or valuables with you and listen to the advice and instructions of your guide.

Classic Africa Safaris is 100% Carbon Neutral

Carbon Neutral 2012

As part of our corporate social responsibility program Classic Africa Safaris is carbon neutral. We are the FIRST safari company in Uganda and Rwanda to become carbon neutral, and one of the first safari/travel companies in East Africa to officially 'GO GREEN'.