Fort Portal in western Uganda is in the seat of both kabarole district and toro kingdom and is named for Sir Gerald Portal, a British Special Commissioner for Uganda, whose statue graces the main road of the town. Situated between the Rwenzori Mountains, Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, it is a significant market town.
If travelling to Uganda, Fort Portal is well worth a visit as there are many things to do there. The journey from Kampala takes around four hours and there is a reliable bus service along the well tarmaced road. The town borders Uganda’s equatorial Kibale rainforest and is well known for its breathtaking scenery and is within distance of the stunning Rwenzori Mountains. Amongst things to do in Fort Portal are visits to the Amabere Caves, the Tooro Botanical Gardens, a Royal Palace and tombs as well as guided walks taking in a crater lakes with their its bubbling source and, of course, visiting Fort Portal’s famous tea plantations.
The ever green Fort portal town is filled with beautiful views surrounded by traditional homesteads and ruled by a traditional King. The Tooro Kingdom is one of the four kingdoms in Uganda with the Palace standing just across the town. Located in western Uganda, there are quite a number of places near fort portal you should visit.
One of Uganda’s most magnificent rain forests famously known for the chimpanzees and 12 other primate species situated in the heart of Tooro Kingdom. Kibale is the primate capital of the world but also has a number of birds, over 372 species recorded. A visit to Kibale will reward you with sights of human’s closest living relatives – the chimps and primates like Collabus monkeys, blue monkey, grey cheeked Mangabey among others. The nearest town is Fort portal and if coming from Kampala, Kibale can be accessed via the Mubende Fort-portal route or Mbarara – Kamwenge route.
The beautiful Tooro palace – also known as Omukama Palace, overlooks the catchy Fort portal town on Karuzika hill. It was built by the batooro in the in the early 1960’s with a unique architectural design which left an indelible impression on all those who beheld it. In 2005, it was rehabilitated to its old glory with support from International & local friends and currently hundreds of people every year come to visit this magnificent structure. The Tooro Kingdom was restored in 1993 and is among the four traditional kingdoms of Uganda – presently (2018) ruled by King Oyo.
The Amabeere caves are an amazing historical site located a few kilometers west of fort portal town. They are believed to be the previous birthplace of the king of the ancient Bachwezi and its name means ‘Breasts of Nyinamwiru’. It takes about 3 hours to hike to these caves, and you will find stalactites which actually do resemble breasts of a woman. The Amabeere caves are a great attraction due to their great history and hundreds of visitors come here every year on hiking/guided tours.
For those who have never been to fort portal, Lake Kyaninga is just another beautiful crater lake located just near Kyaninga lodge. It was formed about 10,000 years ago due to volcanic activity and has a meandering shape with the nearby rain forest adding shading to the beauty of this Crater Lake. This is an ideal spot for adventure lover since there is an opportunity to go hiking. The lodge nearby is situated in a luxury setting with views over this lake – a perfect place you’d enjoy waking up to.
The gardens are known as a center of excellence in growing, maintaining and displaying living collections of the Albertine-rift. It also includes plants for conservation, scientific research and education, horticultural, medicinal, culinary, aesthetic and recreational purposes. Located in Fort portal town, the botanical gardens envisions itself in a society with a well conserved green environment. This is a perfect place to relax and immerse yourself in nature while listening to singing birds.
The Bigodi wetland is a perfect bird watchers paradise with an extensive array of biodiversity which includes several primates’ species. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is known for many bird species, over 200 recorded including Hornbills, Turacos, Parrots, Cranes, Kingfishers and the common one – the Great Blue Turaco. The sanctuary is known as a good example for community-based approach to the natural resources management. Rich in biodiversity and scenic beauty, the Sanctuary is situated on the wildlife corridor of Kibale forest – a must visit for all nature lovers.
Established as a game reserve in 1926, the Semuliki wildlife reserve enjoys a dramatic rift valley setting between the Rwenzori, kijura escarpment and Lake Albert. Key species found within this reserve include elephants, buffaloes, Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Warthog, Giant Forest Hog, and Primates such as Vervet monkeys, Red-tailed and Black and White Colobus monkeys plus many more. Visitors to this reserve can enjoy primate walks, nature walks, game drives and community walks to the nearby villages of Ntoroko.
Tourism in Uganda is gaining in popularity not least because of a host of awards by organisations such as National Geographic and Lonely Planet recognising it as one of the top travel destinations in the world making tourism growth in Uganda the fastest in Africa. Known as the “Pearl of Africa”, today Uganda is a peaceful country especially in the south where you will be staying far removed from the tempestuous days of Idi Amin and the malignant Lord’s Resistance Army driven from the country many years ago. Unspoilt by commercial tourism you can undertake the best safaris in Africa sitting on top of jeeps, trek through forests in search of mountain gorillas, camp next to chimps and hippos and visit museums exploring local heritage and culture as well as craft shops, restaurants and lakes all with their own exquisite history.
One thing to be mindful of when visiting tourism attraction in Western Uganda is travel. Buses only depart when full, even if you have to wait for hours; fourteen seater minibuses (the local method of travel) can be crammed with up to twenty or more people and a family car sized taxi can have four people sitting in the front and six or seven in the rear. Your best bet is to arrange a “special” taxi giving you exclusive travel ~ but negotiate hard on price. Because you are a muzungo you will be considered rich!
TOP 10 TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN WESTERN UGANDA
Uganda Top 10 Tourist Attractions
Uganda is a land-locked country mostly in the Rift Valley, on the shore of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake – elevation 1,133m above sea level (masl) and the world’s largest tropical lake. While much of the country barely rises above Lake Victoria, the western Nile Valley with Lake Alberta – elevation 619m asl – as its main waterbody lies well below 1,000m. Contrasting with that are some amazing volcanoes like Mount Stanley (5,110 masl) and the only serious mountain chain in Africa, the Rwenzori Mountains with a length of about 120km long and 65km wide on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Rwenzori Mountains National Park the mountains rise to 5109 masl at Margherita Peak, while Ethiopia has the only serious mountain plateau in Africa. Everywhere else, mountainous regions are either low or confined to individual high mountains – mostly volcanoes – rising high above the surrounding landscape. A good example of the latter is Mount Elgon National Park, which is shared with Kenya, where the highest peak is located at an elevation of 4,155m asl, just across the border, all part of Western Uganda’s Top 10 Tourist Attractions.
Located along the Rift Valley, Uganda is seismically active and has many volcanic features, like hot springs and volcanoes. Moreover, the capricious landscape forces the Nile river through an extremely narrow break in the rocks, thus creating one of Africa’s most beautiful waterfalls: the Murchison Falls after which the fabulous national park has been named.
The climate of Uganda is rather equatorial with a typical semi-moist climate, with rainfall increasing from North to South. Kampala has about 1,400mm of rainfall per year, with peaks in April and November, while there are no periods without any rainfall at all. This makes Southern Uganda rather humid and particularly Western Uganda has quite a few forests, while large parts of the country look green during most of the year. As rainfall increases with elevation, there is a lot of rainfall in the Rwenzori Mountains and on Mount Elgon, each being clad with beautiful cloud forests. Mount Elgon is renowned for its Podocarpus forest.
Uganda’s wildlife is still very numerous and in reality, among Western Uganda’s Top 10 Tourist Attractions. While the Rhinoceroses had been hunted to extinction by the mid 80s, one of the 2 species, the White Rhinoceros has been successfully re-introduced, and now once again, one can enjoy once again Africa’s big five: Elephant, Cape Buffelo, Rhinoceros, Lion and Panther.
The large majority, 85 percent of the about 40,000,000 inhabitants are Christians, the remainder being Muslim or adhering to traditional religions. As some 40 different languages are spoken, English became the official language, but still, less than 30% of the population actually speaks it somewhat, while only 6% actually dominates it. In the countryside, the real lingua Franca of East Africa is Swahili. The population of Uganda is extremely rural, and only Kampala has more than a million in habitants – now approaching 1.5 million – while all other towns have well under one or two hundred thousand people. Al those languages represent different cultures and it is not surprising, that Uganda has many different tribes with often totally different habits and clothing, in other words, Uganda is culturally extremely rich. Economically however, Uganda is among the poorest countries in the world, in 2012 ranking position 161 out of 187 countries, with 75% of the labor force being agricultural, while besides agriculture and tourism, no other productive sector exists.
Tourism is becoming extremely important to Uganda. all of which is based on safari tourism. Unfortunately, much of the safari tourism takes place outside the national parks. This is very unfortunate, because that way you don’t get to see a complete representation of the nature of Uganda. Our national parks safari takes place exclusively in the official national parks thus allowing you to see a complete representation of the Uganda .
Uganda’s port of entry is Entebbe International airport, half an hour away from capital Kampala. The latter is not all that interesting from a tourism point of view, but a few sites are worth seeing, like the Kasubi Tombs.
Join us on our National Parks Safari to see the top 10 Tourist Attractions in Western Uganda has to offer with very professional guides at extremely attractive prices.
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