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Uganda -- Geography

Area Uganda is 236,040 sq. mi. of which 36,330 sq. km is fresh water, mostly Lake Victoria.

Location Uganda is a landlocked countryin terms of ocean accessabiliy-- bordered on the north by the Sudan, on the east by Kenya, on the west by the Congo, and the south by Tanzania and Rwanda. Coordinates are 1 00 N, 32 00 E.

Physical Description Uganda is one large plateau. There are mountain masses in the West, Mufumbiro and the Ruwenzori, and Mt. Elgon in the East. The Mufumbiro mountain range is made up of volcanic highlands over 1,500 meters. It includes Mt. Sabinjo which is 3,645 m and lies at the boundary of Uganda, Congo, and Rwanda, and Mt. Mahavura which is 4,127 m high. The Ruwenzore mountain range, also known as "The Mountains of the Moon" is separated from the Mufumbiro range by a valley. There are several large peaks in this mountain range, including Mt. Elgon, Uganda's highest point.

Uganda lies in the upper basin of the White Nile. The Nile runs from Lake Victoria at Jinja, over Owen Falls into Lake Kyoga. From the lake, over Karuma Falls, then Murchinson Falls, the river flows into Lake Albert. The Nile leaves Uganda at Nimule on the Sudan border.

Forests Forests cover about 8% of Uganda's land area. Most of the country's forested land lies in the western rift valley area. About 30 to 40 species of wood are exploited, including mahogany, muzizi, nongo, satinwood, muhimbi, Elgon olive and mvule. The most productive forests include the Budongo at the northern end of Lake Albert, Kibale in the Toro district, Kalinzu in the Ankole district, Mabira in the Lake Victoria region, and those of Mount Elgon and the Ruwenzori Mountains.

Uganda had about 6,500 sq. km of forests in 1960, but this was reduced to only 5,500 by 1980. Wooded land has continued to shrink due to increased agricultural use of the land and the felling of trees for fuel. According to 1982 estimates, wood fuel accounted for over 90% of the nation's energy consumption.

Lakes Uganda is a country with abundant lakes. Nearly one-fifth of the total area, about 44,000 square kilometers, is covered by open water or swampland. Four of East Africa's Great Lakes--Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward--lie within Uganda or on its borders. Lake Victoria lies in the southeastern corner of the nation, with almost one half of its 10,200-square-kilometer area lying inside Ugandan territory. The second largest inland freshwater lake in the world (after Lake Superior), it feeds the upper waters of the Nile River, whose local name is the Victoria Nile. Lake Kyoga and the surrounding basin lie in the center of the country. Lake Kyoga feeds into Lake Kwania, Lake Bugondo, and Lake Opeta. Lake Salisbury, to the northeast of Lake Kyoga, provides a conduit for the waters north of Mount Elgon that run into the Nile system. West of Lake Victoria, in the south, is a cluster of six lakes that is surrounded by swampland during the rainy season. All the lakes in the Lake Kyoga Basin are shallow, only eight or nine meters deep. Lake Opeta is a separate lake only during dry seasons. Along the border with Zaire, Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and Lake George occupy troughs formed by the western Rift Valley. These shallow lakes support a flourishing fishing industry[1] .

Climate Uganda experiences an equatorial climate. There are two dry seasons, from December to February and June to August. The other times of the year are wet seasons. In the northeast, the climate is semiarid. The temperature ranges between 20(o)C and 22(o)C (68(o)F to 72(o)F).

[1] Source: Byrnes, Rita M. (ed.) 1992. Uganda A Country Study , Library of Congress: Washington D.C. pg. 45.

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