If you’re thinking about going on safari in Uganda, the first question you’ve probably asked yourself is, “How much will my safari in Uganda cost?”
Uganda is one of the most overlooked Africa safari destinations, yet it is the most naturally diverse safari country on the continent. It’s also one of the affordable safari destinations you can visit in Africa. There is literally a safari to suit every budget.
The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan shilling. US dollars are, however, widely accepted and it is a good idea to travel with a small supply of both to use for curios, tips, and optional extras like drinks at your safari lodge. Exchange Rate at the time of publishing: US$1 = UGX 3,680.57 (Ugandan Shillings). This will change so check close to your departure.
Average Costs of a Safari in Uganda (Per person per day)
The costings table below gives you an instant overview of how much the average safari in Uganda will cost, depending on your travel style.
Using this table allows you to quickly match your daily budget to the kind of Uganda safari tour you can afford. There is one – large, hairy thing – that has a serious impact on Uganda safari budgets: the mountain gorilla. If you want to see Uganda’s most iconic wildlife attraction then you need to budget $700 for the gorilla trekking permit alone. Traveling during the low season months of October to November and March to April helps reduce the Uganda safari costs.
|Comfort Level||Private (per day)||Group (per day)|
|Budget Accommodation||$ 275||$ 225|
|Mid Range Accommodation||$ 425||$ 275|
|Luxury Accommodation||$ 600||$ 550|
|High End Accommodation||$ 750||N/A|
Rates in USD $
Excluding additional costs like international flights, tips and personal items
Additional Costs Explained
The following list covers some additional Uganda safari costs – some obvious, some less so – that you might need to add into your overall budget of Uganda safari.
1. International Flights
We will gladly book your international flights.
However, we find that many clients book their own flights, so we do not include international flights in our quotations unless specifically requested.
Direct international flights to Uganda aren’t that common. It’s often considerably cheaper to fly via Nairobi and change to a Kenyan budget airline there.
2. Visa Cost
A Uganda visa is required by most nationalities, including those of EU, United States, and Australia. The single-entry visa or Uganda tourist Visa costs $50.
If you will also be traveling to Kenya or Rwanda (Tanzania is not included in this visa) get an East African tourist visa for $100.
Check your flight schedule. If you arrive in the afternoon, your Uganda tour may start the next day and so you might need accommodation before your safari begin.
This may also apply at the end of your safari if you have an early morning flight.
Uganda safari accommodation is generally a little cheaper than in neighboring Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya.
A couple of hundred US dollars will often get you a very pleasant place to stay. Around the gorilla national park of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest prices are higher.
Health-wise you may probably need several vaccinations before arrival in Uganda. A yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entry into Uganda.
Uganda is situated on the Equator and the equatorial/tropical climate means that mosquitoes are common in Uganda. It is that recommended that you take anti-malarial medication (seek advice from your local doctor).
Tipping is expected in better-quality Uganda safari lodges, hotels and camps. Drivers and guides also expect to be tipped. You can bring a couple of hundred dollars in smaller bills to cover tips. To give you a hint: US$ 10 to 15 per person per day.
6. Travel Insurance
Standard travel insurance is fine for most Uganda safari safari activities, including gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking. If you are heading up to the remote, little-visited far northeastern corner (Karamoja Region) of Uganda, where there have been security issues in the past, check that your insurance is valid for that region.
7. Souvenirs and curios
It’s always nice to take something home with you or get gifts for someone back home. There will be plenty of opportunities to shop around for something special as a keepsake from your Uganda safari.
8. Alcoholic drinks
These are very seldom included in the cost of Uganda safari. If you’re partial to scotch or beer, the best budget for some recreational drinking.
Packing space is limited due to weight restrictions on flights. Laundry services are available, but these will some times have to come out of your own pocket. Further Reading: What to pack for a safari in Uganda?
10 factors influencing the Uganda safari Cost
Now you have considered the additional Uganda safari costs, you can start to look at all those other variables that can influence overall cost of a safari in Uganda.
The general cost of a Uganda safari tour varies hugely depending on several of factors.
The most important are the time of year you will be visiting the country, the national parks and wildlife reserves you wish to visit, and how exclusive you are prepared to go.
1. Your Length of Stay
We hardly need to state that the length of time you spend on a safari in Uganda has a direct impact on how much it is going to cost you.
And if you are buying a fully packaged Uganda safari trip using the same company like Tulambule for everything, then the per-day price does tend to drop slightly the longer you spend on safari.
Otherwise, if putting together your own Uganda safari itinerary the per-day costs do not change much whether you spend a weekend or a month in the country. Hiring a safari vehicle and driver is always cheaper per day if you hire the vehicle for a longer period.
2. Level of accommodation you are comfortable with
As with any holiday, accommodation is going to eat up the lion’s share of your Uganda safari budget. And the more comfort you require the more a Uganda safari will cost.
When compared to, for example, Tanzania, Rwanda, or Kenya, Ugandan safari accommodation is surprisingly good value and you can get a double room at a decent mid-range safari lodge or camp for around $200.
There is a wide variety of accommodations with various amenities available throughout Uganda and prices vary as much as the styles.
3. Location of your preferred accommodation
Uganda safari accommodation is generally split between those found within the safari national parks/protected areas or those that are a little further away.
The latter is usually cheaper. The areas surrounding Uganda safaris national parks tend to be more developed than in much of Tanzania and Kenya.
There are often villages and towns not far from the main entrances to the country’s wildlife safari parks. Several of these have fairly cheap accommodation.
Accommodation close to the Uganda gorilla safari parks is almost always more expensive than similar places elsewhere.
4. Your Group Size
Traveling on an organized Uganda group tour (organized through a local Uganda operator) can be cheaper than going it alone.
For a simple safari example, a lone traveler will shoulder the full transport cost of a safari vehicle over the number of days it is hired. Any expense that can be shared can be reduced by adding more people to your safari.
One thing that never changes, whether you are traveling solo or in a big group, is park entry fees and the gorilla trekking permit, which are always per person.
As an add-on to your organized Uganda safari, and for a different experience for the more adventurous, you could try and create your own small group, hire a vehicle and driver, and explore some of the country at your leisure. This will give you a sense of independence and flexibility.
5. When You Want To Visit Uganda
Another thing to consider when planning you’re a safari in Uganda is the season. Uganda follows the classic East African weather pattern with two rainy seasons between March and May and October and November.
However, unlike Tanzania and Kenya, some of the most famous national parks in Uganda such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Kibale Forest National Park are rainforest parks, and rain of varying quantities can be expected year-round.
But if you can deal with some mud, lots of leeches and some slippery roads, then the start and end of the rainy seasons can be When Is The Best Time To Visit Uganda?“>reasonable times to go on a safari Uganda with overall lower costs. The July-to-early September and Christmas high seasons are naturally enough the busiest and priciest times to visit.
6. How Do You Want To Get Around
The easiest way of getting around Uganda is by air. Aerolink and Bar Aviation use small planes to connect the major Uganda national parks.
However, Uganda fly-in safaris are very expensive. Even the shortest hop is unlikely to cost less than $200 per person.
The small size of the country and close proximity of many of the parks mean that rather than flying many people hire a 4×4 safari land cruiser and driver (at around $125 per day) or a minivan for US$50 per day.
And in Uganda this is perhaps the choice way to get around as it allows greater flexibility and the chance to see more of this stunning country than just the parks and reserves.
7. Where You Want To Go
Trekking through Uganda’s forest jungles to see wild mountain gorillas is simply the most intense wildlife experience the planet can offer.
But you pay for the honor. Uganda gorilla permits cost $700 per person (you spend one hour with the gorillas). Chimpanzee trekking permits cost $200 at Kibale Forest National Park (the best place), but as little as $50 in Kalinzu Forest.
With all aspects of a gorilla safari tour being expensive, the best way of keeping the cost of your safari in Uganda down is by not seeing the mountain gorillas at all. Uganda has many other protected areas full of interesting wildlife that can be visited for much less.
A white-water rafting adventure on the Nile River in Jinja or a trek in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park is gaining in popularity, but each will add a chunk of money.
Much cheaper is a few days chilling on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, a beautiful island-studded lake with lots of good-value accommodation.
A safari in Tanzania or a safari in Kenya is a popular add-on to a Uganda safari adventure and is especially easy to organize if you fly via Nairobi. This will add quite considerably to overall tour costs though.
10. Specialized interests
A special-interest safari in Uganda is most likely to be one focused exclusively on primates or birds.
Uganda is quite probably the single best safari destination in Africa for those interested in seeing chimpanzees, gorillas and smaller monkeys in their natural habitat, but the cost of gorilla- and chimpanzee-viewing permits is high, which means such a safari is going to cost a lot.
Uganda is also among the top best birding destination in Africa with 50% of the total bird species on the continent.
And a safari focused on bird watching will cost more for a specialized guide, but otherwise is likely cheaper overall due to the likelihood of visiting lesser-known parks and reserves like Budongo Forest Reserve, Semuliki National Park and Mabamba Swamp.
Budget Myths for Your Uganda Safari
When booking/planning your Uganda tour there are a few budget travel myths that need to be corrected. These travel myths relate to safari agents, package deals, and the do-it-yourself.
Myth: Tour Operators are expensive
The reality is that tour operators have a wealth of experience to draw on. Their networks within safari travel circles mean that they’ll have access to special deals, transfers, room availability, and the latest news and reviews from safari destinations.
They are there to assist you in finding the best deal for your budget. Being able to assemble your Uganda safari itinerary from start to finish gives them the bargaining power to find the best Uganda safari deals.
Myth: Safari Package deals are cheaper
Though safari package deals do offer you one “all-in” safari price, and might make your trip convenient and affordable, it also locks you into certain activities and destinations that have a ridged price structure.
A tailor-made Uganda safari is not just tailored around you and your safari interests, but also your budget. A bespoke Uganda safari enables you to decide where to pull your budget safari strings and where to splurge for those special experiences at the top of your safari bucket list.
Myth: A “Do-it-yourself” Safari will be cheaper
A lot of independent travelers refuse to use tour operators.
There is a belief that the DIY safari experience, in addition to being less expensive, will give them more freedom from a rigid safari itinerary, the ability to change direction at a whim, and so a more fulfilling safari experience.
Yet, going on a Uganda safari requires traveling long distances, often to remote and out-of-the-way places.
A Uganda safari expert’s specialized knowledge of safari destination guides gives them the edge in putting together the most budget-friendly options.
A DIY safari will not always be cheaper or even practicable for isolated areas.
How Much Does a Safari In Uganda Cost? – Final Thoughts
Because the the price range for a Uganda safari is broad from economical to extremely expensive, the first thing to do when you start planning your Ugandan safari is decide how much you can or are willing to spend.
Tulambule Uganda Safaris, an experienced tour operator based in East Africa, can customize the cost of your safari considering when you go, the number of people in your party, and your choice of accommodations.
One of the most basic factors to decide upon is whether or not you and your friends and family are willing to share your game drive vehicle (and therefore driver and guide) with other guests.
Doing so can seriously lower the cost of your safari in Uganda and some say it’s one of the best parts of being on safari. Exploring the African bush with new friends becomes a bonding experience as you marvel at the wildlife and absorb the sights and sounds of the savannah and rainforest. Or, maybe you favour the intimate and flexible experience of a private safari.
Contact Tulambule Uganda Safaris to tailor your affordable Uganda safari.