Fort Portal

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Fort Portal a town in Western Uganda.

Get in[edit]

Bus connections from Kampala go via Mbarara (7 hours) or Mubende (4 hours), both roads are tarmaced (the Mubende road has some sections that are currently (2013) rebuilt) and in mostly good condition. Mubende is found about half way between Kampala and Fort Portal, here you can fill up on petrol and buy food and drink.

The Uganda Post runs the "Postbus", a daily bus to Fort Portal which departs from Kampala at 7:30 am, and costs 18 000 UGX (as of July 2012) per person. Another good connection is the "Link" bus that leaves from its station at the Old Taxi Park when ever a bus is full.

Get around[edit]

Fort Portal is a small town and it is easily possible to just walk. If you need to go further, there are Boda Boda motorbike taxis everywhere in town. For about 1000 UGX you can travel about 2 - 3 kilometers. But beware, they drive fast and are not very safe, and there are no good hospitals around in case you have an accident.

You can also take a "private hire" (taxi cab) which you can find on the corner of the main roundabout in the centre of Fort Portal and some other locations. There are also some bicycle taxis left.

See[edit]

Fort Portal on the edge of Uganda’s equatorial rainforest. is an enchanting land full of lakes, grasslands, marshes and forests on the lower slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda.

There are many wonderful lodges within Kibale forest where you can spend a night or two in a tree house experiencing the sounds of the forests inhabitants including 8 species of monkey, chimpanzees, the forst elephant, bush pig, giant forest hog and much more.

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Do[edit]

Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park [1] which is less than an hours drive from Fort Portal on the way to Mbarara. The wide bio-diversity of habitats means that Queen Elizabeth National Park contains the most astonishing number of species - almost 100 types of mammal and 606 different birds! The Kasinga Channel alone is said to contain the world's largest concentration of hippos, but interestingly enough not many crocodiles! Other wildlife includes warthogs, buffalo, rare aquatic sitatunga antelope, giant forest hog, beautifully horned Uganda kob, topi, waterbuck, elephant and leopard.

This is a wonderful national park, sometimes dubbed 'the Pearl of Africa or Switzerland of Africa'. Quite simply this fertile equatorial area is especially scenic, with two lakes connected by a channel overlooked by a high peninsula. You will also find volcanic craters, grassy plains and tropical forest. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings in the world. Hunting exhibits such as stuffed lions, leopard skins, deer heads and elephants tusks may still be found adorning some hotels and lodges, but the emphasis is certainly more on shooting with a camera these days. Much of Uganda Safaris were poached out in the past, especially elephants, but now the area is protected and elephants numbers are boosted by those entering the park from the Congo, where poaching is still a problem.


There is also a really funny statue of Sir Gerald Portal on the main road of the town. Yes, he does have a gun in his pocket and yes, he is pleased see you.

Buy[edit]

Fort Portal is famous for its tea. This area is gifted by nature with a cool climate which ensures a relatively slow plant growth rate. This naturally makes the tea a high grown, high quality tea.

The consumption of this tea is associated with many health benefits. These include anti-allergy, anti-oxidation, anti-hypertension, anti-viral, anti-obese, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, enzyme inhibition and many other human health problems. You can buy the tea in any local shop or even better visit one of Fort Portal's tea plantations.

Eat[edit]

The two "foreigner" restaurants in town are the Gardens Restaurant just oposite the Shell petrol station on the main Lugard Road, and the Dutchess Restaurant (and hotel) on Mugurusi Road, right after the Uganda Human Rights Commission building. Both places have good pizza and other Western and local dishes, starting around 10,000 UGX (as of 11/2013)

There are also many good local restaurants in Fort Portal, and they are much cheaper. But go early, as food preparation in Uganda takes time. Half an hour for some simple fast food is not uncommon.

Drink[edit]

The many varieties of tea, fresh fuit juices including pineapple, passion fruit and mango. And for the less health conscience Uganda have some excellent beers, Nile, Bell, and Pilsner to name just a few.

Sleep[edit]

There is accommodation everywhere in Fort Portal town. If your interest is not being as close as possible to the national parks, you can just head to Fort Portal and find a place that suits you upon arrival.

  • Wooden Lodge. See the room before you move in. Windows have mosquito screens, but bring your own mosquito net. Its located close to the drop off point of the Post Bus and run by a wonderful woman who goes out of her way to do nice things for her visitors. 16,000/21,000 UGX single/double with bathroom.
  •    Yes HostelLower Kakiiza Rd. (About 2 km north of town center.),  +256 772 780 350, e-mail: . Free Wifi. Dorm 15000 UGX, camping 7000 UGX..
  •    Rwenzori Travellers InnPlot 16 Kyebambe Road (City center, left after Shell when entering from Kasese direction.),  +256 483 422075 / +256 712 400570, e-mail: . Has Wifi, breakfast included. Singles 41.000 ugx, doubles 62.000 ugx (updated: 2011)..
  • Continental HotelLugard Rd. 0772 484842. Central location. hot showers. single 15000 UGX, with bathroom 25000 UGX.
  •    Mountain of the Moon HotelPlot 4, Nyaika Avenue (About 2 km north of town center along Toro road.),  +256 483 423200 / +256 775 557840, e-mail: . A top high-end tourist hotel on the way to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The food is overpriced and bad. Wifi, restaurant, bar, conference, pool, gym. Singles $120+, doubles $140+..
  •    Fort Motel (400m from main postal station, next to golf course),  +256-772-501731 / +256-792-220259, e-mail: . Breakfast included, nice gardens and pool. Singles 45$-100$, doubles 70$-140$.
  •    Rwenzori View GuesthouseLower Kakiiza Road (About 2 km north of town center.),  +256 772 722102 / +256 483 422102, e-mail: . Family run, nice garden. Home cooked meals at big joint dinner table. Breakfast included. Singles from 60.000 ugx, doubles from 90.000 ugx..

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