Fort Portal is a town that lies in the northern foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, 300 kilometres west of Kampala and 50 kilometres north of Kasese town in western Uganda. Feel relaxed and you are at home as you will find it one of the most attractive towns in Uganda with several landmarks like hotels, banks, restaurants, golf course, cultural sites and many more.
A traveller called Norma Lorrimer who went to the town in 1913 and called it Toro, described it as consisting of six bungalows, a bank, the Boma, huts for a few KARs (King’s African Rifles), the Indian Bazaar, a native settlement and a splendid market at the bottom of the hill, which still stands today opposite the Gardens Restaurant. Although Sir Gerald Portal never set foot in Fort Gerry or Fort Portal, the name has stuck. In fact, Portal never came within a 100km square radius of the town. It is the only town in Uganda with an English name “Fort Portal”, and the town was named after the British Consul General of Zanzibar, Sir Gerald Portal, who came in Uganda in 1893 to formalize British protectorateship over Uganda. Fort Portal town is the seat of both Kabarole district and Toro Palace, built in the 1960s.
Take the Kampala Mbarara road which was tarmaced in 2007 and is in excelent condition. Fort Portal is 311 kilometres by road from Kampala and takes about 4 hours to arrive. Mubende is found about half way between Kampala and Fort Portal, here you can fill up on petrol and buy food and drink.
The Uganda Post runs a very reliable daily bus to Fort Portal which departs from Kampala at 7:30am, and costs 18,000 UGX per person.
As there isn't much traffic in Fort Portal it's safe to take the Boda boda's which you will find at just about every corner in Fort Portal. For 1000 UGX. You can travel about 2-3 kilometre. Otherwise you can also take a private hire (taxi) which you can find on the corner of the rounderbout found at the centre of Fort Portal leadning on to the bundibugyo road.
Internet cafes can be readily found in Kampala and Jinja. In most larger towns you'll find internet cafes running off of either VSATs or mobile phones. The Internet connection bandwidth is very low and can be frustrating for those who are used to a high speed internet connection.
See also International Telephone Calls
Mobile phone network coverage is available in most parts of the country (over 80%), but geography can cause trouble in the mountainous regions. SIM cards are cheaply available everywhere in 'starter packs' but need to be registered before use. They make a good deal though, as prices for international data roaming are extremely high.
Mobile broadband (3G, HSDPA, HSPA, HSPA+) is available in several places. Airtel has mobile broadband available in larger places along Jinja Road. An example of price for mobile broadband on a phone through Airtel is UGX25,000 for 1GB traffic in one week.In the more rural areas, a slower (EDGE) connection might be available. Orange also offer mobile broadband. Other networks include MTN (the biggest in Uganda), Warid Telecom and Uganda Telecom.
Posta Uganda offers reasonable services. Prices are not high, though it might not be the fastest company. Expect postcards and letters to take at least 7-10 days to Europe, longer to North America and Australia. Post offices are generally open from around 8:00-9:00am until late afternoon. If you want to send parcels overseas, it would be better to use companies like TNT, UPS, FedEx or DHL, as they are competitively priced and also much faster.
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