Facts & Figures

Kanungu is the administrative town of Kanungu district. The District is located in South-western Uganda between 290 50’E and 0045’S of the Equator, bordering the Districts of Rukungiri in the North and east, Kabale in southeast, Kisoro in the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. Its administrative headquarters are in Kanungu Town, about 450 km from Kampala the Capital City of Uganda 


Size and population

Kanungu district has a population of 293,537 of which females are 150,590(51.3%) and males 142,947 (48.7%) with the urban population of 51,694 (17.6%).

Total population by age group and sex, Kanungu District

Age groupMaleFemaleTotal
 0-4           22,117                  20,853           42,970
 5-9           21,981                  20,569           42,550
 10-14           20,310                  19,549           39,860
 15-19           18,245                  18,011           36,257
 20-24           14,804                  15,350           30,154
 25-29             9,819                  11,612           21,431
 30-34             7,539                    9,487           17,027
 35-39             6,282                    7,977           14,258
 40-44             5,195                    6,533           11,728
 45-49             4,372                    5,066             9,439
 50-54             3,533                    4,122             7,655
 55-59             2,662                    3,455             6,117
 60-64             2,053                    2,723             4,776
 65-69             1,523                    1,915             3,437
 70-74             1,080                    1,354             2,434
 75-79                 690                        891             1,581
 80+                 741                    1,122             1,863
Total         142,947               150,590         293,537
Table showing population of Kanungu District desegregated by age and gender

Total population by desegregated by sex, sex ratio, population density and subcounty sub-county

LLGHHsMaleFemaleTotalAv. HH sizeSex RatioArea (Km2)Population Density
Butogota T/C2,6755,9086,10112,0094.49434,003
Kambuga T/C4,0173,3203,4616,7814.19341,695
Kanungu T/C4,6178,5179,01017,5274.49245.4386
Kihihi T/C2,21611,20411,86023,0634.59249.1470
Source: Uganda Beareu of Statistics population projections 2020

The average household size of 4.7 there are 56,056 households in Kanungu. The district contributes 0.7 % of the total population in the whole country. Over the years, the district population has increased from 118,658 in 1980 to 160,708 in 1991 and then 204,732 in 2002 to 252,144 in 2014. Average annual population growth rate has declined from 2.1% in 2002 to 1.73% in 2014 compared to the national growth rate of 3.1%. The population is unevenly distributed with Kayonza and Kambuga sub-counties having the largest share of the population accounting for 10.9 per cent and 8.7 per cent of the total district population respectively. the population density is 206 persons per Km2 compared to 167 persons per sq. km of land in 2002 year a reflection of population has growth

Climate and landscape

The District has a tropical type of climate receiving moderate and fairly well distributed annual rainfall of about 1200m.  The district receives a bimodal type of rainfall between the months of March – May and September – December every year. The rest of the months are dry with temperatures ranging from 150c to 200c on average.

Kanungu district lies in the fringes of the western rift valley with the Northern part forms part of the Rift valley with undulating plains with the middle part (sub-counties of Rugyeyo, Kirima and parts of Kanyantorogo) comprising of flat toped hills with gentle sloping sides and broad valleys.  These hills gradually increase in height to the highlands of Rutenga with Burimbi peak of Mafuga being the highest at 82,222ft. (2,503m) above sea level with some parts of Kihihi Sub-county lying in the fringes of the western Eastern African rift valley.  Total area of the district is 1,228.28 sq. km, comprising 60percent small-scale farmland, 15 per cent high tropical forest, 11 per cent woodland, 9 per cent grassland, 2 per cent bush land, one per cent open water and 2 per cent miscellaneous mosaics. The vegetation ranges from the high tropical forests of Bwindi impenetrable national park to the grasslands of Queen National Heritage.

Rainfall patterns in Kanungu District

Rainfall (mm)78.5100.6118.8179.1108.788.9161.156.4220.0195.6120.085.81513.5
Rainfall (days)109151910910721152112161
Source: Kanungu DLG 2021

Land use and land coverage

Agriculture is the main land use in Kanungu District and a major economic activity. The land is largely fragmented due to traditional practices of inheritance and a high population density. Land is held in customary private ownership although there are few relatively high income farmers with freehold and leasehold titles. Grazing lands are communally owned and land fragmentation is a common feature.

The concept of ‘land use planning’ is still new and is only practiced to a limited extent in the townships, where specific areas are assigned for industries, commercial buildings, residential, road networks and institutional sites. Parts of the district lie in Queen Elizabeth National Park biosphere reserve and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is a world heritage site. Cultivation covers most hill tops and many wetlands have been drained, while very little of the original forest outside the parks still remains.  Land shortage coupled with intensive use for subsistence agriculture, has led to soil degradation, poor yields and ultimately poverty. Some small-scale artisan fishing takes place within inland water bodies including wetlands and rivers. The majority of fish consumed in the district, approximately 90% is obtained from Lake Edward.

Main Economic activities in the district

  • Commerce/trade                                                               7.6%
  • Agricultural                                                                          90%
  • Tourism                                                                                  0.1%
  • Industry                                                                                 1.3%
  • Service                                                                                  1.0%


Kanungu District has many small rivers and streams such as Ishasha, Munyaga, Nchwera, Kiruruma, Birara while the northern part is connected to Lake Edward. The district is also endowed with a number of wetlands both seasonal and permanent, which serve as water reservoirs and other ecological functions. However, there is a challenge of wetland drainage due to overharvesting of materials to create farm land and land shortage resulting from increase in population in some areas such as Kayonza, Rugyeyo, Kihiihi and Kambuga. However, water pollution due to mining of clay, sand and other minerals, dumping of wastes from corroded soil and contamination (from animal and human faeces on river Ishasha, Birara and Kiruruma) remains a big challenge.

Socio-economic activities

In Kanungu District, the size of the labour force is estimated at 156,513 and the unemployment rate is about 5.8% (2019). The indicator of status of employment distinguishes between three categories of the total employed, that is, wage and salaried workers, self-employed workers and contributing family workers (unpaid family workers). The major source of income in the district is subsistence crop farming which stands at 72.2% of households, justified by the fact that the district is majorly rural and therefore the source of livelihood is through farming. Of these households, 89% are engaged in crop farming, 50% in livestock keeping, 37% in poultry keeping, 1% in bee keeping and less than 1% in fish farming. The detailed classification of workers in Kanungu.

Classification of workers in Kanungu District

Occupation% Male% Female% Total
Associate professionals2.461.013.47
Service workers2.641.654.29
Agricultural workers33.6447.5381.18
Crafts workers2.590.392.98
Machine operators1.470.041.51
Elementary occupations4.791.075.87
Source: Kanungu District 5 Year Development Plan 2020-2025

Geology and soils

The most common types of soils in Kanungu District are greyish brown sandy loams and reddish brown sand especially in Kihihi and Nyamirama sub-counties.

Vegetation and size

Kanungu District has a total area of 1,228.28 sq. km, comprising of 60% small-scale farmland, 15% high tropical forest, 11% woodland, 9% grassland, 2% bush land, 1% open water and 2% miscellaneous mosaics. The vegetation ranges from the high tropical forests of Bwindi impenetrable national park to the grasslands of Queen Elizabeth National Park.