Activities in Mbarara City
Mbarara is one of the best and largest cities in Uganda located in the south western part of the county. The city covers an area of approximately 1,0020 square kilometers rounded by districts of Isingiro, Buhweju, Kiruhura, Ibanda and Sheema. It has an estimated population of over one million which are mostly Banyankole people. The city’s main economic activity is agriculture and cattle rearing, they have the largest cattle farms in the country. The Banyankore have their famous long curved horned Ankole cattle.
What to see in Mbarara city?
This cultural site is located on Mbarara masaka high way. It was opened up with an aim of promoting and preserving the culture and heritage of the Ankole people. When you visit Igongo cultural center, you will be amazed with the traditional and culturally constructed museum with art facts and crafts of the Ankole people. Apart from that, you will be guided to their mini cultural village called the Eitaramiro, you will see the Ankole people sculptures showing how they used to live their lives, these sculptures take you back and feel like you existed that time, guides are readily available to tell you historical stories. You can also decide to eat their traditional food like the karo [millet bread], their ghee and have a sip on their local bear.
Igongo cultural centre has a hotel that offers accommodation and restaurant.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is one of the smallest and one of the best national parks in Uganda located a few kilometers to Mbarara city, the park being small gives you an opportunity to see wild animals easy without travelling long distances. It is endowed with a lot of zebras, the impala, leopard, Rothchild giraffes and other animals with an exception of the elephants and the lions. Its lack of lions is an assurance that you can get closer to other animals with no fear of being attacked by a lion. The park is not so far from Uganda’s capital city approximately 240 km from Kampala, and approximately 280 km if you coming from Entebbe where Uganda’s international airport is found, it takes only 3-4 hours to reach the park, this makes it easy for a tourist who has little time in Uganda to go and have a look at the beautiful animals lake Mburo harbors, you can have a stop-over at the Equator where the earth divides its self from, into northern and southern hemispheres in Kayabwe, take photos and then proceed to your destination. This is where you can spread your hands or arms in the south and the northern hemisphere at the same time.
Lake Mburo national park was first gazzetted in 1933 as a hunting area, later in 1963 it was upgraded to a national park. The park is characterized by narrow bands, rocky ridges, forest gorges and woodlands. It has seasonal and permanent swamps all year round.
The park has a great story where it got its name Mburo from. It is said that two brothers lived in that area, one brother who was called Kigarama had a dream; that the place was going to receive a lot of rain that will cause floods, he told his brother who was called Mburo about the dream but the brother was hesitant and didn’t take his brother’s dream seriously. Kigarama left the place and left Mburo behind, later heavy rains came with floods, Mburo and his properties perished in the floods hence the name lake ‘Mburo’ national park.
Guides and the locals at the park will tell you more about the fantastic stories of lake Mburo national park.
Sanga cultural village
If you are into knowing and studying more about Uganda’s tribes and culture, Sanga cultural village is the best place to go to. This cultural village will take you through the cultural heritage of the Bahima people who leave in Mbarara. The village is also near lake Mburo national park. the guides will show you the traditional regalia and tools that were used by the Bahima people long ago. Expect to hear stories about their lifestyle and history.
Long horned cattle
They cattle have long curved horns that make them interesting to see. These cattle are believed to be stronger and can survive harsh conditions. It’s unfortunate that some people have been trying to cross breed them with the zebu cattle which may lead to loss of this pure breed in the long run. As earlier noted, Mbarara has the largest cattle farms in the country visiting these farms will give you a more insight about the Mbarara people, they will teach you how to milk a cow manually and how to make their local ghee. You will start seeing these cattle farms along the road side even before you reach the city center.
Mbarara is one of the fast-growing cities in Uganda with a lot of farmer’s markets you can visit. These markets sell fresh vegetables and foods direct from the garden, you can go to bars, local shops, restaurants and night life.
The city has a lot of water bodies you can go to, to cool down. Lakes you can visit here include; lake Nakivale, lake Kachera and river Ruizi.
Want to explore Mbarara city? Contact Engagi safaris for a great adventure of the is beautiful city which was nick named ” the land of milk and honey”
Where to stay?
Mbarara has a wide range of accommodations where you can stay when you visit. These include; palace hotel, Igongo cultural center and country hotel, lake view resort, Nyore hillside view retreat, square suites and so much more. They range from budget, mid-range to luxury.