Mbarara, with its population of just under 85,000, is both the largest town in south-west Uganda and the administrative and commercial centre of the district named after it which came into being in 2005. On 7th August 2015 it was granted city status, a decision awaiting ratification following 2016 elections. Built on an elevated basin that forms part of the African Rift Valley and nestled amongst hills and shallow valleys, Mbabara was almost destroyed in the internal Ugandan conflicts of 1972, 1979 and again in 1985 before emerging into the vibrant and bustling town it is today complete with good shopping, restaurants, hotels, night clubs and bars. Often seen as a gateway to the Great Lakes Region, some 180 miles south-west of Kampala, modern Mbarara has a cosmopolitan flavour with a population of both locals as well as Rwandans, Indians, Asians, Chinese and Somalis.
Mbarara has a number of tourist attractions (see below) as well as nationally respected institutions of learning such as Ntare School where a number of African presidents were educated, Mbarara High School, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Bishop Stuart University. Mbarara is good for a short stay particularly if you have been travelling and want some decent food and accommodation but you will probably run out of things to do after three or so days once you have recharged your batteries and you will be ready to move on as you further explore Western Uganda. Oh, and make sure you stock up at the Nakumatt supermarket if you are heading south as its the last decent supermarket in Uganda before you reach Rwanda!
If you know of other tourist attractions in Mbarara get in touch and let us know using our contact form.
A list of the main tourist attractions in and around Mbarara in south-western Uganda worth seeing.
A list of things to do in the town of Mbarara from exploring local lakes to swimming and cultural museums.
A list of the best accommodation in Mbarara from hotels, lodgings to guest houses. A great place to stay.
A list of some of the best places to eat when travelling through or staying in Mbarara from cafes to restaurants.
As yet largely uncommercialised, Western Uganda has many tourist attractions for the explorer to visit.
As well as the main tourist attractions there are many other activities to enjoy in Western Uganda.
A guide to the main towns in Western Uganda, where to stay, eat and things to see and do.