oa East African Geographical Review - Nile transport in Uganda



The subject of this paper is the historical geography of a transport system and its role in the economic development of the Bunyoro, Teso, Lango, Acholi and West Nile Districts of Uganda. Between its origin in 1912 and its closure in 1962 this system consisted of a flotilla of steamers and lighters on the Victoria Nile and Lake Kioga, a road service operating between Masindi Port and Butiaba, and a flotilla of vessels on Lake Albert .and the Albert Nile (Figs. 1 and 2). This 'Nile System' linked northern Uganda with the railway to Mombasa; and for many years the System provided the only means whereby bulk commodities could be transported from northern Uganda to world markets at reasonable cost, and by which most of the consumer and other goods needed in the area could be effectively distributed. The withdrawal of these facilities in 1962 marked the end of a significant era in the development of transport in Uganda, and an attempt is made here to indicate the volume and nature of the traffic carried and to comment upon the contribution made by the System to the economic development of the area which it served for half a century.


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