Geography & Climate of Uganda

Uganda’s geography & climate is defined by its location in the basin of the east and western wings of the Great East Africa Rift Valley. Uganda lies on the elevated basin which rises between the eastern and western branches of the Great Rift Valley. Most of the country is over 1,000 meters in altitude and topography is generally flat as you move west to east.

Topography of Uganda Map
Look at that, the great rift valley formed 35 millions years ago puts Uganda in a basin formed by the Albertine Rift in the West and the Eastern Rift in Kenya, placing lake victoria in the center with two distinct physiographic provinces of the East African mountains. No one can duplicate this natural beauty!


The most mountainous part of Uganda is the Kigezi region in the southwest. North of Kigezi, on the Congolese border, the 70×30 kilometres Rwenzori Mountains form the highest mountain range in Africa with Margherita Peak (5, 109 meters), on Mount Stanley the highest point in the Rwenzori, only exceeded in altitude by the free-standing Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Other large mountains in Uganda include the volcanic Virunga range on the border with Rwanda and DRC, and Mount Elgon, a vast extinct volcano straddling the Kenya border. There are several smaller volcanic mountains in the north and east.

With the exception of the semi-desert in the extreme northeast, most of Uganda is well watered and fertile. Almost 25% of the country’s surface area is covered by water. Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world, is shared by Uganda with Tanzania and Kenya. Lakes Albert, Edward and George lie on or close to the DRC border, while the marshy and ill-defined lake Kyoga lie in the center of Uganda.

Lake Bunyoni, Uganda Conservation Areas
Lake Bunyonyi, one of the stunning mountain lakes dotted along the Albertin rift arm, in south western Uganda

At Jinja, on Lake Victoria shore, next to the Owen Falls (now submerged by the Owen Falls Dam) is regarded as the official source of the Nile, the world’s longest river. The Nile also passes through lakes Kyoga and Albert.

Murchison Falls, Geography and Climate of Uganda
Murchison Falls, formed on the edge of the Western Rift Valley. Stunningly set in the center of the Murchison Falls National Park and a favorite attractions to most tourists on a trip to Uganda

Uganda’s Climate

Uganda’s Equatorial climate is tempered by its elevated altitude. In most parts of the country, the daily maximum is between 27° Celcius (81° Fahrenheit) and the minimum is between 16° Celcius (61° Fahrenheit). The highest temperatures in Uganda have been recorded on the plains immediately east of Lake Albert, while the lowest recorded on the glacial peaks of Rwenzori.

Except in the dry north, where in some areas the average annual rainfall is as low as 100 millimetres, most parts of Uganda receive an annual rainfall of between 1,000 – 2,000 millimetres. There is wide regional variation in rainfall patterns. It can rain almost any time of the year in the western Uganda and lake Lake Victoria region.

As a rough guide however, the wet seasons are from mid-September to November and from March to May. The rest of the year, little or no rainfall can be realized. Detailed information on the best time to plan your safari trip to Uganda.