Fort portal is one of the most attractive towns in Uganda situated in the northern foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains amidst lush rolling hill side swathed in neat tea plantation and clouds permitting offering excellent views across to the glacier of the peaks to the west. The town Centre has seen a great deal off renovation since the early 1990s, including plenty of hotels and restaurants, and what with ongoing resurfacing of its internal roads, it is barely recognizable from the random ‘”Fort portal pot-hole” of a few year back.
Fort Portal is named after a British fortress constructed between 1891 and 1893 on the site of the towns present day golf club, with the aim of protecting the Toro Kingdom from guerrilla raids by King Kabalega of Bunyoro. Fort Garry as it was originally known was named after the British Consul General of Zanzibar Sir Gerald Portal, who arrived in Buganda in late 1892 to formalize the protectorate ship of Uganda and died of malaria on Zanzibar a few months later. Norma Lorimar, who traveled to Fort portal in 1913, referred to the settlement as “Toro” adding that it then consists of “about six bungalows, the bank, the Boma, the huts for a few KARs (kings African Riffles), the Indian bazaar and the native settlement.
Fort Portal boasts few urban land marks off note. Perched on a hill above the town is the large circular Toro Palace; built in1960 for Omukama Kasagama’s son and successor, Rukidi III, this was destroyed and looted after the abolition of the old kingdoms under President Obote and was recently restored with Libyan money.Kasagama and Rukidi III are buried at the Karambi royal Tombs, 5kms out of Fort portal town Centre on Kasese road.
Attractions in Fort Portal are;
- The beautiful Toro palace that lies on the hill above the town
- Sir Gerald Portal’s statue which lies at the main Kasese road just after Main Fort portal round about,
- Karambi Toms which is the burial grounds of Omukama Kasagama & Rukidi III,
- Fort Portal town is the gateway to the Rwenzori Mountains which are viewed from most corners of the town. Kibale, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semuliki valley national parks are few hours’ drive away from the town Centre hence being easy for visitors to explore them in shortest time,
- Tours to the crater lakes,caves (Amabre caves) and water falls around town can be easily done,
- Visits to Toro golfcourse and botanical gardens can as well be explored from the town.