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Fort Portal

Fort Portal | Your Ugandan experiences begin at Fort Portal, a bustling and friendly city at the foot of the Rwenzori mountains. Explore the Amabere Caves on foot, look for chimpanzees in the Kibale Forest, or take a safari in the Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Know that real adventure is waiting, no matter what you decide.

Introduction to Fort Portal.

Often referred to as the “flower city,” Fort Portal is one of Uganda’s most stunning cities. It is bordered by tea plantations, rocky crater lakes, and green rolling hills at an elevation of roughly 1,500 meters above sea level. The Rwenzori mountains’ snow-covered tops can be seen on a clear day.

You won’t ever be too far from your preferred activity thanks to Fort Portal’s exceptional position in western Uganda. The city is strategically located halfway between the north and the south.

Fort Portal is the entry point for trips to Lake Albert, Murchison Falls National Park, the Rwenzori Mountains, chimp tracking in Kibale, safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park, or gorilla treks in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

It was built in the late 1800s to defend the Tooro Kingdom from King Kabalega of Bunyoro and his recurrent guerilla incursions, and it was given the name Sir Gerald Portal in honor of Sir Gerald Portal, the British Consul General of Zanzibar.

Even if the fort is no longer standing, you may still enjoy this newly anointed city’s rich past by going to the Tooro Palace.

Things To Do In Fort Portal

Tooro Gardens.

The Tooro Gardens were started in 2001 to help protect Western Uganda’s endangered trees and plant life. The garden now covers over 100 acres and is a crucial location for scientific research, teaching, and conservation.

An excellent method to learn about Uganda’s native flora is to go on nature walks with competent guides. There are a variety of trails available, such as those through stone gardens, butterfly sanctuaries, and tree nurseries.

Bring your binoculars because the gardens are a refuge for birdwatchers and are home to a variety of bird species.

Tooro Palace.

The Tooro Palace offers 360-degree panoramic views of the city from its perch on a Karuzika hill overlooking Fort Portal.

The palace was constructed in 1963, but after Idi Amin dismantled Uganda’s kingdom system, the elongated building went into disrepair.

With funds supplied by General Gaddafi in 2001 when he visited the palace, it was restored to its former splendor.

Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest.

Kibale Forest National Park, one of Uganda’s most well-known parks and the primary location for chimpanzee monitoring in that country, is only 30 minutes away from Fort Portal.

There are 90% chances of spotting one of these highly clever and playful primates in this region, which is home to about 1,500 of them.

At 8:00 and 14:00, the tracking expeditions leave twice daily. Given that many itineraries combine a morning excursion with an afternoon trip to the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, the morning trips are probably busiest.

Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary.

Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary is a fantastic place for birders and anyone interested in primates and is located little under an hour from Fort Portal, tucked away on the edge of Kibale Forest.

You can see all the birds and creatures you might have missed earlier in the day while focusing solely (and reasonably) on the chimpanzees as you make your way through the swamp on wooden pathways.

Chimpanzee trekking and the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary are complementary activities that can both be completed in Kibale Forest in a half-day.

Day Trip in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is only about an hour distant, so day trips there can be planned. Excursions frequently leave Fort Portal around 6 am and return after 8 evening.

After entering the park, you’ll probably spend the morning going on a game drive and watching the various animals that live there, such as lions, elephants, and buffalo.

Lunch on a picnic blanket beside an Acacia tree. After that, at 2 PM, you can enjoy a boat trip down the Kazinga Channel to see many of the park’s aquatic and semi-aquatic creatures, including hippos and crocodiles.

Animals come from all over the park to the Kazinga Channel, especially during the dry season when there is less water available in the park.

Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

The oldest wildlife reserve in Uganda is Semliki, which can be reached from Fort Portal in less than an hour.

Semliki is a considerably quieter reserve than others because it is a little off the usual path, and visitors can probably appreciate the area’s animals without having to struggle with other safari cars.

Numerous creatures, including as elephants, buffalo, waterbuck, crocodiles, warthogs, and Uganda kob, call the reserve home. Keep an eye out for leopards, pygmy hippo, and boisterous bush infants.

Boat tours on Lake Albert are offered by Semliki Safari Lodge in an effort to spot the elusive and seriously endangered shoebill stork.

Here, chimpanzee walks are also well-liked. Compared to the chimpanzees in the Kibale, Budongo, or Kyambura forests, these ones are less accustomed. However, it is still a fantastic chance to see and discover these amazing species in their native environment.

Hiking and Guided Nature Walks.

In the Crater Lake District, Fort Portal is surrounded by beautiful, rolling hills that are ideal for hiking and trekking.

One of the most well-liked pathways is the one that leads to the Amabere Caves and Nyamiska Waterfalls. Numerous old Ugandan folktales feature the Amabere caves.

Make sure to bring your binoculars because there are several Colobus monkeys and a variety of amazing wildlife to see.

Although guided nature excursions can be done at any time of day, it is best to start early to escape the intense midday sun. Always carry plenty of water, sturdy footwear, insect repellant, sunscreen, and long pants.

Places To Stay In Fort Portal

The Dutchess.

The Duchess is a peaceful haven close to Fort Portal’s center, located in a quiet neighborhood and renowned for its delectable cuisine.

This boutique hotel offers five rooms: three luxurious, one mid-range, and one inexpensive, making it ideal for visitors seeking a more personalized experience. Every room has an en suite bathroom, mosquito netting, and Wi-Fi. Televisions are also available in the more opulent rooms.

The restaurant delivers a variety of foreign and regional meals made with local, fresh ingredients. The restaurant’s real Italian pizza and homemade ice cream are highlights of the menu.

Kyaninga Eco Cottages.

The eco-conscious traveler will love the Kyaninga Eco Cottages. The lodge promises zero carbon emissions and is entirely run on solar power.

When building, they employed locally sourced materials and labor and planted a new tree for each one they cut down.

The chalets feature unobstructed views of Lake Kyaninga and the snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains in addition to protecting wildlife.

They have eight reasonably priced thatched-roof cottages with bathrooms that are ideal for singles, couples, and families.

Kluges Guest House Farm.

The farm at Kluges Guest House is a sustainable haven. Ten independent bungalows with own terraces are located in a lush green garden, allowing you to peacefully take in the breathtaking surroundings.

Kluges Guest House is the ideal choice if you want to experience family-style hospitality, wholesome food, and a place to get away from the bustle of the city.

On a steamy Ugandan afternoon, the swimming pool, a covered outdoor dining area, and a restaurant and bar providing an à la carte menu are the ideal ways to unwind.

When To Visit and Get to Fort Portal

When to Visit.

The dry season, which lasts from December to February and again from late June to October, is the ideal time to explore Fort Portal.

Because neighboring activities like chimp trekking and nature walks are less likely to be impacted by rains, which can make the paths too slick or inaccessible for excursions, this is said to be the greatest season to visit.

If you want to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park, going during the dry season can improve your chances of seeing more animals because they will be looking for water and more likely to gather around watering holes.

Getting There.

Road travel from Kampala to Fort Portal is 311 km and takes about 4 hours.

It is a shorter 146kmroute from Kampala aa takes 2 to 3 hours to drive.

There are regular flights from Entebbe International Airport and Kajjansi Airfield, both close to Kampala.

From Kampala’s Kajjansi Airfield to Entebbe International Airport, the trip takes one and a half hours.

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