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For magnificence. For variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life-plant, bird, insect, reptile, beast-for vast scale…..Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa.' Landlocked Uganda, astride the equator in East Africa, is 236,580 square kilometres (91,344 square miles) of beautiful, serene, green plateau situated between the eastern and western branches of the Great Rift Valley. It is truly a country blessed. More than 2,000 millimetres (80 inches) of rain falls on its ever-fertile lands each year, and this on a continent often struggling against drought and famine. Lakes, rivers and streams - including Lake Victoria, the world's second-largest fresh water lake, and the legendary Nile River - cover 25 percent of its surface. Its lush rainforests, savannah and semi-desert areas are home to a splendid array of wildlife, birdlife and flora. The biggest blessing of all, perhaps, is that it is populated with friendly, hardy folk who have somehow withstood a brutal, humiliating and devastating civil war for almost two decades and have come out on top.

As Uganda continues to enjoy peace and security, it is fast regaining its past glory as a tourist haven - although, thankfully, the tourists do not yet come in the droves that so often spoil the wildlife spectacle in other parts of Eats Africa. Thousands of Asians and foreigners who were expelled from the country in the early 1970's have been allowed to return and repossess their properties, estates, factories and shops. New foreign investors from all over the world have descended on Uganda to benefit from the new opportunities available; Ugandans, too, are reaping the benefits.

As a result, you'll find the facilities of modern living available almost everywhere in the urban areas: telecommunications, health services, and frequent road, rail and air links. And - again, unlike many other African countries - the services generally work, although telecommunications outside Kampala are none too proven yet. Uganda now boasts one of the widest ranges of accommodation found anywhere on the continent - from posh, luxurious international hotels like Kampala Sheraton to self-service cottages and camp sites. The country offers comfort for every kind of visitor, be they a budget-conscious backpacker or a "no-expenses-spared" executive. While Uganda undergoes its socio-ecomomic and political transformation, the government jealously guards the country's natural heritage. The laws regarding the preservation of forests, rivers and lakes, wild animals and sites of historical importance are strictly enforced so that both visitors and citizens can enjoy them - now and in the future.

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