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1,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mbarara is a city in southwestern Uganda.It is the main municipality of Mbarara District and the location of the district headquarters. It is also the largest urban centre in Western Uganda.


Mbarara is located about 266 kilometres (165 mi) southwest of Kampala. Mbarara is an important transport hub, lying west of Masaka on the road to Kabale, near Lake Mburo National Park.


The name 'Mbarara' has its roots in the English Colonialist's mispronunciation of the word 'Mburara'a certain type of grass; a favorite for the cows. Mbarara was formerly the capital for the southern region.

Mbarara has a number of streets which include Mbarara High Street (named after one of the city's most prominent secondary schools, Mbaguta Street (named after a former prime minister of Ankole), Bishop Willis Street (named after Bishop Willis, one of the first whites to visit Ankole and Mbarara), Garage Street, Markhan Singh Street, Bulemba Road and Bucuku Street.

Human activity

In Uganda, Mbarara is the city having the highest number of milk processing plants. Majority of milk processed is transported to Kampala and other major cities in Uganda.

Mbarara is the home of Mbarara University of Science & Technology (MUST), founded in 1989. There were many educational institutions well before then, including Bishop Stewart Teacher Training College (Makerere University, Kikara Campus), Maryhill High School for Girls, and for boys Mbarara High School (MHS) and Ntare School. Built during the colonial days these were state boarding schools whose pupils went on to make major contributions to Uganda today, including President Museveni (Ntare), Mzee Boniface Byanyima, a prominent politician (MHS), The Hon. Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs (MHS), Ms. Winnie Byanyima a former member of parliament for Mbarara and now Director UNDP in New York, and the academic Dr. Sam Nahamya (MHS).

Mbarara is also the hub of spirituality, Christianity, and missionary works in the western region of the country having hosted the great men of God in the district like Pastor Robert Kayanja senior pastor of the Lubaga Miracle Center under the umbrella of the Mbarara Pastoral Committee. The International church in which the man of God attended a service was Mbarara Pentecostal Church under the pastoralship of Apostle Allan Bukuru. This is not the first time Mbarara has appeared in the limelight of spirituality. The city is also the proud origin of a missionary, one Bishop Kivenjere who consolidated Christianity into one diocese the West Ankole Diocese, which covered the whole of western and southwestern Uganda to northern Tanzania, eastern Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.


In 1991, the population of Mbarara was estimated at about 40,000.[1] In 2008, the population of the city was estimated at about 97,500.[2] It is estimated that in 2009, the population of the town is approximately 102,926. See tables below:
Mbarara City Population Trends in the 1990's
Year ↓ Estimated Population ↓ Growth Rate ↓
1991 40,000 5.1%
1992 42,040 5.1%
1993 44,184 5.1%
1994 46,437 5.1%
1995 48,806 5.1%
1996 51,295 5.1%
1997 53,911 5.1%
1998 56,661 5.1%
1999 59,551 5.1%
2000 62,588 5.1%
Mbarara City Population Trends in the 2000's
Year ↓ Estimated Population ↓ Growth Rate ↓

2001 65,780 5.1%
2002 69,135 5.1%
2003 72,661 5.1%
2004 76,367 5.1%
2005 80,262 5.1%
2006 88,657 5.1%
2007 93,179 5.1%
2008 97,931 5.1%
2009 102,926 5.1%
2010 108,175 5.1%
2011 113,692 5.1%
2012 119,490 5.1%



1. ^ Estimated Population of Mbarara in 1991
2. ^ Estimated Population of Mbarara in 2008

1,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
ITS a cool city

Kampala - Mbarara 282 Kms 3 hours
Mbarara - Masaka 145 kms 1 1/2 hours
Mbarara - Kabale 144 kms 2 1/2 hours
Mbarara - Lake Mburo National Park 45 kms
Mbarara - Kasese 153 kms 2 1/2 hours

Mbarara is a large University town located in the west of Uganda and is usually traversed by the majority of visitors to the country in the mere blink of the eye. Few visitors seam to stop in this the Kingdom of the Ankole people other than for fuel for the vehicle or if travelling by bus to change buses when heading from Kabale to Fort Portal or vise versa. On arrival from the east (Kampala) visitors are confronted by a statue in the traffic circle of a long horned Ankole cow before entering the high street. Mbarara is an important cross roads where the road splits some 2 kms west of the town centre to take you in the direction of either Kabale (south west) or Kasese (north west).

Street scene - Mbarara
Street scene - Mbarara

Getting there and away:
An armada of buses and minibus taxis transit Mbarara daily heading to and from Kampala and locations in the west of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Fares increase over holiday periods. The Uganda Post Bus also runs through the town en-route to both Kasese and Kabale. Bus services from Kampala are operated by raft of bus companies leaving Kampala from the main bus park between the Old and New Taxi Parks.
Honest Bus Services 4 buses a day departures at 8am, 11am Ushs8,000-/10,000-
Endigyito Bus - 4 buses a day departures at 9am,11am,2pm,4pm Ushs8,000–/10,000-
Horizon Coaches - 20 buses a day departures every two hours Ushs8,000–/10,000-
Swift Safaris - 9 buses a day departures at least every two hours Ushs8,000–/15,000-
GASO Bus - from Kampala on Tuesday,Thursday,Saturday at 2:00 am continuing to Burundi
This same fleet of buses transits Mbarara en-route to Kampala. Mbarara - Kampala fares are the same.

Approach to Mbarara Town

There is no shortage of hotels in town and on the approach to the town.
In Town:

Agip Motel: Tel 0485 421615, email [email protected]. Strategically located on the appraoch to Mbarara town when coming from Kampala. A very popular hotel for travellers proceeding to the National Parks of Western Uganda. The hotel is also frequented by visitors to the nearby Lake Mburo National Park. Excellent buffet lunch. Secure parking and small garden. All rooms are self-contained. The hotel has a small campsite.

Single Ushs77,000-, Double Ushs97,000-, Executive suite Ushs160,000-, Extra bed in room Ushs35,000-.
Rates include breakfast and local government taxes.

Hotel Classic: Tel 0485 421131, 0772 497758, 0782 339981, email [email protected]. 26 room popular hotel centrally located at 57 High street.

Budget rooms: Ushs20,000-, Single Ushs50,000-, Double Ushs60,000-, Twin Ushs60,000-, Suite deluxe Ushs70,000-.
Rates include bed and breakfast except budget room.

Pelikan Hotel: Tel: 0382 211656, email: [email protected]. Bananuka Drive. 63 rooms all self-contained.

Single Ushs15,000- to Ushs20,000-, Double Ushs30,000- to Ushs40,000-, Suite Ushs60,000-.
Rates include bed and breakfast

Oxford Inn: Tel. 0382 271737, 0772 546538, email: [email protected]. Plot 12/Bananuka drive next to Pelikan hotel (behind the post office). 25 rooms all self-contained.

Single Ushs40,000-, Double Ushs50,000-, Deluxe standard Ushs60,000-, Deluxe executive Ushs70,000-Suites Ushs90,000-. Rates include bed and breakfast.

Fort Coleb Rest House: Tel. 0485 420892. 1 km from the town centre on Kamugungunu Hill Drive close to Ntare School. Accommodation Ushs40,000- per room. Secure campsite available.

Riheka Guest House: Tel: 0485 421314, 0772 970350. Muti drive. 16 rooms all self contained.

Single Ushs25,000-, Double Ushs35,000-, Twins Ushs35,000-, Suites Ushs70,000-. Rates include bed and breakfast.

University Inn: Tel. 0485 420334, 0772 485148. Plot 9, Kabale road. 13 rooms.

Single Ushs30,000-, Double Ushs40,000-, Twins Ushs40,000-, Suite Ushs60,000-.
Rates include bed and breakfast.

Hotel Canan: Tel. 0772 659841. 38 rooms.

Single Ushs20,000- self-contained, Single Ushs15,000- non self-contained,
Double Ushs30,000- self-contained, Double Ushs15,000- non self-contained,
Twins Ushs30,000- self-contained, Twins Ushs20,000- non self-contained.
Rates include bed and breakfast.

Akaanya Hotel: Tel. 0772 874643. Plot 25 Masaka road opposite URA offices. 35 rooms.

Single self-contained Ushs20,000-/25,000-, Single non self-contained Ushs10,000-,
Double self-contained Ushs20,000/25,000,
Twins self-contained Ushs25,000-, Twins non self-contained Ushs15,000-.
Accommodation on a bed only basis.

Bena Guest House: Tel. 0772 610131. Masaka road. 15 rooms all self-contained.

Single Ushs20,000-, Twins Ushs30,000-. Rates include bed and breakfast.

Ruhinda Exotic Hotel: Tel: 0485 422559, 0782 760121. Kakoba road opposite Mbarara Secondary School. 32 rooms.

Double Ushs20,000- self-contained, Double Ushs15,000- non self-contained.
Rates include bed and breakfast.

Full Stop Guest House: Tel. 0772 681435. Ntale road. 16 rooms.

Self-contained Ushs15,000-, Non self-contained Ushs13,000-.

Hotel Parth: Tel: 0485 421210. Plot 7 Johnson street opposite Boma grounds. 13 rooms all self-contained.

Single Ushs15,000-, Double Ushs22,000-, Twins Ushs30,000-. Rates include bed and breakfast

River Side Park: Tel. 0485 421367, 0782 230886. Mbarara - Kasese road. 15 rooms.

Single Ushs10,000- non self-contained, Double Ushs15,000- self-contained,
Twins Ushs12,000 non self-contained. Accommodation on a bed only basis

Moyoba Inn: Tel. 0382 271606, 0382 271507. Masaka road. 23 rooms.

Single Ushs12,000-/15,000- self-contained, Single Ushs8,000-/10,000- non self-contained
Double Ushs15,000-. Accommodation on a bed only basis.

Grand Hoilday Hotel: Tel. 0772 425756, 0772 654192. Ndahendekire Road. 16 rooms.

Single Ushs10,000- non self-contained, Double Ushs35,000- self-contained, Double Ushs25,000- non self-contained. Rates include bed and breakfast and prices are negotiable.

New Travelers Hotel: Tel. 077 4436219, 0774 982736. Rwebikona/ Kasese Road. 15 rooms all self-contained.

Single Ushs10,000- and Ushs15,000-, Double Ushs20,000-. Accommodation on a bed only basis.

4N Hotel: Tel: 0485 421893. Mbaguta street. 16 rooms

Single Ushs10,000-, Single non self-conatined Ushs10,000-, Double Ushs15,000-, Twins Ushs15,000-.
Rates include bed and breakfast.

Nyamitanga Hotel and Lodging: Fort Portal - Kasese road. 9 rooms non self-contained.

Single Ushs8,000-, Double Ushs10,000-. Accommodation on a bed only basis.

Silver Inn: Tel. 0772 633533. Makhagnisng street. 10 rooms all non self-contained.

Single/double Ushs7,000. Accommodationon a bed only basis.

Entry View Guest House: Tel. 0782 587087, 0752 614390. Located opposite the round about with the statue of the Ankole cow. 12 rooms all non self-contained

Single Ushs6,000-, Double Ushs10,000-
Accommodation on a bed only basis.

Paragon Hotel and Lodging: Tel. 0752 463680. Rwebukonge road. All rooms non self-contained.

Single Ushs6,000-, Double Ushs8,000-. Accommodation on a bed only basis.

Outside Mbarara:
Rwizi Arch Hotel: Tel 0485 421173, 0752 648980, email: [email protected]. Located on the junction to QE2 National Park and the Kampala - Kabale road some 1 km from Mbarara town centre. This is a modern 32 room hotel with all the expected facilities.

Single Ushs64,000-, Double Ushs75,000-, Twins Ushs70,000-
Rates include bed and breakfast

River Side Park: Tel. 0485 421367, 0782 230886. Mbarara - Kasese road. 15 rooms.

Single Ushs10,000- non self-contained, Double Ushs15,000- self-contained
Twins Ushs12,000 non self-contained. Accommodation on a bed only basis.

The Lake View Hotel: Tel 0772 501518, 0772 701912, 0772 701913, email [email protected]. Frequented often by tour operators for their clients lunches and the preferred location for night stops when visiting Lake Mburo National Park some 45 kms to the east. This large modern multi storied hotel set in it's own gardens and as the name suggests overlooks it's own small lake. The hotel is located on the junction to Kasese 2 kms from the town centre.
Room rates include breakfast

Single Ushs55,000-, Double Ushs70,000-, Extra bed Ushs20,000-.

Katatumba Resort Hotel: Tel 0772 603723. Located 7 kms west of town on the road to Kabale. Camping is possible here in the grounds. Comfortable facilities include Self-contained rooms, satellite tv.

Room rates Ushs30,000- to Ushs60,000-.

KARO's Country Club: Tel. 0772 502978, 0782 434269. Ruharo - Mbarara road. 15 rooms and 6 cottages

Cottages Ushs50,000-
Single/Double Ushs30,000, Twins Ushs30,000
Rates include bed and breakfast

Pan Africa Hotel: Located 40 kms west of Mbarara en-route to Kabale. This is a very useful lunch stop for those travelling to Kabale.

Uganda Lodge: Tel. +256 (0)752 536197, (0)752 507555, email [email protected]. Set amongst the rolling hills of SW Uganda, about 40kms past Mbarara and very close the main road, Uganda Lodge is ideally suited for travellers looking to rest awhile, on their way to Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo or on safari to see the Mountain Gorillas. Volunteering opportunites within the local community are available for those seeking such placements.

Uganda Lodge has several single and twin rooms, some with private shower or washing facilities. There are also four separate African style Bandas, again with private washing facilities. Set amongst the grounds of Uganda Lodge, away from the main buildings, there is a barbeque area and a small camping site for those bringing their own tents. There is a small restaurant and bar where you may enjoy a wholesome meal and genuine local hospitality.

Single room Ushs15,000-
Twin room Ushs25,000-
Camping Ushs5,000- per person
Rates do not include brealfast which is available for Ushs5,000-

The venue are working in close co-operation with The Ruhanga Community Development Network who are very much in need of guidance and training from outside volunteers, both short and longer term. More details at

Pelican Beach Campsite: 75 kms west of Mbarara en-route Kabale. The camping site is sign posted on the right side of the main road in a rural area.

Hawker at bus station
Hawker at bus station

Internet cafe: Indeed Mbarara is on the Internet super highway. The Source cafe of Jinja fame has a satellite venue on the high street above the Ankole cow statue. Mon Pearl Internet café is located on the High street in the post office building, Byamaka Investments – Kakoba road (Internet café and secretarial Bureau) and Jm Computer Services is also on the High street. All charge Ushs50- per minute.

Entertainment and Night Clubs:
Vision Empire is located on Banaunka Drive. The venue is a Discotheque/Health club with a sauna, steambath, and massage. Wednesday is ladies night. Friday, Saturday, Sunday open from 7pm till dawn
Entrance fees Upstairs lounge – Ushs7,000/9,000-, Down stairs lounge - Ushs3,000/5,000-.

Another Life is located on Bananuka Drive next door to Vision Empire. Tuesday is Karioke night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday disco starting at 7pm. Entrance fee Ushs3,000/5,000-.

Sliders Night Club. Saturday is Karioke night, entrance fee Ushs1,000-.

Lake View Hotel. Friday corperate night, entrance free.

Kentucky Gardens. Saturday is corperate night, entrance free

Mechanical Emergencies:
No shortage of 'mango tree mechanics' in town especially along the approach road to town from Masaka.

Medical Emergencies:
Mbarara has it's own government hospital and an array private local small clinics.:banana:

13,096 Posts
Im currently in the town and will upload some of my pics soon.

I guess the best place to start is at the Ankole cow statue (the towns landmark) at the begining of High street, Mbarara's main street.

View of High Street.

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