Uganda Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Uganda: population and cities



According to Countryaah website, an estimated 44 million people live in Uganda, with the population density being quite high, especially in the south of the country. Over half of the country’s people are under 15 years old, making Uganda’s population the youngest on average. The average life expectancy is 48 years. Statistically speaking, a Ugandan woman gives birth to 7.1 children over the course of her life. The annual population growth in Uganda is about 3.2%.

Ethnic groups

The ethnic majority of Uganda is made up of Bantu (60%), Niloten (24%) and central Sudanese ethnic groups (7%). The Bantu peoples include the Baganda, Ankole, Basoga, Bakiga, Bagisu, Batoro, Banyoro, Bagwere, Bakonjo, Rwanda and Rundi. The Nilots are composed of Iteso, Langi, Acholi, Alur, Jopodhola and Karamojong, and the Sudan peoples from the Lugbara. About 1% of the population are non-African. These are mainly Asians, Europeans and around 3,000 Arabs.


About 40% of the population is Roman Catholic, 32% are Anglicans and 14% are Pentecostals and about 12% are – mostly Sunni – Muslims.

Furthermore, in Uganda there are 1% followers of traditional African religions. In addition to the groups mentioned, some black African Jews still live in the country. These abayudaya comprise about 750 people and have settled at Mbale.

National languages

There are two official national languages in Uganda: English and Swahili. Swahili is also used as a means of communication by the police, military, and government.

Luganda, the language of Baganda, is the official language of the autonomous kingdom of Buganda, which is spreading across central Uganda. In everyday life, however, people use their folk languages. The Nilotic language group occurs particularly in the north of the country.

Capital and other cities


Kampala is the capital of Uganda and is located at an altitude of over 1,000 m – in the immediate vicinity of Lake Victoria. The city has about 2 million residents. Kampala is the undisputed center of power, culture and science in the country. According to Abbreviation Finder, UGA stands for Uganda in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

The origins of Kampala go back to the 19th century, when the kings of Buganda had their seat on the hills of this region. I expanded it around a fort built by Frederick Lugard in 1890 for the British East Africa Company.

The city’s name comes from “Kasozi K’Empala”, which roughly translates as the hill of the antelopes. This is because the Nakasero Hill, when the city was founded, grazed here Impala antelopes – which belonged to the King of Buganda.

From 1900 to 1905 the place was the capital of the British Protectorate Uganda. Over time, the city grew increasingly and expanded over the seven hills there. In 1962, Kampala became the country’s capital instead of Entebbe.


Entebbe was the capital until 1962 and today has around 65,000 residents. The city is located about 40 km south of Kampala on a peninsula on Lake Victoria. A very special attraction in Entebbe is the botanical garden shown below. Only about 4 km outside the city is the international airport, which was the scene of a dramatic incident in the summer of 1976: eight PLO kidnappers and the two Germans Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann had an Air France plane with the help of the Ugandan government of Idi Amins who was en route from Paris via Athens to Tel Aviv, kidnapped and held passengers at the airport in order to force the freedom of several imprisoned PLO members. In a daring and skilful operation on the night of the 3rd to the 4th July 1976 – seven days after the kidnapping – the soldiers of Idi Amins deceived and overwhelmed and the hostages brought from Entebbe to safety in Israel. Seven of the ten terrorists, including Böse and Kuhlmann, were shot dead. Of the 103 hostages, only three were killed, and Colonel Jonathan Netanyahu, a brother of the current (2009) Israeli Prime Minister, died during the operation of the head of the Israeli command.


Gulu is located in the northwest of Uganda and has a population of around 147,000. The city acts as the capital of the district of the same name and has grown to become the second largest city in Uganda due to the large number of refugees. The city is not interesting for tourists.


Almost 100,000 people live in Jinja, the fourth largest city in the country in southeast Uganda. Jinja spreads along the shores of Lake Victoria and has existed since 1901 when the city was founded as a trading post.

Lira (also called Lila)

In Uganda’s third largest city, in which around 120,000 people currently live, the militant representatives of the hostile ethnic groups as well as Ugandan government troops and rebels of the fanatical Lord’s Resistance Army increasingly met during the civil war.


In the central region of Uganda, Mukono is the capital of the district of the same name. It has almost 54,000 residents and can be proud of its Uganda Christian University.

Uganda: Geography and Map

Uganda is located in the middle of Africa and covers an area of 236,860 km². Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Uganda. Thereof:

  • ForestAround 28% of the country is forested.
  • Meadow and pasture landAround 21% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
  • Fields and fieldsAround 28% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for growing cotton, coffee, tea, cocoa, tobacco and sugar cane.
  • WaterThe inland waters take up about one sixth of the total surface of the country.

The country has a common border with the following five states:

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo with a length of 765 km
  • Kenya with a length of 933 km
  • Rwanda with a length of 169 km
  • Sudan with a length of 435 km
  • Tanzania with a length of 396 km.

Longitude and latitude

Uganda extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 01 ° 30 ‘south to 04 ° north latitude Δλ = from around 029 ° 40′ to 035 ° east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Time in Uganda

For Uganda, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET:

Δ t (CET) = + 2 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

Highest of the sun in Kampala

Kampala lies at a northern latitude of around φ = 0.5 °.

If the declination δ of the sun has a value of 0.5 north and the image point of the sun is thus above the city, the sun is perpendicular there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 2 days after March 21st and 2 days before September 21st.


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination δ is north of the latitude of Kampala, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.

Mountains, Ruwenzori Mountains

Peak Margherita

The highest mountain in the country is Peak Margherita in the Ruwenzori Mountains with a height of 5,110 m. The Ruwenzori Mountains are the “source” for the water of the Victorias. The moist air coming from the east rains on the mountains almost 300 days a year. The partially glaciated mountain range is not of volcanic origin and is located in the region of the East African Rift Valley – on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and approx. 200 km northwest of Lake Victoria.

Other high mountains are:

  • Mount Elgon with a height of 4,321 m
  • Moroto with a height of 3,084 m
  • Oboa with a height of 3,070 m.

Rivers, White Nile

White Nile

The country’s longest river is the White Nile with a length of around 3,700 km. It is a section of the Nile that measures over 6,500 km.

Other rivers in the country are:

  • Katonga
  • Nkusi
  • Coffee
  • Kagera
  • Pager
  • Ahwa
  • Semliki.

Lake Victoria

The largest lake in Uganda is Lake Victoria – which was named in honor of Queen Victoria of England – with an area of 68,870 km². After the Caspian Sea and Lake Superior in America (USA/Canada) it is the third largest lake in the world and the largest lake in Africa. The northern part of the lake is in Uganda, the southern part in Tanzania and in the east a very small part of the lake belongs to Kenya. The main tributary of the lake is the Kagera Nile, which flows into the lake in the northwest on the border with Tanzania. The main outflow – to the north of the lake in Uganda – is the Victoria Nile.

The water volume of the lake is around 2,770 km³ – with a maximum depth of 85 m. Around its center, the lake borders Tanzania in the south of the country for around 250 km. Kenya only takes up a small part of the northeast of the lake. The Victoriasse has a rather rectangular shape. The largest island in the lake is Ukerewe in Tanzania – with an area of 560 km². Hippos live on or in the lake.

There used to be numerous different species of cichlids here. However, since the fish were too small for commercial wholesale marketing, the British had previously used the Nile perch here, which can be up to 2 m long and is easy to market. However, the fish partly displaced the native species.

And there is another special feature at the lake. Once a month the glass rod larvae rise from the bottom of the lake to the surface, where they develop into the tufted mosquito. The billions of mosquitoes that do not bite form towers up to 100 m high, the males inside and the females outside. During this flight, the mosquitoes mate, only to lay their eggs on the surface of the lake and die after a day. The eggs then fall to the bottom of the lake and after a month everything starts at the front. The locals usually catch the mosquitoes in order to prepare a protein-rich meal from them.

More lakes

Other larger lakes are:

  • Albertsee with an area of around 5,374 km²
  • Edwardsee with an area of 2,325 km²
  • Georgsee
  • Lake Kyoga with an area of 1,720 km²
  • Lake Bunjonji


Ssese Islands

Uganda includes the group of 84 Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria, of which only 44 are permanently inhabited. Due to the heavy rainfall of over 2,000 mm per year, the islands are very densely forested. The largest of the Ssese Islands is Bugala with a size of 432 km².

Uganda Population