Exploring the Best of Fort portal

Excited to share with you this story about my recent 2 days trip to Fort portal and the nearby Semliki national park, located in western Uganda. This is the first of the many trips I decided to take in 2020 and I was pretty much bored with the first two months of the year. Although the preparations were made way before, this gave me and the rest of the team from Berners Leegue enough time to get ready.

So our pickup point was at station house in Kampala where I met the rest of the team i was travelling with. Our driver arrived at 8:30 am so we set off at about 9:00 am driving towards Fort portal via Mityana – Mubende road, for about 4 hours. We had a stop-over in Mityana town for road-side snacks before driving to Fort portal town for the rest of the journey. We reached at about 1:00 pm and went to a local food restaurant just close to main-street in Fort portal. In about 30 minutes, we were done with our lunch then headed to the ‘Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru’ caves located 5km west of Fort portal town.

Led by a guide, we started the trek to the ‘Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru Caves’ while learning more about their history. The caves were named after live stalactite formation which resemble the ‘twin breasts’ of a woman. The main cave has a small powerful waterfall with cold water plunging down into the pool. The tour around the caves took us about 45 minutes before we headed for the crater lakes hike. The scenery once we hiked up the hills was jaw dropping – with excellent views of the Lake Kigere and other crate lakes. It took us about 2 hours to hike all the hills on our itinerary including Nyakasura hill, however one needs to be reasonably fit before the hike.

The trail down the hills leads to a nearby road that connects you to the community villages. After our hiking experience, we went back to the starting point then headed back to Fort portal town and checked into our accommodation. We chose a budget facility located close to town but there are many more options for travelers including Luxury lodges. In the evening, we set out a camp fire with dinner before resting for the night.

On the second day, our driver picked us up at 8:00 am then we moved to Fort portal town for a sumptuous locally made breakfast. There after we set off for Semliki National Park driving along Bundibugyo road for about 2 hours and 30 minutes. We had a stop–over along the way at the view point and took amazing pictures before continuing. We finally reached Semliki national park at 11:00 am and visited the park office. A gentleman, who introduced himself as the one in-charge of the park briefed us about what we should expect then advised us to do a precaution health check (this was mandatory). Thereafter, we did a forest walk while moving towards the Sempaya hot-springs. The Semliki forest is rich in vegetation, birds and primates are seen occasionally. After about 15 minutes, we reached the female hot springs known as Nyasimbi where the water burns up to 150°C. We then walked towards the male hot springs (Binitente) which are 20 minutes away. The Sempaya hot springs are the most famous attraction in Toro Semliki wildlife reserve.

After touring the hot springs, we went for a game drive in Semliki National Park filled with woodland & open Savannah to see birds, primates and wildlife. We were joined by a tour guide from the Semliki park offices who took us around to see Antelopes, Uganda Kobs, Baboons, Buffaloes and other wildlife. We came across different primate species but mostly the black and white collabus monkeys. The Ituri forest located within the park is another famous attraction and is home to numerous wildlife species and a local population of Batwa people. The game drive took us 2 hours before returning back on the main road (Bundibugyo road) that leads us to Fort portal. We had late lunch in fort portal town before returning back to Kampala for the rest of the evening but we made sure to capture all these moments on camera.

Fort portal is known as the tourism city of Uganda because of its ever green country sides and historical attractions like ‘Amabeere Caves’. Some of the places we were unable to visit but must be on your Itinerary include Tooro Kingdom palace and the nearby Kibale forest.

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