Why is Uganda called the Pearl of Africa? Where did it come from?

Posted by on June 4, 2019

Uganda – Has always been the Pearl of Africa

Why is Uganda called the Pearl of Africa? – Winston Churchill popularized the Phrase in his 1908 Book “My African Journey.”


Why is Uganda called the Pearl of Africa? Who first named Uganda as the Pearl of Africa?  The Term – Uganda – the Pearl of Africa – was made famous by Winston Churchill in his 1908 Book entitled “My African Journey” about his trip to Uganda in 1907.

Winston Churchill became quite enthused about what he found in Uganda when he wrote “For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.”

Why is Uganda called the Pearl of Africa and who was the first one to use it?: Most in Uganda today attribute the name “Pearl of Africa” to Winston Churchill. However, almost every other Western Explorer and Discoverer spoke in glowing terms about the country that they found and also referred to it as the Pearl of Africa.

Yes, Winston Churchill may not have been the one who first called Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. He is the one who is mostly given credit.  It is Winston Churchill who popularized it through his book,  “My African Journey.”  A Book that you can buy presently on Amazon Com and Find in our Gorilla Reads Book Section.  We strongly suggest that you read the book before coming to Uganda.

Uganda affected, one could say infected the early explorers, that came years before Winston Churchill arrived.  They were amazed by its beauty, its natural wonders, its people. When modern travel became available tourists flocked here and fell in love with the Pearl of Africa.

In 1858 John Hanning Speke and Richard Burton ventured through the Buganda Kingdom and were amazed by what they found. It was John Hanning Speke that discovered Lake Victoria as the source of the Nile, were impressed by how wide and open the streets were of the capital of Buganda and were surprised by the local culture and ways of the people.

The earliest and most cr edible source were calling Uganda the Pearl of Africa was Henry Morton Stanley who in 1871 ventured throughout Uganda.  Frederick John D. Lugard (who saved Uganda for the British from the French) wrote, “Stanley was even louder in his praises of Uganda than Speke had been, and described it as the “Pearl of Africa” 1893.

Most sources name Henry Morton Stanley as the earliest and probably most credible source of “The Pearl of Africa., especially in American Writings which were before Winston Churchill’s visit to the country in 1907 and his next book published in 1908.

Why is Uganda called the Pearl of Africa and who named it that? No matter who was the first to refer to “Uganda – like the Pearl of Africa,” the reality is, that it has been known and referred to as such for over 100 plus years.

Visitors coming to Uganda in the 21st Century do not ask, “Why is Uganda called the Pearl of Africa?” As they crisscross the country on a Safari, they soon realize why Uganda is Africa’s Pearl

The words of Winston Churchill published in 1908 still ring true today in the 21st Century. For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.”

The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. The scenery is  different, the climate is different and most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa….what message I bring back….concentrate on Uganda.”

Why is Uganda called the Pearl of Africa?  Maybe a better question in the 21st Century would be “Why is Uganda recognized as the Pearl of Africa?

Because Winston Churchill popularized the Term “Pearl of Africa.”

Why did Lonely Planet in 2012 name Uganda as the Best Country to Visit?  Because no other country in Africa has what Uganda has – it is one of the most bio-diverse countries in all of Africa and ranks in the top 10 in the world for Biodiversity.

Why did National Geographic pick Uganda as one of the Best Travel Destinations in Africa?  Because it is the Pearl of Africa. National Geographic picked Uganda twice in 6 years – in 2019 it was put on National Geographic Traveller – UK “Cool List.:

The Pearl of Africa lost some of its lusters during the days of Idi Amin, the war in the Bush Years that brought President Yoweri Museveni to power and the havoc the Lord’s Resistance Army and Joseph Kony brought to the  north of the country resulting in war and a trail of tears that touched most lives there.

Since 2005 the country has been at peace, is one of Africa’s friendliest, safest, most secure, stable countries in all of Africa, the Pearl of Africa has and is regaining its luster as the one and only Pearl in all of Africa with more Tourists discovering its Natural Wonders.

As a Tour Operator, we are passionate about Our Pearl of Africa. Uganda is our Focus and we concentrate.

Take this as an invitation to Discover our Uganda, our Pearl of Africa, you will find out for yourself Why Uganda has been called the Pearl of Africa by many, including Winston Churchill and why the name has remained for over 100 years even during the time of Idi Amin who whose habit it was to change names of locations in Uganda.

Even Kanye West and Kim Kardashian chose to visit in October of 2018.


 The Pearl of Africa is a Timeless Slogan

The Pearl of Africa is a Brand, and there is no other country in Africa with that label. It is, in our opinion, a Timeless Slogan.  A Brand not created by the Ugandan Government, the Ministry of Tourism, the Uganda Tourism Board or a hired marketing agency. 

Uganda’s Track record Branding the country is dismal, the only thing that they could come up with was “Gifted by Nature,” and that was a big Dud.

In 2019 Tourism Officials have stated that  “the Pearl of Africa” is no longer relevant, is outdated and a slogan that does not evoke of what the country is, Something we disagree with, and we suggest that you read it.

You can never separate Uganda and the Pearl of Africa, they will remain one.


Why is Uganda the Pearl of Africa? Defining “The Pearl of Africa in the 21st Century

A Pearl is rare, Uganda is one of a kind, there are no others like it in all of Africa. A country that has been gifted by Nature making it one of the world’s most biodiverse nations in the world.  

Here is why we see Uganda as the Pearl of Africa:

1. Welcoming and Friendly People  “The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. The scenery is different, the climate is different and most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa….what message I bring back….concentrate on Uganda.”

Ugandans are some of Africa’s most Welcoming and friendly People. A people who their home, and even more importantly their hearts. Winston Churchill found that in 1907 and that is still the reality.  It is one thing to be among friendly people, but there often is a language barrier.  Uganda is Africa’s Best English Speaking Country Even Winston Churchill noted that in his book.

2. One of Africa’s most Biodiverse Countries

“For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.”

Biodiverse Uganda is Africa Condensed into one Small country. Another reason as to why Uganda is the Pearl of Africa.

3. Africa’s Premier Primate 7 Gorilla Destination:  The highest number of Mountain Gorillas are found in Uganda, as well  the most significant number of Chimpanzees found in all of East Africa. It also has the most considerable amount of Golden Monkeys.

Winston Churchill did not see the Mountain Gorillas. If he had he might have added a few chapters in his book.  The Pearl of Africa is the Best Country for Safe and affordable Gorilla Trekking plus Chimpanzees.

4.  Abundant Wildlife and Birds:  A thriving Elephant populations, the most significant number of the  Nubian Giraffes and more, as well as over 1000 species of Birds.

Why Visit Uganda?  It has been and is the Pearl of Africa.

Things to do and See in Uganda- the Pearl of Africa

Find out more about Winston Churchill Visit to Uganda in 1907


The Pearl of Africa in the Words of Sir Winston Churchill