Exploited and Potential Attractions in Mbarara
Location : Mbarara District is located in Western Uganda. It borders
the Districts of Masaka and Sembabule to the East,
Bushenyi and Ntungamo to the West, Kabarole to the North and the Republic of Tanzania to the South.
Population : The District has a population of about 1,089,000 people.
Main Town : Mbarara town is the main town of the District.
Area : 10020.8 Km2
Land and vegetation : 0.8 percent of the District area is open water, 2.1 percent
is wetland and 18,707 hectares is forest.
The key tourist attractions of the district are given below
1. Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is located about 300 kilometers south-west of Kampala, 30 kilometers east of Mbarara town. The Park is famous for birding and viewing of Zebras, Impala, Buffalos and Waterbucks. Lake Mburo, which occupies 20 percent of the Park, has potential for development of a number of water sports such as angling, boat cruises and canoeing.
Easy proximity from the main Kampala-Mbarara-Kabale/Kasese routes gives the Park advantage for stop-over night stays and day excursions.
Tourism activities in the Park are fairly well developed. The infrastructure includes UWA’s Rwonyo Campsite and the Lake Mburo Conservation Education Centre and the Mantana Campsite.
2. Lake Nakivale
The Lake is located about 40 kilometers south-east of Mbarara town. The water body, the lake’s sandy beaches and the expansive open grounds around the lake could in future be exploited for tourism. There were temporary refugee settlements in the areas around the Lake.
3. River Ruizi
River Ruizi flows from the highlands in Bushenyi district into Lake Kachera in Rakai district. Some canoeing is possible on the river and provides some primate viewing along it.
Down the river, near the Safariland Park, is a spot that is a habitat for cobra snakes that are a popular site for visitors to the Park.
4. Lake Kachera
Lake Kachera is found in both Mbarara and Rakai district. The southern part of the lake lies next to the Lake Mburo National Park. The Lake’s location by the Park with a considerable concentration of wild game offers opportunity for development of a tourist campsite at the hill overlooking Lwanga fish landing site.
5. Sanga Cultural Village
This is a cultural centre for the Hima tribe, located at the sanga junction leading to the Lake Mburo National Park. Traditional ornaments and regalia of the tribe are also found at the centre. Upon payment of a small token fee, it is possible to learn about the cultural ways, particularly of the Hima women.
6. Crafts and Souvenirs Industry
There was no independent crafts and souvenirs shop that was operational in Mbarara town at the time of the survey. This was in contrast to the town being a transit one for traffic to and from the main tourism activity centers of the Rwenzori National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
7. Hotel and Catering Industry
The hotel and catering industry in the district comprised 59 accommodation establishments and 28 non-accommodation tourism related establishments at the time of the survey. The industry employed 815 people. The total bed capacity was 2732 beds.
The main accommodation establishments in the district were: Lake View Hotel, Mantana Luxury Tented Camp and Hotel Classic.