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Kisoro Town – The Gateway to Rwanda and Congo

Kisoro is located at the south western part of Uganda and is roughly 550 kilometers from Kampala city and borders Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the South and West, respectively. It also borders the Districts of Kanungu and Kabale in the North and East, respectively.

The common means of traveling to Kisoro is through taking bus coaches. There are different bus companies that operate on the Kisoro-Kampala route. Some of these companies are; Jaguar, Bismarkan, Horizon the Post Bus to mention but a few. Most people tend to prefer taking the Post Bus which is regarded to be more comfortable. The journey from Kampala to Kisoro can take between 8 to10 hours. It is also very possible to get a car hire from tour operators although it is more costly.

Kisoro is located in the most south westerly corner of Uganda. It is one of Uganda’s most scenic towns characterized with rolling green hills at the base of the Virunga Volcanoes.
The town is growing fast and it comprises of modern buildings.

Kisoro is the main spring board for gorilla tracking and other hikes in Mgahinga National Park. Though there is not much to see in Kisoro, the sorrounding hills, pretty lakes and well developed hotels make the city worthy exploring.

Areas of interest

Kisoro is fast becoming a tourist hub for tourists looking to explore the Virunga Region. Several travelers from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo enter Uganda through Kisoro Town.It is the perfect base for exploring Mgahinga National Park, Lake Mulehe, Lake Mutanda, Echuya Forest and Lake Chahafi.

From Kisoro you can also go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest using the traileads of Nkuringo and Rushaga in the southern part of the park.

Kisoro has striking features. The most outstanding feature is Mount Muhabura that rises to 4127m.

Local Market

During your visit, don’t miss the Irish Potato Market where the region’s main crop is sold to traders. There is also a Monday and Thursday Market along the Kabale Road.

Tourist information center
The Mgahinga National park office opposite the Kisoro tourist hotel can provide information about the national park as well as other tourist attractions in the area. The local tourist information portal is also useful in getting ideas on how to explore different places in Kisoro district and surrounding places.

Mechanical Emergencies:
Surprisingly you can deal with most mechanical emergencies in town. Several workshops are hidden in the back streets of town where both gas and arc welding is possible. New spare parts are limited but if you have a Landcruiser or Landrover you may well find a second hand spare part. There is 2 petrol stations where both petrol, diesel and paraffin are available. These stations carry engine, gear and transmission oils that can be purchased in small quantities from large barrels.

The boys at the Virunga Hotel will most certainly know where you can make a repair or find a spare part.

Good meals are available at the Virunga Hotel, Countryside, Travelers’ Rest, and Tourist Hotel. There are many small groceries in town and a bakery.

The Standard Bank has a branch in Kisoro. US Dollars can and should be used to pay for Gorilla tracking, National Parks fees and Volcano treks. There is a signpost below the National Parks office indicating a Forex Bureau, but its location was not ascertained. The Virunga Hotel will also change US Dollars, Sterling and Kenya Shillings. Rates in Kisoro will be very poor needless to say.

There is a market on Monday and Thursday in Kisoro. Markets in the district are very colourful occasions. There is a big market twice a week at Bunagana on the Uganda / DRC border on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Activities from Kisoro:

Lake Mutanda is walking distance from town. For those with transport the northern end of the lake offers spectacular scenery over the lake with the backdrop of the volcanoes. Local canoes can be hired for visits to islands in the lake.

Getting There

It can be accessed by road or by air. By road takes you approximately 460 km on tarmac road from Kampala to kabale and 80 km of murram road to Kisoro town. It’s an additional 13.5 km to the park gate. The road trip is recommended as it gives you a chance to view other wildlife, mostly birds as well as other attractions enroute, though a 4×4 car is strongly advised. Attractions that are found between the Kabale – Kisoro road would be the stretch of road along the scenic Lake Bunyonyi which is rumored to be the deepest in Africa, with its crystal clear waters and the Bamboo forest, in which a number of animals, mostly primates can be seen on the roadside.

For people travelling from abroad directly to Kisoro, flying to Kigali city in Rwanda is the best option. Kisoro is just 3 hours drive from Kigali which makes the road trip shorter compared to driving from Kampala.


There is no shortage of places to stay in Kisoro, budget, up market and camping.

Travellers Rest Hotel: Located in town 100m from the National Parks office. Newly refurbished, very clean, en-suite bathrooms and toilets. Bar and restaurant. Parking with watchman. Bookings through Gorilla Tours Uganda in Kampala.

Kisoro Tourist Hotel: Self-contained rooms all with showers and balcony. The hotel has large garden and safe secure parking is provided for visitors with their own vehicles. The booking offices of the Uganda Wildlife Authorities are situated directly opposite the hotel.

Mount Gahinga Lodge: Bookings through Volcanoes Safaris Kampala. Tel.041 346464/5. Located outside the Ntebeko Gate at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The camp offers up market accommodation on a full board basis in luxury bandas. Double luxury Banda non resident full board basis U$$820-.

3 Way Gorilla Resort:
Located on Cyanika Road (access road from Rwanda border) 2 kms from Kisoro town. Spacious camp ground, 5 traditional bandas and the main house with comfortable rooms, a bar and restaurant.

Bugondo Guesthouse: Located at 56 Chuho Road and sign posted on your approach to Kisoro town. 12 rooms 8 of which are self-contained.
DSTV in rooms, safe and secure parking facilty. Activies arranged for visitors. The guesthouse has a campsite on Lake Mulehe some 1o kms from Kisoro on the road to Nkuringo.

Heritage Guesthouse: This small centrally located guesthouse is opposite the Standard Bank on Kisoro’s short strip of tarmac. You will find 9 rooms all self-contained with DSTV. There is a small bar and restaurant area where meals are served. The hotel arranges local activities for clients.