Uganda & Botswana

Uganda is a landlocked country in Eastern part of the continent, bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania

 Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country. The capital is Kampala. “Uganda is a fairy-tale. You climb up a railway instead of a beanstalk, and at the end there is a wonderful new world,” wrote Sir Winston Churchill, who visited the country during its years under British rule and who called it “the pearl of Africa.” Indeed, Uganda embraces many ecosystems, from the tall volcanic mountains of the eastern and western frontiers to the densely forested swamps of the Albert Nile River and the rainforests of the country’s central plateau. The land is richly fertile, and Ugandan coffee has become both a mainstay of the agricultural economy and a favorite of connoisseurs around the world.

Bantu-speaking populations resided into the southern portion of the country some 2,300 years ago bringing with them ideas of social and political organization and developing unique iron working skills. Arab traders were first to occupy Uganda in 1830s. The British explorers followed in search of the source of the Nile. The region was placed under the charter of the British East Africa Company by the United Kingdom in 1888, and was transformed into a protectorate in 1894. In the late 19th century, laborers were brought from British India to East Africa to begin work on the Uganda Railway, and upon its completion nearly 7,000 of those workers decided to remain in East Africa, according to World Atlas.

Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa

Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. Botswana extends from the Chobe River (which drains through the Zambezi to the Indian Ocean) in the north to the Molopo River (part of the Orange River system, which flows into the Atlantic) in the south. To the east it is bordered by the Limpopo River and its tributaries, the Ngotwane (Notwani), Marico (Madikwe), and Shashe. On the north of the country lies one of the most beautiful natural phenomenon’s the Okavango Delta, ranked to be among the world largest inland deltas. The Okavango Delta is a unique pulsing wetland. More correctly an alluvial fan, the delta covers between 6 and 15 000 square kilometers of Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana and owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River which flows from the Angolan highlands, across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into the harsh Kalahari Desert. Based on how the delta operates, the Okavango Delta is in flood between July and September  – this natural phenomenon draws a large range of wildlife to the waters, which in turn attracts predators towards the high concentration of plains game from the dry hinterland. Okavango Delta is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2014, making it a major tourist hot spot.

Botswana is one of the most stable countries on the continent and also has the longest continuous multi-party democracy. It is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record, according to the BBC. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent on September 30th 1966. Prior to gaining independence, Botswana was considered one of the poorest and least-developed states in the world. Since its independence the Republic of Botswana has gained international stature as a peaceful and increasingly prosperous democratic state. Upon gaining independence, Seretse Khama,  served as the country’s first president until 1980; Seretse Khama Ian Khama – the son of Sir Seretse Khama, the first post-independence leader – took over as president in April 2008.

He was the chosen successor of Festus Mogae, who stepped down at the end of his second term, after a decade at the helm, according to the BBC. Critics describe president Ian Khama as authoritarian while supporters say he is decisive and efficient. The capital of Botswana, Gaborone (until 1969 spelled Gaberones—i.e., Gaborone’s town), is  named after the tribal chief who had his capital at the site during the colonial period).

Uganda gained independence on October 9th 1962

The first elections were held that same year and Mutesa, King of Buganda was the first president and Milton Obote as prime minister. Although post-independence followed a military coup, followed by a brutal military dictatorship which ended in 1979. From 1967-71, Milton Obote seizes power in a coup and abolishes Uganda’s tribal kingdoms. In 1971 Idi Amin seized power and he ruled the country for the next eight years. His military dictatorial regime was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents. In 1972 Amin expelled thousands of Ugandan Asians. In his 1972 address to the nation, Amin shocked the world when he made this statement, “I am going to ask Britain, to take over responsibility for all the Asians in Uganda who are holding British passports because they are sabotaging the economy of the country.” He accused the Asians of encouraging corruption, currency racketeering and bribery and said there was no room in Uganda for them. Many of the Asians fathers and grandfathers had been brought by the British to build the Ugandan railways. In 1980-85 – Milton Obote returns to power but he was deposed in a military coup as guerrilla war and human rights abuses under his administration claimed the lives of at least another 100,000 civilians. The current President and former Rebel leader Yoweri Museveni took power in 1986, heralding a period of stability and improved human rights, according to the BBC. He won the 2011 presidential elections after a 2005 constitutional amendment lifted presidential term limits, and went on to win again in 2016.

Uganda has transformed itself from a country with a troubled past to an example of stability and prosperity for other countries with similar past on the continent. It does have substantial natural resources of minerals and untapped reserves of crude oil and natural gas, and on a positive note, reforms have been put in place and the economy has grown some. Significant quantities of petroleum were discovered in the Lake Albertine rift basin in 2008 and 2009. There are reserves of copper, tungsten, cobalt, columbite-tantalite, gold, phosphate, iron ore, and limestone. Gold, coffee, tea, oil, tobacco,  base metals and products, cocoa beans, fish, maize, sugar, cement counts as important exports.

Landmarks and major tourist sites

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