A Uganda Safari

How Much Does a Uganda Safari Cost?

On average, budget safaris cost $300 (USD) per person per day, mid-range safaris cost $425 per person per day and top-end safaris cost $700 per person per day. Uganda is one of Africa’s most overlooked safari destinations, yet it’s the most ecologically diverse safari country. It’s also one of the more affordable safari destinations.

On average, budget safaris cost $300 (USD) per person per day, mid-range safaris cost $425 per person per day and top-end safaris cost $700 per person per day. Uganda is one of Africa’s most overlooked safari destinations, yet it’s the most ecologically diverse safari country. It’s also one of the more affordable safari destinations.

Average Costs of a Safari in Uganda Safari Costs (USD per person per day)

The costings table here gives an overview of how much the average Uganda safari will cost, depending on your travel style. Using this table allows you to quickly match your daily budget to the kind of Uganda safari you can afford. There’s 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 resident then you need to budget US$800 for the permit alone. Traveling during the low seasons (October to November and March to May) will help reduce costs.

Comfort Level Private
(USD per day)
Group
(USD per day)
Camping icon Budget Camping $350 $300
Budget icon Budget Accommodations $375 $325
Midrange icon Mid-range Accommodations $475 $425
Luxury icon Luxury Accommodations $750 $700
Luxuryplus icon Luxury Plus Accommodations $1,050+ n/a

Rates are in USD $ unless otherwise indicated.

Rates exclude additional costs, such as international flights, tips and personal items.


All 1,279 Uganda Safari Tours

Additional Costs Explained

 

The following table covers a few additional Uganda costs – some obvious, some less so – that you might need to add into your overall budget.

 
  • International Flights

    There are relatively few direct international flights to Uganda from outside Africa. It’s often cheaper to route through Nairobi (Kenya) or Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), which are the two main regional air hubs and have good global connections.

  • Visa Costs

    Most nationalities pay US$50 for a single-entry visa. If you’ll also be traveling to Kenya or Rwanda (Tanzania is not included in this visa) get an East African tourist visa for US$100.

  • Accommodations

    Safari accommodations in Uganda are generally a little cheaper than in neighboring Kenya and Tanzania. A couple of hundred US dollars will often get you a very pleasant place to stay. Prices are higher around parks that offer gorilla trekking.

  • Vaccinations

    A yellow-fever vaccination is required for entry into Uganda. The steamy climate means that mosquitoes are common and it’s wise to take precautions against malaria.

  • Tips

    Tipping is expected in better-quality hotels, safari lodges and camps. Guides and drivers also expect to be tipped. Bring a couple of hundred US dollars in smaller bills to cover tips. To give you a hint: US$15 per person per day.

  • Travel Insurance

    Standard travel insurance is fine for most safari activities, including gorilla trekking. If you’re heading up to the remote, little-visited far north, where there have been security issues in the past, check that your insurance is valid for that region.

10 Factors Influencing the Cost of a Uganda Safari

The general cost of a Uganda safari varies hugely depending on a number of factors. The most important are the time of year you’ll be traveling, the parks and reserves you wish to visit, and how exclusive you’re prepared to go.

 
  • 1

    Length of stay

    If you’re buying a fully packaged Uganda safari using the same company for everything, then the per-day price does tend to drop slightly the longer you spend on safari. Otherwise, if you’re putting together your own itinerary the per-day costs don’t change much whether you spend a weekend or a month in the country. Hiring a 4x4 vehicle and driver is always cheaper per day if you hire it for a longer period.

  • 2

    Level of comfort of accommodations

    It goes without saying that the more comfort you require the more a Uganda safari will cost. That said, compared to Tanzania, for example, Ugandan safari accommodations are surprisingly good value. You can get a double room at a decent mid-range safari lodge or camp for US$200.

  • 3

    Location of the accommodations

    Safari accommodations in Uganda are generally split between those found within the protected areas or those that are a little farther away. The latter are normally cheaper. The regions surrounding Ugandan protected areas tend to be more developed than in much of Kenya and Tanzania. There are often towns and villages not far from the main entrances to the country’s national parks. Many of these have fairly cheap places to stay. Accommodations close to the parks that offer gorilla trekking are almost always more expensive than similar places elsewhere.

  • 4

    Group size

    Traveling on an organized group tour can be cheaper than going it alone. Especially if it’s organized through a local Uganda operator rather than an internationally based company. One thing that never changes, whether you’re traveling solo or in a big group, is park entry fees, which are always per person. As an add-on to your organized 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 go

    Uganda follows the classic East African weather pattern with two rainy seasons between March and May and October and November. However, unlike Kenya and Tanzania, several of Uganda’s most famous national parks are rainforest parks, and rain of varying quantities can be expected year-round. If you can deal with muddy walking trails and slippery roads, then the start and end of the rainy seasons can be reasonable times to visit with overall lower costs. The July to August and December to February high seasons are the busiest and most expensive times to visit.

  • 6

    How you get around

    The easiest, but most expensive, way of getting around is by air. AeroLink uses small planes to connect the major national parks. But even the shortest hop is unlikely to cost much less than US$300 per person. The country’s small size and the close proximity of many of the parks mean that rather than flying, many people hire a 4x4 vehicle and driver (from US$130 per day). In Uganda this is probably the best 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

    Hiking through forest to see habituated gorillas is simply the most intense wildlife experience the planet can offer. But you pay for the honor. Gorilla permits cost US$800 per person (you spend one hour with the gorillas). Chimpanzee permits cost US$250 at Kibale National Park (the best place), but are cheaper (between US$100 and US$120) at other sites such as Kyambura Gorge, Budongo Forest and Kalinzu Forest Reserve. With all aspects of a gorilla safari being expensive, the best way of keeping Uganda safari costs down is by not seeing the gorillas at all. Uganda has many other protected areas full of interesting wildlife that can be visited for much less.

  • 8

    Add-ons

    A white-water rafting experience near Jinja (a city on Lake Victoria at the source of the Nile) or a trek in the Rwenzori Mountains are activities gaining in popularity, but each will add a chunk of money to your budget. Much cheaper is a few days chilling on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi. It’s a beautiful island-studded lake with lots of good-value accommodations.

  • 9

    Extensions

    A short safari in Kenya is a popular add-on to a Uganda safari and is especially easy to organize if you fly via Nairobi. This will add quite considerably to overall 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 communing with chimpanzees, gorillas and smaller monkeys, but the cost of gorilla- and chimpanzee-viewing permits is high, which means such a safari is going to cost a lot. 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.

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