Fort Portal is an important town in Western Uganda.
Bus connections from Kampala go via Mbarara (7 hours) or Mubende (4 hours). Both roads have an asphalt surface, but the Mubende road has some sections that were rebuilt in 2013 and is in mostly good condition. Mubende is found about half way between Kampala and Fort Portal and you can fill up on petrol and buy food and drink there.
The Uganda Post runs the "Postbus", a daily bus to Fort Portal which departs from Kampala at 07:30 and the fare was UGX18,000 per person in July 2012. Another good connection is the Link buslines that leaves from its station at the Old Taxi Park in Kampala whenever a bus is full.
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 UGX1,000 you can travel about 2-3km. 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.
Fort Portal's on the edge of Uganda’s equatorial rainforest. It's 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 forest elephant, bush pig, giant forest hog and much more.
Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park which is less than an hour's 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. Many of Uganda's 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 to see you.
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.
- Barclays Bank, Babitha road. Has a MasterCard/Visa ATM.
- Stambic Bank, Lugard road. Has a MasterCard/Visa ATM.
- Kenya Commerial bank. Has a MasterCard/Visa ATM.
- Andrews Supermarket. sells fresh bread.
The two "foreigner" restaurants in town are the Gardens Restaurant just opposite the Shell petrol station on the main Lugard Road, and the Duchess 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 UGX10,000 in November 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.
The many varieties of tea, fresh fruit 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.
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. UGX16,000/21,000 sgl/dbl with bathroom.
- Yes Hostel, Lower Kakiiza Rd. (About 2km north of the town centre.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Free Wi-Fi. Dorm UGX20,000, camping UGX10,000..
- Rwenzori Travellers Inn, Plot 16 Kyebambe Rd (City Centre, left after Shell when entering from Kasese direction.), ☎ , e-mail: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Has Wi-Fi, breakfast included. Sgl UGX51,000, dbl UGX75,000 (2011)..
- Continental Hotel, Lugard Rd., ☎ . Central location, hot showers. Single with outside bathroom UGX15,000, single with bathroom UGX25,000..
- Mountain of the Moon Hotel, Plot 4, Nyaika Ave (About 2km north of town centre along Toro road.), ☎ , e-mail: , email@example.com. A top high-end tourist hotel on the way to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The food is overpriced and bad. Wi-Fi, restaurant, bar, conference, pool, gym. Sgl USD120+, dbl USD140+..
- Fort Motel (400m from main postal station, next to golf course), ☎ , e-mail: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Breakfast included, nice gardens and pool. Free Wi-Fi. Sgl USD45-100, dbl USD70-140.
- Rwenzori View Guesthouse, Lower Kakiiza Road (About 2km north of town centre.), ☎ , e-mail: , email@example.com. Family run, nice garden. Home cooked meals at big joint dinner table. Breakfast included. Sgl from UGX60,000, dbl from UGX90,000.
- Exotic Lodge, next to Kabarole tours (behind dons plaza.). 10 Single/double rooms with shared bathroom. rooms. From UGX11,500.
- Tabes Resthouse Lodge, Malibu road (off Kasese road), ☎ . single room with outside bathroom.. Double room with own bathrooms. Ugx 18,000/25,000.
- Place Motel Limited, Plot 33 Muzosi Road. Check-in: 11am, check-out: 10:00. double room with own bathroom and breakfast UGX44,000.
- Golf Course View Guesthouse, Rwenzori Road, ☎ . single/double rooms with own bathrooms. sometimes has hot water. from Ugx 30,000.
- Visitours Guest house, Kasese Road.. Check-in: 11am, check-out: 10am. double with own bathroom and tv. Ugx 30,000.