Crossing the equator, Uganda is a country with an infinite variety of natural landscapes characterized by the presence of numerous lakes and rivers, including the White Nile. Its territory passes from the savannah of East Africa to the jungles of West Africa and is sprinkled with volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, waterfalls and forests populated by many animals, first of all mountain gorillas. Its simple and hospitable population is also a mosaic of cultures, where music, crafts and cuisine are expressed in 30 different indigenous languages. Defined by Winston Churchill as "the pearl of Africa", Uganda boasts a large biodiversity on a limited area, compared with the extension of other African countries. It is home to rare species of flora and fauna in 30 protected areas, of which 10 are important national parks. Uganda's environmental protection programs date back to 1952, when the first national parks were established helping to turn the country into a coveted tourist destination. Protected areas are still an important economic resource for Uganda and contribute strongly to the sustainable development of their communities.