soon to be outdoor swimming
pool as well as a planned University.
Ntungamo is both a town in south-west Uganda and the headquarters of Ntungamo District that was formed in 1993 as part of a decentralization policy adopted in 1992 that sought to establish a system of governance in Uganda underpinned by strong local governments. Today Ntungamo district covers an area of some 843 square miles and with an estimated population of just under half a million with the town itself being home to some 20,000 people.
Ntungamo district is comprised of the 15 subcounties of Bwongyera, Ihunga, Itojo, Kayonza, Kibatsi, Ngoma, Ntungamo, Ntungamo Municipality, Nyabihoko, Nyakyera, Rubaare, Rugarama, Ruhaama, Rukoni and Rweikiniro and 97 parishes. The town of Ntungamo itself has six of these parishes namely Central, Kahunga Ward, Kikoni, Kyamate Ward, Muko and Park with
the Ntungamo subcounty (as opposed to Ntungamo municipality subcounty) comprises the six parishes of Butare, Kahunga, Kikoni, Nyaburiza, Nyarubare and Ruhoko. Ntungamo can be found some 41 miles south-west of Mbarara on the main road to Kabale and is bordered by Mbarara District to its north-east, Isingiro District to its east, Sheema Distict to its north, Mitooma District to its north-west, Rukungiri District to its west and Kabale District to its south-west with the republics of Rwanda and Tanzania to its south.
Ntungamo has a agricultural based economy with most
of its inhabitants being subsistence farmers growing mainly bananas, beans,
maize, groundnuts, millet and sorghum although some specialise in coffee
growing, livestock ~ primarily cattle (with local Ankole cattle being
characterised by their long horns), goats and sheep ~ and matooke production
together with coffee bean sales made to local traders who ship the beans to
south America where they are processed then taken to Europe for commercial
packing and distribution, then many end up back in Ntungamo for sale in local
Others are engaged in trading, small manufacturing and in public and private
sector employment servicing the local administration. Trades people in Ntungamo
district are also engaged in fishing mainly performed on Lake Nyabihoko although
mud fish capture is common in more localised swampy areas, production of local
Waragi ~ peeled ripe banana juice mixed with roasted and ground sorghum to
perform a brew within a week; iron smelting by traditional local blacksmiths known
as the "Abaheesi", some hunting and pottery making along with basket, drum and
jewellery making, and of course, traditional brick making by placing wet,
clayish soil into an Akatiba (wooden box) to make bricks, which, when dried, are
burnt in fire stacks to harden them ready for the construction of homes and
Ntungamo is a bustling, pulsating town with scores of shops, boda boda
motorcyclists weaving in and out of the shoppers and traders touting for
business, music blasting from every corner and its fair share of arguments,
raised voices, laughter, power cuts, litter and often under repaired housing in
the town centre itself whilst, as you travel outwards from its three main
streets, there are leafy, grassy areas amongst the rolling hills. Set at the
intersection of the route from Kampala to Rwanda with the road to Queen
Elizabeth National Park, Ntungamo a natural stopping off point and trading community.