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Uganda Budget Safaris & Gorilla Tours

4.4/5  –  365 Uganda Reviews

Uganda offers a great range of budget safari tours. It is increasingly recognized as an up-and-coming safari destination. Seeing mountain gorillas has turned into one of the must-do bucket list wildlife encounters in the world. Uganda is one of only three countries to offer this (the other two being Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo). While mountain gorillas have put Uganda on the travel map, the country has a lot more to offer. This includes a savannah wildlife experience that is potentially less crowded, cheaper and more off the beaten track than in nearby Kenya and Tanzania. Fodor’s Travel, the internationally recognized guidebook publisher, featured Uganda on its annual ‘Go List’ as one of the top destinations to visit.

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1-20 of 516 cheap gorilla trekking tours & safaris to Uganda

5 Questions About Uganda Budget Safaris


5 Questions About Uganda Budget Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Why should I choose Uganda for a budget trip?

“Uganda is less expensive and offers more variety than Kenya and Tanzania, which are the more obvious choices for a safari in East Africa. Uganda is a brilliant mix of savannah and forest. The country is also relatively compact, making a driving safari more attractive and saving on expensive domestic flights. Reputable tour operators offer comfortable camping safaris and there are plenty of mid-range hotels to choose from. Self-drive safaris have become an increasingly popular holiday option as well, with specialized companies offering this type of adventure tour. Travelers to Uganda tend to want to go mountain gorilla trekking, and this is quite an expensive activity. If you can afford it, the one-off expense of US$700 is more than worth it. And it’s less than half the price of gorilla trekking in neighboring Rwanda.”


What is included in a Uganda budget safari?

“The inclusions in a budget safari in Uganda can vary according to the package. Make sure what is and isn’t included in your budget safari package is clear and in writing. Extras can add up quickly and may even cause unexpected tensions with your tour operator on the ground. Check, for example, if airport transfers are included. Breakfast is usually included, but dinner and lunch might not be. Don’t forget to budget for drinks. Laundry, while sometimes included in top-end safaris, is usually not included on a budget safari. Whatever level of safari you’re on, tips are always expected (and never included).”


Can you describe a typical day on a Uganda budget trip?

“Most itineraries for a Uganda budget safari will cover a drive-around circuit of Uganda’s top attractions. A typical day on safari in one of the savannah reserves usually starts with a wake-up call before sunrise. After a quick cup of coffee, you’ll be on your way to look for predator action. Mid-morning, you might come back to the lodge or campsite for brunch. You’ll get some time to rest during the midday heat. Then you’ll go out again wildlife viewing on an afternoon drive, or maybe a boat trip. Other days, you might take a packed lunch with you and spend a full day out. This is so you can reach areas further away from your base. Days in the forest, where chimpanzee and gorilla trekking are the main activities, will be different. You will usually leave for the trek after a hearty breakfast and come back to your base for a late lunch. After a morning clambering around slippery forest slopes, the afternoon is usually spent at leisure. As time is usually limited to a safari of 5 to 14 days, the schedule tends to be tight and demanding. There will be days spent viewing wildlife in the parks and other days driving between the parks. The roads can get rough, and driving times can mean long hours in the vehicle. Usually there’s enough of interest between the parks to keep you occupied.”


What type of accommodation can I expect?

“Uganda has matured as a tourist destination in recent years. As tourist figures have risen, new accommodations have opened up in and around all the parks. There are now options available for most budgets. Uganda is behind some other safari destinations in terms of top-end luxury facilities, but it has a nice niche in the mid-range category. Other budget and mid-range accommodations are usually located outside the parks, within a half-hour drive to the gates. Budget accommodation used to be slightly shabby in Uganda, but some new neat, no-frills places have sprung up in recent years. The traditional safari camp style has become more popular and there is a tendency towards cottages and permanent safari tents. Permanent safari tents are, in effect, a canvas room with proper beds and en suite facilities. Real camping is usually the cheapest option and some companies offer a very comfortable setup. The campsites are usually inside the parks, well located for wildlife viewing and often in stunning locations.”


What are the typical costs of a Uganda budget safari?

“You should budget a starting price of US$250 per person per day. This price obviously depends on a lot of factors and that makes it difficult to put an accurate figure on the cost of a Uganda budget safari. While a safari is usually not cheap, opting for camping or budget accommodation will require a considerably lower budget when compared to using established mid-range and luxury accommodation. The season makes a difference too, as low- or high-season rates may apply. The parks don’t lend themselves to mass tourism, which is part of the appeal. That does mean that costs tend to be high, even on a cheap Uganda safari. Most safaris in East Africa are tailor-made and transport is usually in sturdy 4x4 vehicles with pop-up roofs to facilitate wildlife viewing. There are some hidden costs on a safari, such as tips for rangers and guides, fees for optional activities and drinks. On most safaris the park fees, accommodation, transport, tour guide and all meals are included. Verify with your tour operator what is included and what is not. Tips for your guide can add up. If the guide did a good job, a tip of around US$10 to US$15 per person per day will be expected.”


Uganda Reviews

4.4/5 365 Reviews
Lizzie Williams  –  
South Africa ZA

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Mountain gorillas, chimps and birds in lush, well-watered and incredibly green hills and valleys

Most of the superlative descriptions you read about Uganda are totally true; it really is a place of shimmering lakes, lofty mountains and mysterious forests. Uganda is best known as the place to see mountain gorillas, and no safari to the...

Full Review

Sue Watt  –  
United Kingdom UK

Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.

Great apes, great landscapes, great adventures

Most people understandably come to Uganda for its gorillas. Almost half of the world’s population of around 1,060 mountain gorillas lives in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks, and spending that precious...

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Brooke  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Apr 9, 2024
Absolutely gorgeous with amazing wildlife and friendly people.

I booked a two day solo tour to Murchinson Falls National Park through Immersion . My guide Andrew was so friendly and knowledgeable. He picked me up at my Airbnb in Kampala and was an excellent driver on some very busy and rustic roads. We...

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Sandra  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: Mar 31, 2024
Uganda has the most beautiful natural sceneries, the "big five" & a variety of birds

The safari with Yaneta was an amazing experience. If you want to see the big five, then Uganda's National parks such as Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth amongst others are the best places to visit and explore. Even birdlovers will be...

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Vickie  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Mar 27, 2024
Trip of a lifetime!

Ronnie with Dav Safaris was awesome. The people and weather was great. We always felt safe. Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking was amazing. We paid extra to spend time with the chimps that were less acclimated to people. Don’t do that...

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James Furdas  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Mar 23, 2024
Incredible see ‘the big six!’ (See review) once in a lifetime gorilla and chimpanzee trekking

8 Day Safari with LuLu safaris, guided by Audence and Simon. Firstly our guides were incredible. I would definitely recommend requesting them in advance if you book with LuLu safaris. They were amazing at spotting wildlife, really easy...

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