How to Travel and leisure Uganda on a Budget in 2020

Today’s guest content is normally from Alicia Erickson. She’s a travelling writer who splits her period primarily between East and Southern Africa, India, and Seattle. She’s authoring how to spend less in Uganda, a country I’ve longed to go to but nonetheless haven’t gotten around to undertaking. Enter Alicia, who’ll give us guidelines to save lots of on our next go to.

The magnificent and diverse color, vegetation, and wildlife of Uganda hence encouraged Winston Churchill that he nicknamed this East African country “the pearl of Africa,” a name which has stuck since.

Since shedding its violent reputation after a volatile period through the 1980s, Uganda possesses changed a lot. Specifically, it’s invested resources into growing its wealth of national parks, largely geared toward the repopulation of wildlife and the conscious development of infrastructure to help with making its vast wilderness available.

Although East Africa is well known because of its expensive high-end lodges and activities, Uganda is definitely more affordable than a few of its neighbors. It spoils adventure-seekers using its bounteous nature. In a comparatively compact and quickly navigable area, you can trek with mountain gorillas in dense jungle, check out espresso and tea plantations, relax by volcanic lakes, travel through savannah loaded in tree-climbing lions and other wildlife, hike snow-capped mountains, and raft down rapids in the Nile River!

Uganda possesses enthralled me since I earliest started visiting this year 2010 and, over numerous visits, I’ve simply designed a deeper appreciation for this. In this content, I want to show that love for the united states and help you travel and leisure Uganda on a budget!

How exactly to Save Money on Transport

Transport in Uganda will come in an array of open public and private options that focus on a range of budgets. Consumer buses and motorbikes will be the cheapest & most direct methods for getting to major destinations, though seeking for deals on private transport will boost your flexibility and simple travel and leisure.

Boda Bodas (motorbikes) — Consumer motorbikes, referred to as boda bodas, will be dirt cheap in areas such as for example Jinja and Kampala but are more challenging to locate in rural areas and around nationwide parks. While they will be the most cost-effective type of transportation — between 2,000 and 4,000 Ugandan shillings (UGX) ($0.50-1.00 USD), though prices are always negotiable — exercise caution when working with boda bodas, because they have a good reputation to be quite dangerous: helmets aren’t provided, and drivers are recognized for getting reckless.

However, Safe Boda and Uber, which hook up passengers with drivers through their respective apps, possess recently arrive to Kampala and offer much more efficient drivers and standardized pricing, with minimum fares beginning at 1,500 UGX ($0.75 USD).

Matatus (local buses) — Local minibuses, referred to as matatus, are a cheap — though not altogether convenient — way to bypass Kampala. Matatus also go between different regions in Uganda, often with out a set program, and leave after the bus has chock-full.

Prices rely on route, though they are usually under 1,000 UGX ($0.25 USD). To capture one, simply wave down among these rundown white vans from the medial side of the street — but be warned they are generally cramped and packed beyond capacity.

Taxis — Taxis will be the priciest way to bypass cities, though likewise the safest. Prices will be usually negotiable, though be prepared to pay between 10,000 and 40,000 UGX ($2.75-11 USD) for a trip, based on distance and period.

Mentor Buses — Mentor buses, run by several companies, are accustomed to travel very long distances within Uganda aswell concerning other East African destinations, such as for example Mombasa and Kigali. Costs happen to be reliant on the route but generally function around 30,000 UGX ($8 USD) for a ten-hour quest.

Private Car Renting an automobile is an ideal approach to independently explore Uganda and head out deeper into a number of the parks where public transport will not go. Cars could be employed with or with out a driver, and with or without camping equipment.

Although not essential, a driver could be handy not merely in navigating potholed roads but also by giving an abundance of historical and cultural insights and in spotting wildlife on safari. A trusted company I’ve used is Life time Safaris, which offered an automobile with a driver beginning at $80 USD/day time.

How exactly to CUT COSTS on Accommodation

Uganda’s major attractions and nationwide parks don’t only present high-end accommodation but likewise camping and low-budget hostels and guesthouses for budget travelers.

Hostels — There are just a small number of hostels in Uganda, largely in Kampala. Red Chilli supplies dorms at its home in Kampala for $12 USD/nighttime, and Om Bunyonyi on Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda supplies dorms for $15 USD/nighttime.

Guesthouses — Guesthouses may differ widely in expense. A decent-top quality one with relatively reputable facilities in touristic areas, such as for example Om Bunyonyi, operates around $25 USD/night time for a double private room, though expect rates to be higher around nationwide parks. In the event that you don’t book beforehand and so are stopping through a little town for the night time, it is simple to find very easy guesthouses for much less, about $10 USD/nights. Water and electricity may also be unreliable in this form of lodging, however.

Camping — Camping is a fantastic alternative in the regions encircling the nationwide parks, such as for example Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth, though rates will change by location. At its web page in Murchison Falls, Red Chilli offers you camping for $8 USD/night. Various other sites and lodges present camping for $5-10 USD/night. Many areas offer tents for lease, though bringing your individual equipment can save you even more funds.

Eco-lodges — Budget-consciousness is typically not what you are thinking about when you imagine “eco-lodge,” granted the trend toward extravagant eco-friendly safari lodges in East Africa. However, lodges and safari camps certainly are a prominent form of lodging in the countrywide parks, rather than all of them need to break the bank! There are a few affordable ones that still could be a wonderful splurge on a finances holiday. They can price around $100 USD per night and generally contain three meals a working day as well, reducing various other daily costs.

How exactly to CUT COSTS on Food and Drinks

Consuming at local restaurants and purchasing fresh generate and snacks from marketplaces can save you a significant amount of cash than eating at Western-design eateries, which happen to be principally concentrated in Kampala.

Eating places — Kampala comes with an extensive international cafe scene. They are costly compared to local eating places, though cheaper than eating dinner out in Europe or THE UNITED STATES and cheaper also than similar restaurants in different major East African places. Costs range between 30,000 to 50,000 UGX ($8-15 USD) for the average food.

Local cuisine, on the other hand, is rather simple — consisting mainly of potatoes, rice, beans, cabbage, chapati (unleavened flatbread), and ugali (maize flour porridge) — plus much more affordable. There are numerous Ethiopian restaurants aswell, offering more mid-range dishes.

Food-on-the-get — Uganda includes a handful of street foods, the most famous as an egg and chapati wrap referred to as a “rolex,” that may also have several vegetables added and expense less than 1,500-3,000 UGX ($0.40-0.80 USD). Fill up on refreshing tropical fruit, which is usually abundant in marketplaces and along the street; the price is usually up for negotiation.

Inexpensive roadside meals and snack stands offering corn, samosas, nuts, and grilled meat are likewise prevalent and easy on long outings. Eating in these methods can conserve significant costs in Uganda.

Drinks — Foreign-import wine and spirits are available in Kampala, though cocktails and wine will be costly in the administrative centre city’s posh bars, eating places, and clubs. Your very best bet is normally to stick to local beers such as for example Nile, that ought to cost 3,000-5,000 UGX ($0.80-1.35 USD), according to the venue you get it from. Or try Uganda’s local gin, referred to as Waragi, at around 1,000 UGX ($0.25 USD) a pour. This potent liquor turns into more tolerable when blended with an excellent dose of tonic water and lime.

Experience Activities Costs

Despite all of the money-saving ideas above, your spending budget will become highly dependent on just how many wildlife and experience activities you would like to partake in. Probably you’ll wish to accomplish a few the higher-cost sights, such as for example whitewater rafting down the Nile, looking for tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, or trekking with mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Forest.

However, you can easily intersperse those actions with low-cost times of calming by crater lakes, acquiring self-guided walks in the mountainous regions of southwestern Uganda, or volunteering. On days past, you can spend $30 USD/day and even less!

Here are several typical adventure-activity costs:

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

Other Tips for SAVING CASH in Uganda

Next to the above, here are a few other general ideas for trimming your costs on your own check out:

  • Explore beyond the high-priced sights — Regions beyond the major attractions remain abundant in nature and so are often considerably more captivating, as there will be few to no tourists. Believe volcanic lakes, little-noted mountains, rarely visited waterfalls, almost-deserted islands, and dense forests and espresso and tea plantations.
  • Travelling through the off-period — Don’t allow rainy time scare you off! Uganda reaches its most lush through the rainy a few months (March to Might and October to November), crowds are in the very least, and permits and lodging tend to be reduced to encourage tourism.
  • Travelling off the beaten course — Have a look at Lake Bunyonyi, the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria, and Sipi Falls, for instance. If you’re seeking to do trekking in your community, the Rwenzoris happen to be worth taking into consideration — while they aren’t “low cost,” they certainly are a a lot more affordable option than Mt. Kilimanjaro and you could do shorter or much longer treks depending on your time and effort and budget.
  • Consider volunteering — Avoid volunteer programs that charge funds, but consider looking at opportunities such as for example those on Workaway, which can only help spend less on accommodation and provide a far more in-depth cultural knowledge. Grassroots Volunteering is normally another great learning resource.
  • Booking information : Booking gorilla and trekking permits beforehand is advisable to make sure a location, since permits happen to be limited, but skip booking bundle safaris, as tour firm costs are higher than if one travels independently.
  • Stay for a bit longer — This may initially sound counterintuitive, but an extended stay means you won’t necessarily just be focusing on the major places of interest. You’ll also have an improved idea of how exactly to navigate local transport and be better acquainted with a few of the regional cultures and smaller sized, underrated rural areas.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle — To make sure your water is tidy and safe (also to avoid investing in single-make use of plastic) deliver a reusable water bottle and a filter. LifeStraw would make a bottle with an integral filter that guarantees your water is secure and clean — irrespective of where on the planet you are.


With the ever-raising impact of globalization, once off-the-beaten-route locales are being placed on the map. A lot of Uganda nonetheless remains raw and much less created, though it’s more and more improving infrastructure helps it be an ideal destination for experience travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. Development and prices already are on the rise hence don’t hesitate to explore this crazy and delightful East African nation prior to the secret has gone out!

Alicia Erickson was raised as a third-culture kid, creating a love for travelling at a age. She’s been an electronic nomad for days gone by 5 years, doing work as a political analyst, sociable entrepreneur, writer, and yoga teacher while she explores the universe. She splits her period mostly between East and Southern Africa, India, and Seattle, where she seeks off-the-beaten-path locales and it is attracted to mountains and the savannah, food, wine, and style culture.

Reserve Your Trip: Logistical Guidelines

Book Your Trip Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They will be my two favorite se’s, because they search websites and airlines around the world so you usually know no stone has been remaining unturned.

Book Your Lodging You can publication your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the biggest inventory. If you would like to stay somewhere apart from a hostel, employ, because they consistently return the least expensive costs for guesthouses and accommodations.

Don’t Ignore Travel Insurance Travel cover will secure you against illness, personal injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in the event anything should go wrong. I never embark on a trip without it, as I’ve had to utilize it many times during the past. I’ve been using Community Nomads for a decade. My favorite companies offering the very best service and worth will be:

  • World Nomads (for everybody below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for all those 70 and over)
  • Medjet (for extra repatriation coverage)

Looking to discover the best companies to save cash with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best corporations to work with when you travelling! I list those I take advantage of — and they’ll save time and money also!

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How to Travel and leisure Uganda on a Budget in 2020