In the southern half of Uganda, the natural vegetation has been largely replaced by cultivated plots, in which plantain is the most prominent. There are, however, scattered patches of thick forest or of elephant grass and mvuli trees, providing excellent timber.
The cooler western highlands contain a higher proportion of long grass and forest. In the extreme southwest, however, cultivation is intensive even on the high mountain slopes. In the drier northern region, short grasses appear, and there are areas of open woodland; thorn trees and borassus palms also grow.
Elephant, hippopotamus, buffalo, cob, topi, and a number of varieties of monkeys are all plentiful, while lion, giraffe, and rhinoceros also are to be seen. At least 6 mammal species are found only in Uganda.
The birds of Uganda include the crowned crane (the national emblem), bulbul, weaver, crow, shrike, heron, egret, ibis, guinea fowl, mouse bird, lourie, hornbill, pigeon, dove, bee-eater, hoopoe, darter, lily-trotter, marabou stork, kingfisher, fish eagle, and kite.
There are relatively few varieties of fish, but the lakes and rivers contain plentiful stocks of tilapia, Nile perch, catfish, lungfish, elephant snout fish, and other species. Crocodiles, too, are found in many areas and are particularly evident along the Nile between the Kabalega (Murchison) Falls and Lake Albert. There is a wide variety of snakes, but the more dangerous varieties are rarely observed.