STAND AT THE EQUATOR- More than just a picture here.
The equator crosses 13 countries in the whole world and Uganda is one of them. About 45 miles from the capital Kampala on the Masaka-Mbarara highway, at Kayabwe, the equator crosses this major road. It provides a rare opportunity to stand with one foot in the Northern and the other in the southern hemisphere. It is a surreal but fun experience to stand at the equator if you have never done it before.
When doing the western Uganda circuit to Mgahinga gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable, Lake Mburo, and Queen Elizabeth National Parks, it is a landmark that you will not miss. Most, if not all of our safaris going west or returning from the west, stop here for the experience.
The equator is an imaginary line that runs around the middle of the earth. It is located at 0o latitude and halfway to the north and the south poles dividing the earth into the southern and northern hemispheres. The equator influences the climate in areas that lie in the equatorial region and areas in the region recognize two seasons- wet and dry. The long, warm, and rainy seasons create tropical rain forests. Most of Uganda’s rain forests are concentrated around the region crossed by the equator.
When standing at the equator, one becomes lighter. This is because the earth’s gravitational pull at the equator is weaker because of the equatorial bulge. It is said that one becomes light by about 3%.
Demos at the Equator
Being here is not about standing at the two circular monuments. There are demonstrations on the Coriolis Effect. This is a scientific consequence whereby something in motion veers to the right or left when it is rotating. Here, the experimenters prove the consequence using water in a funnel moving in different directions. The cyclonic weather systems force the water to flow/sink clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere.
Restaurants and souvenir shops.
The equator stop point has attracted roadside development at Kayabwe. These include restaurants and souvenir shops. The long journey of Kabale/Bwindi to Kampala is usually broken here for lunch, coffee, and souvenirs. There are various products from art facts, crafts, like T-shirts, African wear, from the shops around. You can take home a bit of Uganda.
You can also find the equator monument marks in Queen Elizabeth National Park and near Entebbe, but the choice above is on the road towards the western countryside. Don’t miss the landmark on your way to the region.