Mbarara Tourist Places to Visit in Mbarara, Uganda, Kampala, West Africa, Africa
Mbarara is a town situated in the Western Uganda region of Uganda, around 290 kilometres km southwest of the national capital, Kampala. It serves as the seat of Mbarara District and is located between 00°36′48″ S latitude and 30°39′30″ E longitude, near a prominent natural tourist destination, Lake Mburo National Park. The commercial town Mbarara houses the highest number of milk processing plants in the country. The renowned Mbarara University of Science & Technology is another identity of Mbarara.
As it doesn’t hold many colorful tourist attractions, Mbarara is considered as a gateway by tourists to many popular natural tourist destinations in southwestern Uganda like Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale Forest National Park. The name of Mbarara may be originated from the mispronunciation by the English colonialists used to call ‘mburara’, a typical grass type in the area.
Conenctivity to Mbarara:
Mbarara hosts an airport that is situated around 16 km away from the town centre but doesn’t receive any scheduled flights. The closest major airport to Mbarara is Entebbe International Airport, located around 260 km northeast of Mbarara. This airport is the gateway to Uganda, handling flights to/from Amsterdam, Dubai, Johannesburg, London and many other world cities.
Mbarara can be reached by bus directly from the national capital, Kampala. Taxis and boda-boda (minibuses) are the prevalent options to get around Mbarara.
Culture, Food and Shopping in Mbarara:
Mbarara is a colorful town, which headquarters Mbarara University of Science and Technology and also holds the campuses of many prominent universities, including Uganda Martyrs University.
Mbarara Central Market is the major traditional shopping site, while popular modern shopping options are Uchumi Supermarket and Nakumatt Supermarket. Agip Motel in Mbarara is well known for offering delicious inter-continental food.
Things to do in Mbarara:
- Exploring national parks
- Day tours
- Visiting central market
Places to see in Mbarara:
Lake Mburo National Park:
The Lake Mburo National Park is situated to the east of the town of Mbarara. The park is a preservation site of a large number of bird species, nearly 300 and also houses animal species like zebras, impala and buffaloes. There are also many permanent tent facilities in the park including luxury Lake Mburo Tented Camp.
Religious sites in Mbarara:
Mbarara is home to many renowned religious sites such as St. James Cathedral, Daystar Cathedral PCU, HolySpirit Fire Church and Mbarara All Saints Church. All are well maintained, striking and allowed for visitors with a prior permission.
Mbarara Central Market:
The Mbarara Central Market is a great place to feel the perfect Ugandan traditional shopping experience. Products like travel bags, local food, handicraft items and clothes are colorful and affordable. Tourists are advised to keep some local currency as shops in the market don’t accept credit or debit cards.
Queen Elizabeth National Park:
Being the most visited national park in Uganda, the Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the highlights of Uganda. Named after Queen Elizabeth II, located around 120 km from Mbarara, the park is known for many of its specialties like dozens of animal species, including hippopotami and elephants and game drives and scenic drives. It is worth a trip.
List of other places of interest in and around Mbarara include:
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Lake Bunyonyi
- Ihimba Hot Springs
- Kabale University
- Kibale National Park
- Rwenzori Moutains National Park
- Lake Mburo National Park
- Igongo Cultural Centre
- Kanyanchu Visitor Centre
Best time to visit Mbarara:
Generally from December to February and the months of June and July are the preferred time to tour Mbarara.
Hotels in Mbarara:
Hotels options are numerous in Mbarara but finding it during high season would be difficult. So visitors are advised to book their preferred hotels well in advance through online prior reaching the town before getting booked. Here are some standard hotels in Mbarara:
- Pelikan Hotel
- Lake View Resort Hotel
- Rwizi Arch Hotel Mbarara
- Embassy Hotel Mbarara
- Acacia Hotel Mbarara
- Igongo Country Hotel
- Lake View Regency Hotel
- Rwizi Arch Hotel
- Kihembo Suites
- Kosiya Services Apartments & Hotel
- Arcadia Cottages
- University Inn
- Skyblue Motel Lyantonde
- Agip Motel