Uganda is a country rich in history and full of lush natural beauty from border to border. However, it often falls under travelers’ radar due to past political conflicts, and the relative difficulty of getting there. But that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to discover about this east African country. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Uganda.
There are snow-capped mountains
Even though the country is near the equator, Uganda’s Rwenzori mountains are so high that they are permanently snow-capped. The highest peak is Mount Stanley at 5,109m (16,762 feet).
It’s one of the youngest countries in the world
Almost 50% of the population in Uganda is currently under the age of 15. This makes it the second youngest country in the world, after Niger.
Mountain gorillas still roam freely
Uganda is one of only three countries in Africa where mountain gorillas still roam freely, and it’s no surprise that most tourists going to Uganda want to see them. There are less than 1,000 gorillas left here, so it’s well worth the effort to see them if you can — and while you can.
Mobile phones are very popular
Despite being rather poor, around 10 million people in Uganda have mobile phones. This amounts to about one third of the entire population. Mobile phone use in Uganda continues to grow and gives people access to the internet.
It’s one of the sources of the Nile River
Although the Nile river is commonly associated with Egypt, one of the sources is in southern Uganda. When snow from the frosty mountains of the Rwenzori range melts, it flows north across the continent. The other source of the Nile is in Ethiopia.
It is still a kingdom (sort of)
The Kingdom of Buganda unites the Bugandan people, historically one of the most powerful ethnic groups in the country. The kingdom was abolished when Uganda regained its independence, but it was restored in 1993.
There are over 40 languages
Uganda is seriously diverse for its size and over 40 languages are spoken within the country. While English is the official language, Luganda is the most common language in use.
Ugandans like to drink and party
Uganda has the highest alcohol consumption in east Africa. Almost 90% of the alcohol in the country is home- brewed, and the people consume 23.7 liters per capita. One of the favorite drinks is Ajono, a beer drunk from communal pots.
There are over 1,000 bird species
Uganda is one of the best countries in Africa (and the world) for seeing bird life, with over 1,000 bird species. Over 10% of all the birds in the world can be found in the country.
It’s still mostly rural
Even though bustling Kampala has a population of over 1 million, most of Uganda is still undeveloped and rural. Over 85% of the population still lives in rural areas, and most people rely on farming as a source of income.
More from AFKTravel:
Why You Should Visit Jinja, Uganda
15 Photos Of Uganda That Will Make Your Jaw Drop
This article was originally published on July 2, 2015.