Friday, January 7, 2011

Yes, even here on the equator it rains

I am soon to receive a very important visitor here in Uganda. Our recent conversations regarding her pending arrival (and what clothes to bring) have made me realise that it’s probably time for a little bit of preconception-busting, I won’t say myth-busting as weather isn’t entirely mythical is it?

Firstly, despite the fact that Uganda is a sub-Saharan country and straddles the equator, it rains here… a lot. In the northern and central regions admittedly it rains less and is several degrees warmer on average than down here in the south, but still, regardless of where you are going in Uganda a rain coat is advisable.

The plus side to all this rain is that Uganda is incredibly green and not the arid landscape that many people envisage. Rainforests alive with monkey chatter, open meadows, terraced hillsides, beaches, even snow capped mountains, perhaps not what you imagine when you think of a land locked country in sub Saharan Africa and yet Uganda has them all.

Secondly, it gets cold here sometimes. Kabale is pretty infamous amongst Ugandans for being chilly. Those living in Kampala look taken aback when I say I live near Lake Bunyonyi. “It’s so cold there, I surely can’t survive” and other such statements are common. This makes it sound like the Arctic which I can assure you it is not. Firstly there are considerably less polar bears, Eskimos and igloos and you’re more likely to find people pothole fishing that ice fishing. 
Yes, the mornings are foggy, one of the occupational hazards of living roughly 2000m above sea level. But in truth it’s still a lot hotter than my native Britain and whilst it does rain frequently the storms are generally short lived and there’s also a lot of equatorial sun to be had.

So, packing advice for my important visitor or any one else to Uganda? Bring layers. This way you are well equipped for warmer days as well as colder days and nights. A waterproof coat is pretty much essential as are (and I feel like an old school matron saying this) some sensible shoes, after all dusty road + rain = quagmire, and flip flops, heels, suede are not going to fare well. Oh, and although non-weather related, a wind up torch is a jolly good idea after all it's taken me 4 days to post this blog due to power black outs!


  1. Last summer we got caught in a huge rainstorm. I've only seen it rain like that a few other times, and there were some people on our team from California that had never seen in rain like that. It was so pretty. Luckily we were inside so it didn't drench us.

    Thanks for the suggestions though. And I know what you're sayin' bout the shoes. There were a few people that brought flip flops. It did not go well.

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  3. @Hannah Elizabeth, I think a lot of people do imagine bright sunshine all the time in equatorial Africa... from all the times I've been caught in storms in inappropriate clothing i.e cotton vest top and flip flops I can confirm that this is simply not the case. Perhaps I should learn my lesson too!

    @Alvaro, thanks for your comment, please keep reading (and hopefully enjoying)