Visiting Uganda on a budget

Money saving tips for your holiday in Uganda

It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars when you travel to Uganda – but you should know that visiting Uganda on a limited budget is possible. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can have a fun and comfortable road trip. Here are our top money-saving tips for how to visit Uganda on a budget.

Money-saving tips to visit Uganda on a budget

1. Travel with Friends

Don’t let those back seats sit empty! Invite friends or family along for your exciting journey in Uganda. 
The more people you can split your road trip vehicle with, the more money you’ll save on your vacation. Some accommodations also have larger rooms or studio's that can host large groups, which can also be an economical choice.

2. Go camping in Uganda

With Uganda’s starry skies and beautiful views, camping gives you a special experience where you get close with the great outdoors. And of course, it’s easy on your wallet. 

Many accommodations have a campground allowing you to camp on their property. This way, you get all the luxurious amenities (pool, cocktails, common areas), without spending extra money for a fancy room you’ll only use to sleep.

Check out our camping guide for tips and things to know when camping in Uganda. 

3. Skip the Gorillas in Uganda

Gasp! Did we really just say that? But yes, it’s ok to skip the gorillas. There are many other wildlife viewing opportunities in Uganda that involve rare chimps and primates. For those on a budget, Budongo Forest, Kalinzu Forest or Kyambura Gorge are cheaper alternatives to see the chimpanzees, than trekking in Kibale Forest. Or go on a golden monkey trek in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – you can see many different types of primates for less than the cost of seeing the gorillas. 

4. Cook yourself

Eating at a restaurant or lodge in Uganda is not expensive. But you can still save money on your travel in Uganda if you go camping and cook for yourself. Before you embark on your Road Trip travels, visit a supermarket and stock up on snacks, canned goods, and other things you can easily prepare yourself. Entebbe and Kampala have well stocked supermarkets. Once you’re on the way, you can also stop by your local rolex stand, fruit lady, local restaurant or supermarkets to restock your supplies.

5. Only Visit One or Two National Parks

National Parks quickly become expensive to visit because of the entrance fees, which are, nevertheless lower than in Kenya and Tanzania. However, much of Uganda’s natural beauty also exists outside of the park boundaries. Fort Portal and the crater lakes, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Mutanda, and many other places don’t incur an entrance fee.

6. Considering to rent a car with driver? Hire a park ranger.

Considering renting a road trip car with a driver-guide to help you navigate the national parks in Uganda? You can pick up a UWA ranger at any national park entrance. They are not chauffeurs, but going with a ranger is a worthwhile investment because they can communicate with other rangers and know where certain animals are.

Rangers can also advise you which route to take, or help you in case you get lost or stuck in the mud. This will allow you to save money on a driver-guide, and only pay the day fee for the UWA ranger. For an overview of park entrance fees and additional services, refer to our National Parks page.

7. Travel During Low Seasons

If you’re ok with the potential for a little rain – explore Uganda in the low season as it comes with many benefits. You’ll find better deals for flights, car rental prices, accommodation and certain activities, whilst you have the beautiful lush parks to yourself.

The Ugandan rainy season is typically from March till May with some light rainfall and again in October till November. The driest seasons are from December to February ( also the hottest time or the year) and June to August. Peak season is from July- September and mid December to mid January, when you have to reserve your car, accomodation and gorilla permits well in advance. 

Last piece of important advice 

When travelling through East-Africa, the only thing we don’t recommend you skimp on, is your car. Although main roads are well-paved, you’ll hit the occasional muddy patch or pothole-ridden road, or you find the treks in the national parks washed away after heavy rains. In those key-moments, you’ll be glad you rented a reliable car with good roadside assistance in case something happens. 

Outside of that, you can be more strategic in how you spend your valuable vacation money. From careful accommodation choices to visiting some destinations over others, you’ll leave Uganda with lots of unforgettable memories (and some extra money in your pocket).

Wondering how much to budget for your travel to Uganda? Check our article on costs of petrol, park entrance fees, food and accommodation, here. 

There is no need to spend a fortune on your road trip travels in Uganda. Do you have a great money saving tip for fellow travellers planning to visit Uganda? Let us know