Land of Milk.
Motto(s): Ebirungi Biruga Omutuutu (Good things come from sweat)
Location in Uganda
Coordinates: 00°36′48″S 30°39′30″E / 0.61333°S 30.65833°E / -0.61333; 30.65833
Country Uganda
Region Western Region
Sub-region Ankole sub-region
District Mbarara District
Founded 1901
Township 1957
Municipality 1974
  Mayor Kakyebezi Robert[1]
Population (2014 Census)
  Total 195,013[2]
Time zone +3 (East African Standard Time)

Mbarara is a town in the Western Region of Uganda. It is the main municipal, administrative, and commercial centre of Mbarara District and the site of the district headquarters.


Mbarara is about 290 kilometres (180 mi), by road, southwest of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city.[3] Mbarara is an important transport hub, lying west of Masaka on the road to Kabale, near Lake Mburo National Park. The coordinates of the Mbarara central business district are 00 36 48S, 30 39 30E (Latitude:-0.6132; Longitude:30.6582).[4]


In 2002, the national census estimated the population of the town at 69,400. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimated the population at 82,000 in 2010. In 2011, UBOS estimated the mid-year population at 83,700.[5] In August 2014, the national population census put the population at 195,013.[2]


MBARARA GENESIS Early Travellers in Ankole and the Founding of Mbarara by an African, Asian and European Initiative. by David Weekes, (2014) ISBN 9780956550149 describes its founding in 1899 on an old royal site which had been abandoned.

Growth and expansion

Mbarara came from behind and developed to surpass Entebbe, Masaka, Gulu, and Jinja as the second-largest town in Uganda after Kampala and also second to Kampala in importance, industry, and infrastructure,[6] 3rd largest town in Uganda by population after Kampala and Kira and the fastest growing town in Uganda followed by Gulu.

Starting with 2000, modern buildings have been established including malls, arcades, plaza, and hotels. Modern hospitals have also been constructed including Mbarara Hospital, which is now a National Referral Hospital, Mbarara Community Hospital a private hospital located in Kyamugorani, Kakiika Division,[7] and Mayanja Memorial Hospital located in Nyamityobora Kakoba Division.[8]

On 7 August 2015 the Uganda cabinet approved Mbarara Municipality alongside other 5 municipalities to be [ granted a city status]. As of 14 August 2015, the town is waiting for the approval of the parliament and the President.


Mbarara is the home of Mbarara University of Science & Technology (MUST), founded in 1989.

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.[9]


The following financial institutions maintain branches in Mbarara:

Mbarara Bypass Road

As part of the modernisation 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 at Makenke, pass through Rwebishuri and 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 centre by taking the long-distance trucks destined for and coming from Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo off of Mbarara's 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.[10]

Points of interest

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



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.

See also


  1. Kakyebezezi elected mayor Mbarara Municipality
  2. 1 2 UBOS (27 August 2014). "The Population of The Regions of the Republic of Uganda And All Cities And Towns of More Than 15,000 Inhabitants". Quoting Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  3. "Map Showing Kampala And Mbarara With Distance Marker". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  4. Google (1 July 2015). "Location of Mbarara at Google Maps" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  5. "Estimated Population of Mbarara Town In 2002, 2010 & 2011" (PDF). Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  6. Pelikan, Archive (30 July 2013). "Mbarara The Second Largest City In Uganda". Pelikan. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  7. AllAfrica, Archive (4 April 2004). "Mbarara gets a 2 Billion hospital". All Africa. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  8. AllAfrica, Archive (3 April 2004). "Museveni launches Mayanja Memorial Hospital". All Africa. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  9. "About ULGA". Uganda Local Governments Association(ULGA). Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  10. Newvision, Archive (26 May 2010). "Mbarara Gets Sh459 Billion Bypass". New Vision. Archived from the original on June 1, 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  11. Wafula, Paul (11 February 2012). "South Africa Firm Plans To Invest Sh6.5 Billion In New Brewery". Daily Nation. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  12. "SABMiller Opens Second Brewery In Uganda". 22 August 2013. Archived from the original on 14 February 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  13. Vision, Reporter (24 September 2012). "China To Build US$100 Million Steel Plant In Mbarara". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  14. Turyakira, Fred (28 December 2010). "Private Hospitals Urged To Implement Government Programmes". New Vision. Archived from the original on January 20, 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  15. "About Mayanja Memorial Hospital". Mayanja Memorial Hospital Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  16. "About Uganda Bible Institute". Uganda Bible Institute. Retrieved 21 April 2014.

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

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