Guide to Budget safari Uganda, low cost gorilla trekking and wildlife safaris plus advise on how to save.
Many people think you need to save up millions before you go on an African safari and have an enjoyable experience, but that is not the case. You can have an amazing experience even if you do not have millions to pay for the very best in everything. African safaris are generally quite expensive but we have a few tips on how you can save money and enjoy a budget safari in Uganda.
How can I save money on a Uganda safari trip?
Here are a few practical ways on how to enjoy a budget safari and save money on your Uganda safari trip.
Book your trip well in advance: if you intend to travel during the peak season, or want to go gorilla trekking, make sure you book your trip early. Book with a safari company preferably one in Uganda. The peak season is June, July, August, December and January. Book with a Safari company early enough, so they can make the necessary arrangements for you.
Most westerners take vacation breaks and visit Uganda in those months that make up the peak season, so many lodging facilities are fully
booked, especially the good affordable ones. So if you book early, the safari company can make your reservation at the guest house or hotel, or lodge early, and you will not have to spend much more on more expensive and costly lodging because the good budget accommodation is all taken.
Travel as a group: a budget safari Uganda with a group of four to six friends, or family is not only much more fun but also lessens the pressure on your wallet. In a group, the price per person goes down because you share the costs. Although park entry fees, food and accommodation prices might not change, the transport costs will change. And transport cost is one of the cost factors for a Uganda safari trip. As a group you share the vehicle and transport costs, unlike a solo safari where you foot the entire transport cost alone.
Vehicles: you can travel around Uganda by bus, whether you are travelling in a group or on your own. If you are travelling in a group and want to stick to a budget safari, you can let your tour operator make budget vehicle arrangements for you. It is cheaper to make vehicle arrangements through a safari company, than on your own. Chances are prices will be hiked if you approach service providers on your own and your budget safari will end up not being so budget after all. Many safari companies have company vehicles that they use to transport their clients, at a cost of course, but often the price is reasonable and within your stated budget.
Budget or Moderate lodging Facilities: Lodging is another major cost factor for a Uganda safari. You can cut costs by staying in budget or moderately priced hotels and lodging facilities. Prices of lodging in or around the game parks can be as high as $450 per day full board.
They are very good and comfortable, but many travelers cannot not afford such luxury accommodations especially if they have are going gorilla trekking and have to pay $500 dollars for a permit. There is some accommodation that is less costly and comfortable. That is why it is important to book your trip early so you can make accommodation booking in these moderately priced places before they are full for the season. In Kampala and Entebbe for example; there are hotels that are very nice and will charge you $400 per night, and there are hotels not as amazing as the very expensive ones, but comfortable with adequate facilities that will charge between $100 to $250 per night and even cheaper ones at $60 or even as low as $26 you just have to choose what you want and book early enough.
Ugandan Visas: while you can buy a Ugandan visa from your home country, it comes with extra charges for mailing and passport photos. If you come to Uganda, you can buy a visa at Entebbe airport, at only $50, no mailing charges or passport photo costs necessary.
Foreign exchange: the best currency to carry from the west is the US dollar. It has continually risen against the Uganda shilling in recent months so you are guaranteed a favorable exchange. However go to a forex bureau, you will get better rates than if you change your money from a hotel or restaurant.
Where to eat: Even people on safari do have to eat. You can eat at a luxury hotel where the food is very costly, or eat out at more affordable places with good food. You just need to know which places are good and that’s not hard you can ask around, or consult you tour operator. They can be very helpful. In Kampala you can have a good $5 meal.
Uganda’s Nightlife: if you like to party, and want to explore night life in Kampala, the best thing to do is hire a vehicle for the night and a sober driver and have them take you around to the best places. Ask your tour operator for recommendations.
We hope these tips work for you, and help you save on your Uganda safari trip.
Uganda is growing in popularity as a safari destination, and every day tour companies across the country including us here at Insight safari holidays get numerous requests for safaris in Uganda. But the one thing that’s common with most of these requests is that what the client is willing to pay is often way below the actual cost of a Uganda safari. There is no way to enjoy the pearl of Africa on a shoe string budget. Some of these budgets are made stemming from the misconception that because Africa is a poor continent and Uganda a third world country, then everything must be cheap, but unfortunately that is not the case.
What is usually included in the price of a Uganda safari?
Usually your tour operator will do their best to fit your itinerary in your budget, if it is reasonable. Let us break down some of the things needed and the costs you will incur in order to have a normal safari trip.
Transportation: transportation in Uganda is not that expensive, and tour companies usually have vehicle to transport you to your various destinations. Transport costs vary depending on where you are traveling to in Uganda, but they should be he least of your worries. Transport costs include vehicle, driver/guide, fuel, and boat rides too.
Lodging: lodging costs can be quite high depending on how long your stay is, and where you want to stay. Up-market lodges can cost you as many 1000 dollars per night, some of them might charge a little less say between 256 and 800 dollars are night. Moderate budget lodging is not as easy to find especially close to the parks, and are usually not that good, but they could go for up to 100 dollars a night. We absolutely do not recommend shoestring lodging, since our aim is that you enjoy your safari in Uganda. See 8 Days Uganda safari holiday
Permits: chimpanzee and gorilla trekking permits, if these activities are on your itinerary, then they should be included in the safari cost. Gorilla permits in Uganda are at 500 USD each.
Entrance fees: all entrance fees, including vehicle entrance fees are also part of safari costs.
Extra personal costs such as dry cleaning, laundry, beers, soda, are not included in the safari quotes.
Any costs above if not included in your overall safari cost quotation from your safari company of choice will be paid by you when you arrive.
A safari, unlike any other tour or a visit to a country is unique-Africa is very different, adventurous and almost magical and most of often a trip here is “a once in a lifetime journey.”
A Uganda safari is a once in a lifetime journey, you do not want to skimp on it and diminish the magic of the experience. It would be perfect if you can see and visit every place on your itinerary; visiting game parks, going on game drives, bird watching, mountain climbing or biking, white water rafting, chimpanzee or gorilla trekking, seeing all the scenic wonders the pearl has to offer. We want you to have the full Uganda experience. That is why we recommend that you do some research about your destination; costs, transportation accommodation, and confirm your findings with a safari company. Some of the prices you might find in your research could be either too high or too low. After doing your research and deciding on what you would like on your itinerary, contact and consult a safari company of your choice, preferably one in Uganda, so you can budget for you Uganda safari realistically.
After a lot of research you finally make up your mind to go to for an African safari in Uganda. You get in touch with various tour operators and individuals and ask for itineraries and price quotations hoping to find an affordable package for you and perhaps your travel companions. This planning process can at times be very costly in terms of money and time and also quite frustrating. It is important to look at more than one itinerary and do some comparisons in order to get a good deal that will not leave disappointed, or broke.
How can you make effective comparisons between price quotes?
Here are a few tips on how to compare safari quotes and pick the best one for you.
You need to break down the various offerings of each operator and what their quote says;
Compare the kind of vehicles. Vehicles that are not well equipped for safaris are often much cheaper than real safari vehicles with pop-up roofs for you to view the scenery and take pictures. Take for example comparison between a Toyota safari van and a Toyota land cruiser, the cruiser will cost more. The differences in fuel consumption should also be put into consideration.
Location and quality of accommodation is one major element that causes price differences in safari quotes. Compare lodgings offered inside the park and those outside the park and how they affect the price of the safari package. In this case lower prices do not necessary mean a good deal, the accommodation could really poor and unsatisfying.
What else is included in the price quotation?
Be sure to get details on what the safari quotations include. Are meals; lunch, dinner and breakfast covered in quotation? Will you be provided with bottled water during the rides? And is it a stripped down safari, or an all inclusive one? Read the different itineraries carefully and ask such question to guide you as you decide
If you going chimpanzee or gorilla trekking, are the permits included in the safari price quotation? Many tour and travel operators exclude permit costs from the quotation, and yet they include the activities in the itineraries. It can be quite painful and annoying to find yourself spending a lot more than you expected because you have to pay for permits as well.
The best thing to do when booking safaris in African countries such as Uganda, is proper research on your destination. There is information in online travel magazines that can give you an idea of what to look out for.
Other than that, planning for a safari trip can be so much fun.