About Mbarara


About Mbarara


Mbarara, with its population of just under 91,867, is both the largest conurbation in south-west Uganda and the administrative and commercial centre of the district named after it which came into being in 2005. In May 2019, Uganda's cabinet granted Mbarara a city status, which started on 1 July 2020. 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 some of the larger local supermarkets if you are heading south as Mbarara has the last decent supermarkets in Uganda before you reach Rwanda! Did we mention that Mbarara is very hot and busy? No? Okay, Mbabara is VERY hot and busy so keep an eye out for the boda motorcyclists who are everyone. Including the pavements.


If you know of other tourist attractions in Mbarara get in touch and let us know using our contact form to add to our Mbarara guide.




Mbarara Tourist Attractions

Mbarara Tourist Attractions


An online guide to the main tourist attraction in and around the small but still busy city of Mbarara in Western Uganda on the Kampala to Kabale Road.

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Things to do in Mbarara

Things to do in Mbarara


A guide to some of the best things to do in and around Mbarara from exploring local lakes to swimming and cultural museums.

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Accommodation in Mbarara

Accommodation in Mbarara


A guide to the best accommodation in and around the small city of Mbarara in Western Uganda from hotels, lodgings to guest houses.

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Places to Eat in Mbarara

Places to Eat in Mbarara


A guide to some of the best places to eat when travelling through or staying in the city of Mbarara from restaurants to cafes.

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Mbarara History

Mbarara History


An overview of the history of Mbarara from the Bachwezi/Kitara Empire to the Nkore/Ankole Kingdom and present day.

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Mbarara Map

Mbarara Map


A Google satellite map of Mbarara showing the city and it's tourist attractions. Zoom in to explore places of interest!

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Main Guide Categories:


Tourist Attractions

As yet largely uncommercialised,
Western Uganda has many tourist
attractions for the explorer to visit.

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Best Things to Do

As well as the main tourist attractions
there are many other activities
to enjoy in Western Uganda.

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Main Local Towns

A guide to the main towns in and
around Western Uganda, where to stay,
eat and things to see and do.

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Accommodation Guide

A comprehensive guide to the best
places to stay when visiting Western
Uganda from hotels to camp sites.

More >