People and Culture of Uganda

Culture of Uganda

Uganda’s fascinating wonders go far beyond the famous mountain gorillas who dwell here. While travelers often come for the wildlife, they leave extolling the fabulous cultural experiences that are easily accessible.

On Uganda Safaris trips, the culture experience is one of our main trip focus. Delve deep into the myriad cultures of Uganda with your local guide and make friends along your route. Meet the Ankole people, Bagandas, and the pygmies of Kisoro. Learn about the semi-sovereign kingdoms remaining in Uganda. And see wildlife, too! Expect to spot large numbers of elephants, lions, cape buffalo, kob, crocodiles, hippos, other mammals, and many of the 612 species of birds that make the park home. Choose a day of gorilla tracking for a primate encounter that has been called life-changing — or choose another village visit or a float among islands in a wooden canoe.

Since achieving independence from Britain in 1962, the East African country of Uganda was ravaged by political turmoil and AIDS epidemic, but now, you may not recognize the vibrant display of change and culture in the cities and safari destinations.

People and Culture in Photos

The Culture and Customs of Uganda are fascinating, where largely rural ethnic groups are experiencing the pull of urban centres, while the changes brought about by Western influences bear on practically every aspect of people’s lives. Examples from the main ethnic groups are used to explain traditional culture and adaptations to modern life in religion, gender roles, courtship and marriage, work, education, family life, ceremonies, the arts, media, and more.

Kings and Kingdoms

Uganda’s scenic beauty is legendary. In spite of rising population density and 28 percent of its land being arable, large areas of Uganda are potentially productive and under-utilized. One of Uganda’s unique national qualities is its six main subnational traditional kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro-Kitara, Busoga, Toro, Ankole, and Acholi that date to the precolonial era but are largely represented by ceremonial rulers of the former kingdoms. The most prominent one is Buganda that occupies the central areas of the country and has more historical sites to visit like Mengo Palace, Kasubi tombs, etc.


An in-depth religious breakdown of Ugandans includes Roman Catholics (41.6 percent), Anglicans/ Protestants (36.7 percent), Moslems (12.4 percent), Pentecostals (4.7 percent), Seventh-Day Adventists (1.5 percent), Orthodox Christians (0.1 percent), Other Christians (1.2 percent), Traditionalists (0.4 percent), Baha’i practitioners (0.1 percent) and people of other faiths (1.3 percent) (Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2006: 27–28)

The traditional view of humankind as part of the natural world and a belief system stressing importance and respect for the rest of the natural world is of value for evolving sustainable relations with the natural resource base (Gadgil et al. 1993). The belief in God/s and other supernatural powers which is deeply rooted in Baganda culture plays a vital role in natural resource management. In many indigenous communities, certain forests were protected as shrines to be used for worship and other rituals.

It is true that their mystification has helped protect them but not necessarily the case that they are mystified because they are not understood. Actually, in some cases (as with forests said to be occupied by spirits), the mystification seems to be a deliberate method for protection (Shorter 1998; Otiso 2006). As earlier highlighted, the religion of the Baganda was almost part and parcel of every aspect of their life.