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Land of Milk.
Mbarara at Sundown.jpg
Mbarara is located in Uganda
Location in Uganda
Coordinates: 00°36′48″S 30°39′30″E / 0.61333°S 30.65833°E / -0.61333; 30.65833
Country Flag of Uganda.svg Uganda
Region Western Uganda
Sub-region Ankole sub-region
District Mbarara District
Population (2011 Estimate)
 • Total 83,700
Time zone +3 (East African Standard Time)

Mbarara is a town in Western Uganda. It is the main municipal, administrative and commercial center of Mbarara District and the location of the district headquarters. It is also the largest urban centre in Western Uganda.


Mbarara is located about 290 kilometres (180 mi), by road, southwest of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city.[1] Mbarara is an important transport hub, lying west of Masaka on the road to Kabale, near Lake Mburo National Park. The coordinates of Mbarara city center are:00 36 48S, 30 39 30E (Latitude:-0.6132; Longitude:30.6582).


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 is mainly divided in three divisions which are Kamukuzi, Nyamitanga and Kakoba. It is further sub-divided into six sub-divisions including Ruharo, Nyamitanga, Nyamityobora, Kamukuzi, Kakoba and Lutti.

Mbarara has a number of streets which include Mbarara High Street (named after one of the town'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, Makhan Singh Street, Bulemba Road and Bucuku Street.

Human activity[edit]

The city of Mbarara has the largest number of milk processing plants in Uganda. The 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 now known as Bishop Stuart University which is located on Kakoba Hill, southeast of downtown. Other institutions of learning in the town include Maryhill High School, an all-girl school. Mbarara High School (MHS) and Ntare School are both all-boys schools. Built during the colonial days, these three schools were state boarding schools whose graduates go on to make major contributions to today's Uganda. Alumni of these schools include President Museveni (Ntare), Mzee Boniface Byanyima (MHS), Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs (MHS), and the academic Sam Nahamya PhD (MHS). Winnie Byanyima, the current Director of Gender Issues at the UNDP headquarters in New York City is a native of Mbarara. She had her early education in area schools. She represented the town in the Ugandan Parliament from 1994 until 2004.

With significance for all Ugandan cities, Mbarara was the host to the 2004 Annual General Meeting of the Uganda Local Governments Association, on 1 October, which saw the changing of the organisation to its current structure in order to represent all Ugandan local governments. Mbarara remains an active member of this governmental association.[2]

Mbarara Bypass Road[edit]

As part of the modernization of the Mbarara-Katuna Road (2011 - 2015), a new northern bypass road is planned for the town. The bypass will start from the Coca-Cola plant on Mbarara-Masaka Road, pass through Rwebishuri, Nkokonjeru and join the Mbarara-Kabale Road at Katatumba Resort, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), southwest of the central business district. The bypass is expected to decongest the city center by taking the long-dististance trucks destined for and coming from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, off the Mbarara city streets. The 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) road is expected to cost about €170 million (US$210 million), of which the European Union is expected to lend about €122 million (US$153 million) with the government funding the balance from its own resources.[3]


In 2002, the national census estimated the population at 69,363. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), estimated the population of Mbarara at 82,000 in 2010. In 2011, UBOS estimated the mid-year population of the town at 83,700.[4]

Points of interest[edit]

The following points of interest lie within the city limits or close to its edges:

  • Vine International Gospel Ministries (MPC)
  • The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mbarara
  • Mbarara All Saints Church
  • St. James Cathedral, Ruharo - The seat of Mbarara Anglican Diocese of the Church of Uganda[5]
  • Daystar Cathedral PCU.Bishop Nassan Ibrahim Turyamureeba, Rev. Norman Vincent Mugarura, and Pastor Nicholas Dream Mugizi.
  • HolySpirit Fire Church under Pastor Willy

  • Mbarara Brewery - A subsidiary of SABMiller; to be built at a cost of US$80 million.[7][8]
  • Mbarara Coca-Cola Plant - A bottling plant owned by Century Bottling Company Limited, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola International
  • Mbarara Steel Plant - Owned and operated by China Machine Building International Corporation (CMIC), a Chinese Government parastal company[9]
  • Home of BM Group of Companies(BM Investments, BM Technical Services and BM Steel) - Owned by Francis Mwebesa
Social services
  • Mbarara Airport - A public airport, located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), by road northwest of town
  • Mbarara Bypass Road - A 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) bypass road, currently under construction, circling the northern half of the city
Financial services

Grace Radio 94.2fm Radio West Vision Radio Endigito Radio Maria Greater African Radio

External links[edit]


See also[edit]


Coordinates: 00°36′48″S 30°39′30″E / 0.61333°S 30.65833°E / -0.61333; 30.65833