The town of Fort Portal, Uganda’s only town with an English name “Fort Portal” was named after the British Consul Gerald Portal of Zanzibar, Sir Gerald Portal who came to Uganda in 1890s to Formalise British Protectorateship over Uganda. Fort Portal town is one of the most spectacular towns in Uganda and is the seat for both Kabarole District and Toro Palace built in 1960s. Fort Motel is located within easy reach of many activities. Most are half day or 1 day activity. Also look at all the national parks, which are within reach of Fort Portal.
Tooro Botanical Gardens
Also found in this area is the Tooro Botanical Gardens, specialising in indigenous trees and medicinal plants. These homegrown botanical gardens have a lot of well-signed indigenous plants and trees, as well as an organic farming project that grows herbs, flowers, trees, natural dyes, vegetables and medicinal plants. Admission includes a tour through the extensive grounds. Morning and late afternoon birdwatching is a highlight. A visit to the Garden is free, but a guided tour cost a fee, and the guides are very experienced. Contact reception for more details on visiting the botanical gardens.
Tooro Golf Club
Fort Motel lies adjacent to the Toro Golf Club, a picturesque and a hilly 9-hole/18-tee course that has produced many Uganda’s best golfers. If you fancy playing golf with one of the best talented young golfers from Tooro that represent Uganda around the region, please book through the Fort Motel reception. If you did not bring you club set, you can hire one.
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 view of the tea fields are astonishing around Fort Portal. If you would like to see how tea is being processed from green tea leaves to bags of 50 kilo of tea, you can visit a local tea factory. The tour gives you a first hand look into the tea factory and the processes used to produce Best Uganda Teas. The tea plantation and the factory can only be visited by appointment. The costs depend on the tea factory which is available and tours can be booked at the reception.
The guided tour through Fort Portal Town can take you upto 2 hours. Walk via the Post office, Mpanga local market, local primary/secondary school, a hospital and to the Palace. Your guide will explain about the history of the town and if you are very lucky, you might enter the Palace of the King of Tooro.
Fort Portal lies at the physical and political heart of Toro, the youngest of Uganda’s traditional kingdoms, ruled – aptly – by the world’s most youthful monarch, not quite four years old when he took the throne in 1995. Looking down over the town from its highest hill, the palace is worth a visit purely for its 360-degree panoramic views. It’s the residence of King Oyo, who ascended the throne in 1995 at the age of three! A guide will give you a quick history of the kingdom and explain the ceremonies that take place on the hill.
The Karambi Tombs are the burial grounds of Omukama Kasagama & Rukidi III. They are located 5 km out of the town on the Kasese Road. If you would like to take a village walk of 3 to 4 hours including the Karambi Tombs we can arrange a local tour operator for you.
The Ndali-Kasenda Crater Field, formed some 10.000 years ago during a period of intense volcanic activity that resulted in numerous explosion craters. Over time, the craters filed with water and today the Ndali-Kasenda Crater Field boasts one of the densest concentrations of crater lakes anywhere in the world. Some offer great places for swimming, viewpoints and nature trails that one can hike surrounded by monkeys, tropical birds, and magnificent sights. There are many hikes possible, just take a map of the crater lakes at the hotel and choose where to go. A nice day trip is a visit to Lake Nkuruba Campsite & Bandas. They have a short forest trail or you can take a hike from the lake to the Top of the World (a hill with 360⁰C view of the Crater Lake area). Guests can choose to stay at Bwigamiro Country Home. At the guesthouse we prepare a local lunch and dinner. If you want to stay overnight in the area, you have to make reservations at Fort Motel.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Located 6km south of the Kibale Forest National Park visitor centre at Kanyanchu, and 40 km from Fort Portal Town, Bigodi was established by Kibale Association for Rural and Environment Development (KAFRED) a local development organisation to protect the 4-sq-km Magombe Swamp that's home to around 200 species of birds (highlights include papyrus gonolek, white-winged warbler and great blue turaco). It's also good for spotting butterflies and primates, with eight different species here, including grey-cheeked mangabey, red tail, vervet, and L’Hoest. Three-hour guided walks (at a fee) depart on demand. Other activities available include village walks, Saturday-afternoon basket-weaving demonstrations, dance and drama performances, and fun interpretive meals at Tinka’s place (book in advance) where your hosts (Tinka) share the stories behind the local food they serve you. Ask the Volunteer opportunities are also available. Ask the reception for more information and booking.
Local tour guide Simon, from Kyaninga community and conservation association, makes a scenic walk of 3 hours. You will see a twin crater lake and a bubbling source. While walking he will introduce to you some history of the landscape, village life and he is an excellent birder. If you would like to be introduced to the village, the woman from the association make a very good local meal and you can help them. If you want to see more of the village in the afternoon you can see what the farmers are growing and how people live.
Amabeere ga Nyinamwiru caves and "Lake Saka crater" walk.
The water dripping from the roof of this small cave is milky white, hence the name Amabeere (‘Breasts’). Most of the rock formations are broken, but it’s fun to walk behind the waterfall covering it and past the wall of vines along the adjacent ridge. Small waterfalls are seen on the nature walk through the mythological caves. The legends of the caves are more impressive than the caves itself which holds many stalactites. Afterwards the guide can take you to the top of the Lake Saka crater, which has a beautiful view over the Fort Portal plateau and Rwenzori Mountains. The caves are 8 km northwest of Fort Portal, signposted 1.5km off the Bundibugyo road. The excursion takes half a day.
Visit local markets
Every day it is possible to visit a local market in the area. The most famous one is on Wednesdays in Muguzu 12 km from Fort Portal on the way to Kasese. The market is the biggest in the region and has besides many shopping possibilities a beautiful view on the Rwenzori Mountains. Visiting the market can be arranged at the hotel.
Sculpture gallery & workshop
Rwenzori Art Centre lies 11km north of Kasese in the foothills of Uganda’s impressive Rwenzori Mountains.