Discover Fort Portal and the Crater Lakes
Need a get-away from Kampala? Or just keen to find out what to do around Fort Portal town and the crater lakes area? Be inspired by Bram and Emmy's weekend trip to Fort Portal, Uganda, with ideas on accommodation and food. For those who are looking for budget safaris as well as well more luxury options, read on. Fort Portal area can suit any budget. Hire a Roadtrip car and find out what this beautiful region has to offer!
Drive from Kampala to Fort Portal, Uganda
On a hot Friday morning we left Kampala around 11AM to drive up to Fort Portal. Excited about a weekend ahead full of awe and relaxation, we head out of town. We were in need of a weekend away from Kampala and keen to learn more about this area. The distance from Kampala to Fort portal is 300 km and takes about 5-6 hours to complete on a good asphalt road.
Shortly after passing through a tiny bit of Kibale forest, we branched left taking a shortcut straight through McLeods's tea estates. A beautiful ride on small red soiled dirt road taking you straight through the tea fields and passed little villages. This is a self drive adventure as it is meant to be.
Also don't miss Village Arts Cafe & Bakery between Kyenjojo and Fort Portal.
Campsites and budget spots in Fort Portal and the crater lakes
When travelling with a set of camp gear in the back of your roadtrip rental car, you don't need to reserve your accomodation in advance and always have a budget option at hand. Check our campsite list below.
Peter, the owner of Rweteera Safari Park, is an enthusiastic hiker and he invited us for a thorough walk on a trail over the surrounding crater lake hills. The views are amazing and we enjoyed it even though we were panting and sweating after 5 minutes. We returned to camp, and with a cacophony of chirps and buzzes from the crickets, cicadas and frogs, we fall into a deep sleep in our comfortable dome tent.
Recommended campsites & budget spots at Fort Portal and the Crater lakes area:
- Kluges Guest Farm, our old time favourite
- The original Lake Nkuruba Community Campsite
- Lake Kifuruka Campsite
- Top of the World Campsite
- Kasiisi Guesthouse
What to do on a roadtrip to the crater lakes and Fort Portal
The next morning we enjoy a simple breakfast on a lovely spot surrounded by trees full of Colobus monkeys who are curiously looking at us. Colobus stems from the Greek Kolobos – meaning mutilated. The monkeys are called this way because of their missing thumb. However, this enables them to jump spectacularly up to 30 metres flying through the air.
After breakfast we drive around the crater lakes, on off the beaten tracks. We find ourselves on rough and small dirt roads that are only suitable during the dry season, connecting to many crater lakes and eventually to the stunning Ndali lodge, where we decide to have lunch.
In case the accommodation slightly surpasses your budget ($530 per night), than at least have lunch at Ndali lodge instead. The food is only praise and compliments, and goes well with a nice glass of cold white wine on the veranda overlooking the Crater Lake.
Options a for Luxury stay at Fort Portal and the Crater lakes area:
After Ndali we drive towards the road to Semuliki National Park. We stop for a visit to the Amabera caves and waterfalls. Our guide Wilson tells us everything about the history of the place, whilst I am distracted as I spot a tail of an animal that I later find out it is a Genet cat. The waterfall and the caves are quite nice, however the backdrop of the landscape on top of the nearby hill is splendid.
Other things to do in the crater lakes area:
- Bicycle tour by Kabarole Tours
- Crater Lake walk at Rweteera Safari Park
- Swimming in Muhoma Falls
- Top of the World viewpoint
- Kiwa hotsprings at Kilembe, Kassese
- Hike into the Rwenzori mountains
- Birding at Semuliki NP
- Chimpanzee trekking at the nearby Kibale Forest National Park
Fort Portal town
Fort Portal town is the base of the Tooro, the youngest kingdom in Uganda with the youngest monarch in reign, Rukidi IV, who was 4 years old when he was crowned king. The town is overlooked by the Toro palace, in the heart of the beautiful town. We sleep at the Dutchess, a comfortable, Dutch-owned hotel. Choose this place if you're looking for a budget place right in town, with home-made bread and cheese and a proper hot shower.
Other Mid-range accommodation in the area with great value for money:
The breakfast the next day at the Dutchess is delicious. With a full stomach, we pack our car and take off to Kampala, feeling completely relaxed, energised and again amazed by the beauty of Uganda's country side.
With Love, Bram & Emmy.