Fort Portal is located approximately 320 kilometres (200 mi) by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city, on an all-tarmac two-lane highway. The coordinates of the town are: 0° 39′ 36″ North, 30° 16′ 30″ East (Latitude:0.6600; Longitude:30.2750).
Fort Portal is named for Sir Gerald Portal, a British Special Commissioner for Uganda, whose statue graces the main road of the town. Situated between the Rwenzori Mountains, Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, it is an important market town. Several crater lakes and the Semliki Valley also lie near the town.
The 2002 national census estimated the population of Fort Portal at about 41,000. In 2008 the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), estimated the population of the town at 44,900. The estimated population of Fort Portal in 2011 was approximately 47,100, according to UBOS.