* Rural landscapes of Uganda were photographed from low-flying aircraft in 1963. Extensive additional information was gathered from ground study in areas where over flight was not possible or limited or to gather additional information. Among such areas are Karamoja, West Nile and Kigezi.

The emphasis of this archive is on rural landscapes which at the time were occupied by dispersed settlements. Tilled fields, granaries, livestock, corrals and houses are represented in detail. Less commonly seen villages , towns, markets and churches are also included. Short overview statements are included for some socio political groupings; West Nile and so forth, where this appeared useful in the context of the landscapes at the time of observation.

This coverage of rural Uganda is comprehensive but not complete. Areas missed as inaccessible or for lack of permission to overfly, include the foot hills of the Ruwenzori mountains in the west; the central part of Acholi in the north: and the area from Mount Elgon north to south Karamoja in the east.

Catalog entries are arranged as in North, East, Central and West Uganda. Within these larger areas are the long standing sociopolitical entities. Acholi, Bunyoro, Kigezi, etc., These have persisted and have become with some modification the major regions of the country (post 2007). The concern is to show the landscape as it appeared around 1963. The 1963 place names are used.

Location of features shown; latitude and longitude are given when location is known to within a few miles. Where it is less certain- within ten miles to fifteen miles, the position is given with reference to a landmark: a village or a mountain. The map used is the Internal Communications sheet from page 61 the 1962 edition of the Atlas of Uganda, Dept. of Lands and Surveys. The flight tracks have been plotted on this sheet. Users in need of additional detail will find it in the East Africa 1:250,000 scale Series Y503 Edition 1 USD 1962 and later editions. These sheets were carried in the aircraft and used for flight course plotting. In a few cases poor weather or low cloud obscured landmarks such as hill tops, as in the flight through Ankole; low clouds show in the images.

Excepting Kigezi with no overflight and Karamoja where flight was limited, entries are shown in sequence as they were photographed along a flight line. An impression of changing landscapes is given by tracing sequences of photographs along the flight tracks.

In 1963 rural Uganda was occupied by diverse culture groups. Their distribution at the time is shown on the map by Goldthorpe J.E. and F.B.Wilson. 1960. Tribal maps of East Africa and Zanzibar. Kampala, Uganda: East African Institute of Social Research. This was useful in sorting out the often complicated group distributions in West Nile and in Karamoja.


West Nile, East Madi( more commonly grouped with West Nile), Acholi, Lango, Karamoja



Busoga, Bukedi, (Bagishu and Sebei not treated), Teso


Buganda, Sese islands, Mubende



Kigezi, Ankole , Toro, Bunyoro


* Note: The author of this project was Walter W. Deshler (deceased 2016), Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland. Stephen D. Prince is the web site sponsor but was not involved in the work.

© 2010 Walter W. Deshler Uganda1963.org

Principal Investigator
Project Sponsor
University of Maryland