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About Arua Town

Established in 1914, the ancient Capital of the Pan-Africanist Lado Empire (Arua Town) is the biggest urban and business centre of the West Nile region. That same year, the Southern portion of the ‘splendid and alluring’ Lado Enclave was assigned from Belgium to Uganda under the British Protectorate.

Arua Town got its name from a special hill overlooking the Barifa Forest. Arua in Lugbara means “on prison” and was the name of the hill where Belgian Colonialists operated their prison, which lingered for a while even after colonial rule. However, as time has passed the old prison yard has evolved to a training facility for kick-boxers in the area.

Uganda is indeed a tourist destination. So much so that in 2011, Lonely Planet, voted Uganda “The World’s Top Tourist Destination for 2012” laying further claim that ‘Arua Town’ is indeed a sweet place after all. In 2015, during the inaugural Mayor’s Awards held in Luanda, Angola, Arua emerged the Second Best behind Cape Verde’s Praia in the Small Cities – Best Towns in Africa Excellence Category.

Mt. Wati

Arua Mt Wati

Found in Aiivu Sub County, Terego County, Arua District, Mt. Wati is arguably the tallest mountain in West Nile though it lies in a lower area above Sea Level. It is also the origin of the Lugbara (according to Mythology) once inhabited by big serpents with mysterious snake lights for trapping prey at night.

Dribidu, the first Lugbara met his leprous wife there and healed her. Rebels used to climb up Mt. Wati to use their binoculars for locating soldiers advancing against them.



Ediofe Cathedral

Arua Church

Ediofe Cathedral is the Catholic Missionary centre in Arua town (Ediofe Trading Center) established in 1917. The building has been

renovated and serves as the centre for Arua Catholic Diocese moved from Gulu in 1959.





Rhino Camp Ginnery

Rhino Camp Ginnery

Rhino Camp Ginnery is located at Rhino Camp Trading Centre, about 100 metres away from the bank of R. Nile in Rhino Camp Sub County, Arua district. It is the earliest ginnery for cotton established in 1911 by Maga. Maga Cotton used to be grown in the lower and drier plains of Arua district, especially Lower and Upper Madi Counties but due to marketing challenges, it has been abandoned. Efforts are however, being undertaken to revamp cotton production in the area.



Rhino Camp Old Industrial

Rhino Camp

Rhino Camp was used for tracking Rhinos along the banks of River Nile close to the old steamer docking.







Natural Attraction


Besides a pleasantly warm climate and friendly indigenes, Arua District is greatly endowed with natural attraction such as the Ajayi Game Reserve, Imvepi – Enyau Valley Forest, waterfalls, beaches, wild life, mountains and water bodies.

Although tourism is still in its infancy stages, the potential is tremendous. Arua offers a wide range of investment opportunities in the areas of conservation and development of heritage sites, restocking of Ajayi Game Reserve especially with the White Rhino, specialised Eco-Tourism, arts and craft, recreational activities, hotels, tours and much more.

The Ajai Wildlife Reserve and the numerous historical sites in Luku, Wati and the River Nile offer massive opportunities for the development of tourism facilities that can be augmented with the rich culture of the people especially in the food and entertainment sector.

Emmanuel Cathedral, Mvara

Emmanuel Cathedral

Emmanuel Cathedral – Mvara is located in Mvara Ward, Arua Hill Division, Arua Municipality. It is an Anglican Cathedral built in 1936 by the British Congregation of Christ Church West Bourne Mouth in memory of Trevor Hope Lingley B.A. The Cathedral is now the centre for Madi and West Nile Diocese.





Ombaci Earth Satellite


Located about 4km in the north eastern part of Arua town on Rhino Camp Road in Manibe Sub County, Arua district, the Earth Satellite was constructed by late President Idi Amin Dada in the early 1970s soon after he took over power. It was used to broadcast via short wave to the outside world.

However, after the overthrow of his government in 1979, the Uganda National Liberation Forces solders vandalized the Earth Satellite. The remains were recently sold as scrap by the Uganda Broadcasting Cooperation (UBC) but local leaders continue to press for its revitalization as it remained one of the physical contributions of President Amin to the country.

Olewa Waterfalls

Olewa waterfalls are characterized by water falling 10 meters from River Enyau, descending towards River Nile at the foot hill of Mt. Wati in Aiivu Sub County, Terego County, Arua district.


Abairo and Whaa falls

The beautiful Abairo and Whaa water falls are found in Kamikua village, Wandi Parish in Oluko Sub County.Abairo falls

A distance less than 15km from Arua town branching off at on the right side about 100m beyond the sub county headquarters on Arua Ocodri road.
Relatively new the majority of people hat treasure travels in the region Abairo and Whaa falls are

gifted with a general beautiful scenery and adulating land scapes that give one both a challenge in walking but excitement in the spectacular views across the horizon.

Many people have bought land near the falls already including a white man although the locals are generally peaceful and welcoming.
One needs to travel with refreshments and all other necessities during their trip, shops are far away more than 5km at the main road side near Oluko sub county headquarters.

Ombaci Memorial Monument

The Ombaci Memorial Monument was developed in memory of those killed during the June 24, 1981 massacre near St. Joseph’s College. 

Barifa Forest

Gazetted in 1948, the breeze from the eucalyptus trees in Barifa Forest feels very refreshing especially when the temperatures are right on top of the Lovers Rock (Arua Hill). Although famed for criminal activity, it is also the venue of one of the most frequented sports grounds in the West Nile region -Barifa Stadium which was named after the greatest female athlete in Uganda hailing from Arua, the Vurra born Dorcus Inzikuru.It is speculated that there may be a transfer of the Barifa Stadium to Logiri in Vurra County to pave way for the futuristic Nile Eco-City.

Vurra Customs Monument

The Vurra Custom Monument is at the border point of Uganda and DR Congo established in 1937. It also commemorates the assassination of Prime Minister Patrick Lumumba, who was killed in 1961.

In the aftermath of his death, a war ensued in 1964-1965 with soldiers of “Simba” who entered into Uganda. The soldiers were later, killed and buried at Vurra. A monument was then built in commemoration of the 1966 Simba crisis. 

View the beautiful sites of Arua