Tips on how to Journey Uganda on a Funds

The view overlooking the lush forests and jungles of Uganda
Posted: 9/21/2020 | September 21st, 2020

In the present day’s visitor submit is from Alicia Erickson. She’s a journey author who splits her time primarily between East and Southern Africa, India, and Seattle. She’s writing about how to save cash in Uganda, a rustic I’ve longed to go to however nonetheless haven’t gotten round to doing. Enter Alicia, who will give us suggestions and tips to save lots of on our subsequent go to.

The magnificent and various shade, vegetation, and wildlife of Uganda so impressed Winston Churchill that he nicknamed this East African nation “the pearl of Africa,” a reputation that has caught ever since.

Since shedding its violent fame after a risky interval throughout the 1980s, Uganda has modified loads. Specifically, it’s invested sources into creating its wealth of nationwide parks, largely aimed towards the repopulation of wildlife and the acutely aware improvement of infrastructure to assist make its huge wilderness accessible.

Though East Africa is understood for its costly high-end lodges and actions, Uganda is extra inexpensive than a few of its neighbors. It spoils adventure-seekers with its bounteous nature. In a comparatively compact and simply navigable space, one can trek with mountain gorillas in dense jungle, go to espresso and tea plantations, loosen up by volcanic lakes, drive by way of savannah plentiful in tree-climbing lions and different wildlife, hike snow-capped mountains, and raft down rapids within the Nile River!

Uganda has enthralled me since I first began visiting in 2010 and, over quite a few visits, I’ve solely developed a deeper appreciation for it. On this submit, I need to share that love for the nation and assist you journey Uganda on a price range!

Tips on how to Save Cash on Transportation

Two female travelers on safari in Uganda standing in a jeep
Transportation in Uganda is available in a variety of private and non-private choices that cater to quite a lot of budgets. Public buses and motorbikes are the most cost effective and most direct methods to get to main locations, although on the lookout for offers on non-public transportation will enhance your flexibility and ease of journey.

Boda Bodas (motorbikes) – Public motorbikes, generally known as boda bodas, are grime low-cost in areas reminiscent of Jinja and Kampala however are tougher to seek out in rural areas and round nationwide parks. Whereas they’re essentially the most cost-effective type of transportation — between 2,000 and 4,000 Ugandan shillings (UGX) ($0.50–1.00 USD), although costs are at all times negotiable — train warning when utilizing boda bodas, as they’ve a fame for being fairly harmful: helmets aren’t offered, and drivers are recognized for being reckless.

Nonetheless, Secure Boda and Uber, which join passengers with drivers by way of their respective apps, have not too long ago come to Kampala and supply way more dependable drivers and standardized pricing, with minimal fares beginning at 1,500 UGX ($0.75 USD).

Matatus (native buses) – Native minibuses, generally known as matatus, are an affordable — although not altogether simple — method to get round Kampala. Matatus additionally run between completely different areas in Uganda, typically with no set schedule, and depart as soon as the bus has crammed up.

Costs depend upon route, although they’re usually below 1,000 UGX ($0.25 USD). To catch one, simply wave down certainly one of these rundown white vans from the aspect of the street — however be warned that they’re normally cramped and crammed past capability.

Taxis – Taxis are the most costly method to get round cities, although additionally the most secure. Costs are at all times negotiable, although count on to pay between 10,000 and 40,000 UGX ($2.75–11 USD) for a journey, relying on distance and time of day.

Coach Buses – Coach buses, run by various corporations, are used to journey lengthy distances inside Uganda in addition to to different East African locations, reminiscent of Mombasa and Kigali. Prices are depending on the route however usually run round 30,000 UGX ($Eight USD) for a ten-hour journey.

Non-public Automobile
Renting a automobile is a perfect method to independently discover Uganda and go deeper into among the parks the place public transportation doesn’t go. Vehicles could be employed with or with no driver, in addition to with or with out tenting tools.

Though not needed, a driver could be helpful not solely in navigating potholed roads but in addition by offering a wealth of historic and cultural insights and in recognizing wildlife on safari. A dependable firm I’ve used is Lifetime Safaris, which provided a automobile with a driver beginning at $80 USD/day.

Tips on how to Save Cash on Lodging

A small traditional hut in a village in Uganda
Uganda’s main points of interest and nationwide parks don’t solely supply high-end lodging but in addition tenting and low-budget hostels and guesthouses for price range vacationers.

Hostels – There are solely a handful of hostels in Uganda, principally in Kampala. Purple Chilli presents dorms at its property in Kampala for $12 USD/night time, and Om Bunyonyi on Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda supplies dorms for $15 USD/night time.

Guesthouses – Guesthouses can differ broadly in value. A good-quality one with comparatively dependable amenities in touristic areas, reminiscent of Om Bunyonyi, runs round $25 USD/night time for a double non-public room, although count on costs to be a lot larger round nationwide parks. In the event you don’t e book prematurely and are stopping by way of a small city for the night time, you may simply discover quite simple guesthouses for a lot much less, roughly $10 USD/night time. Water and electrical energy will typically be unreliable on this model of lodging, nevertheless.

Tenting – Tenting is a good possibility within the areas surrounding the nationwide parks, reminiscent of Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth, although costs will differ by location. At its web site in Murchison Falls, Purple Chilli presents tenting for $Eight USD/night time. Different websites and lodges supply tenting for $5–10 USD/night time. Many locations supply tents for hire, although bringing your personal tools will prevent much more cash.

Eco-lodges – Funds-consciousness might be not what you take note of while you assume “eco-lodge,” given the development towards fancy eco-friendly safari lodges in East Africa. Nonetheless, lodges and safari camps are a distinguished type of lodging within the nationwide parks, and never all of them have to interrupt the financial institution! There are some fairly priced ones that also generally is a good splurge on a price range vacation. They will value round $100 USD per night time and normally embrace three meals a day as nicely, lowering different every day prices.

Tips on how to Save Cash on Meals and Drinks
Consuming at native eating places and shopping for contemporary produce and snacks from markets will prevent a major amount of cash than consuming at Western-style eateries, that are primarily concentrated in Kampala.

Eating places – Kampala has an intensive worldwide restaurant scene. They’re costly compared to native eating places, although cheaper than consuming out in Europe or North America and cheaper additionally than related eating places in different main East African cities. Prices vary from 30,000 to 50,000 UGX ($8–15 USD) for a mean meal.

Native delicacies, in distinction, is pretty easy — consisting largely of potatoes, rice, beans, cabbage, chapati (unleavened flatbread), and ugali (maize flour porridge) — and way more inexpensive. There are numerous Ethiopian eating places as nicely, providing extra mid-range meals.

Meals-on-the-go – Uganda has a handful of road meals objects, essentially the most well-known being an egg and chapati wrap generally known as a “rolex,” which might even have completely different greens added and value as little as 1,500–3,000 UGX ($0.40–0.80 USD). Replenish on contemporary tropical fruit, which is plentiful in markets and alongside the street; the worth is at all times up for negotiation.

Cheap roadside meals and snack stands promoting corn, samosas, nuts, and grilled meat are additionally prevalent and handy on lengthy journeys. Consuming in these methods can save important prices in Uganda.

Drinks – Overseas-import wine and spirits could be present in Kampala, although cocktails and wine are expensive within the capital metropolis’s posh bars, eating places, and golf equipment. Your finest guess is to stay with native beers reminiscent of Nile, which ought to value 3,000–5,000 UGX ($0.80–1.35 USD), relying on the venue you purchase it from. Or check out Uganda’s native gin, known as Waragi, at round 1,000 UGX ($0.25 USD) a pour. This potent liquor turns into extra tolerable when blended with a very good dose of tonic water and lime.


Journey Actions Prices

A young baby gorilla in the jungles of Uganda
Regardless of all of the money-saving recommendations above, your price range might be extremely depending on what number of wildlife and journey actions you need to partake in. Most definitely you’ll need to do a few the higher-cost points of interest, reminiscent of whitewater rafting down the Nile, trying to find tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth Nationwide Park, or trekking with mountain gorillas in Bwindi Nationwide Forest.

Nonetheless, it’s simple to intersperse these actions with low-cost days of enjoyable by crater lakes, taking self-guided walks within the mountainous areas of southwestern Uganda, or volunteering. On these days, you may spend $30 USD/day and even much less!

Listed below are some typical adventure-activity prices:

  • Queen Elizabeth Nationwide Park: $40 USD/day for admission
  • Murchison Falls: $40 USD/day for admission
  • Rafting: $140 USD/per particular person for 5-6 hours
  • Chimpanzee monitoring in Kibale: $100 USD/allow
  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi: $600 USD/allow (growing to $700 USD in July 2020)


Different Ideas for Saving Cash in Uganda

Beside the above, listed here are another common suggestions for reducing your prices in your go to:

  • Discover past the high-priced points of interest – Areas exterior of the foremost points of interest are nonetheless plentiful in nature and are sometimes extra fascinating, as there are few to no vacationers. Assume volcanic lakes, little-known mountains, not often visited waterfalls, almost-deserted islands, and dense forests and low and tea plantations.
  • Journey throughout the low season – Don’t let the wet season scare you off! Uganda is at its most lush throughout the wet months (March to Could and October to November), crowds are at a minimal, and permits and lodging are sometimes discounted to encourage tourism.
  • Journey off the overwhelmed path – Try Lake Bunyonyi, the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria, and Sipi Falls, for instance. In the event you’re trying to do trekking within the area, the Rwenzoris are value contemplating — whereas they aren’t “low-cost,” they’re a way more inexpensive possibility than Mt. Kilimanjaro and you are able to do shorter or longer treks relying in your time and price range.
  • Think about volunteering – Keep away from volunteer packages that cost cash, however take into account trying into alternatives reminiscent of these on Workaway, which can assist get monetary savings on lodging and supply a extra in-depth cultural expertise. Grassroots Volunteering is one other nice useful resource.
  • Reserving recommendation: Reserving gorilla and trekking permits prematurely is advisable to make sure a spot, since permits are restricted, however skip reserving package deal safaris, as tour firm prices are a lot larger than if one travels independently.
  • Keep for an extended time – This may initially sound counterintuitive, however an extended keep means you gained’t essentially solely be concentrating on the foremost vacationer points of interest. You’ll even have a greater concept of methods to navigate native transportation and turn out to be higher acquainted with among the regional cultures and smaller, underrated rural areas.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle – To make sure your water is clear and protected (and to keep away from spending cash on single-use plastic) deliver a reusable water bottle and a filter. LifeStraw makes a bottle with a built-in filter that ensures your water is protected and clear — regardless of the place on the earth you’re.



With the ever-increasing influence of globalization, as soon as off-the-beaten-path locales are being placed on the map. A lot of Uganda nonetheless stays uncooked and fewer developed, although it’s more and more bettering infrastructure makes it the proper vacation spot for journey vacationers and outside lovers. Improvement and costs are already on the rise so don’t hesitate to discover this wild and delightful East African nation earlier than the key is out!

Alicia Erickson grew up as a third-culture child, creating a love for journey at a younger age. She has been a digital nomad for the previous 5 years, working as a political analyst, social entrepreneur, author, and yoga trainer whereas she explores the world. She splits her time primarily between East and Southern Africa, India, and Seattle, the place she seeks off-the-beaten-path locales and is especially drawn to mountains and the savannah, meals, wine, and design tradition.

Guide Your Journey: Logistical Ideas and Tips

Guide Your Flight
Discover a low-cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite engines like google, as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is being left unturned.

Guide Your Lodging
You’ll be able to e book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the biggest stock. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use, as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and inns.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you in opposition to sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes incorrect. I by no means go on a visit with out it, as I’ve had to make use of it many instances prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that supply the most effective service and worth are:

On the lookout for the most effective corporations to save cash with?
Try my useful resource web page for the most effective corporations to make use of while you journey! I record all these I exploit — they usually’ll prevent money and time too!

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