Uganda is one of the best places in Africa for a safari. Not only is Uganda home to the Big Five, but it’s also one of the only places in the world to trek gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild. Understanding the actual cost of a safari can be difficult because the listed price doesn’t include a few extras that you’ll encounter along your journey. After spending a week on safari in Uganda, I’ve come up with a breakdown of the real cost of a safari in Uganda. The cost is based on two guests in budget accommodations, but it will give you a sense of what to expect.
The Cost of a Safari in Uganda
These costs are based on the 7 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari with Africa Adventure Safaris. Highlights from this tour include chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest, game viewing and a boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Day 1: Arrive in Entebbe, Uganda
Day 2: Kampala – Kibale Forest National Park
Day 3: Chimpanzee tracking and transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP
Day 4: Game drive and afternoon Boat cruise
Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi NP
Day 6: Gorilla tracking
Day 7: Bwindi – Kampala
The Listed Price
The 7 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari, including gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, for 2 people costs $2,800 per
person staying in budget accommodations, $3,050 per person staying in deluxe accommodations, and $3,600 per person staying in luxury accommodations.
This price is based on 2 people sharing accommodation in double rooms and includes:
-Park entrance fees
-Kazinga channel boat cruise
-6 nights, 7 days full board accommodation
-Full time English speaking guide and his allowances
-Bottled drinking water while on safari
-Any other activity indicated in the itinerary
-Meals & Accommodation in Kampala/Entebbe
-Flight fares, beers and liquors, beverages and extra drinks at lodges, laundry, tipping of staff, and other costs of personal nature.
A Uganda tourist visa is required to enter the country. This visa is granted to travelers coming to Uganda for tourism, medical treatment, family visit, etc.. This is a single entry visa and can be granted up to 3 months. The visas are available online through the Immigration portal. The visa costs $50 per person and it is required for every person regardless of age. Visa Fees are non-refundable and all payments are subject to a bank charge. If you’re traveling as a couple, the cost will be $100.
Yellow Fever Vaccination is required for arriving travelers to Uganda from all countries if traveler is ≥1 year of age and it can cost anywhere from $150 – $350 depending on where you get the vaccination. The CDC and WHO also recommend the following vaccinations for Uganda: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, and influenza. Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. This could be a costly mistake if you don’t have the right vaccinations.
Recommended for all travelers ≥9 months of age.
Tipping your guide/driver should be an added cost that you don’t leave out. They are the first line of contact during your trip and can make all the difference if you have an amazing adventure or a stressful journey. Considering everything that they provide during your safari, I would suggest an absolute minimum of $20 per day for a total of $140. The best way to provide this for your guide is via cash at the end of your trip.
It’s usual to tip safari and gorilla tracking guides and porters at the end of a safari or hike as well. For guides, you can tip between $10 to $20 per day per guest, and for a porter $5 to $10.
Tipping staff is not required but is good practice. You will be dining at multiple restaurants and visit multiple lodges during your safari. Although these costs are part of your package, tipping is not. Ugandan shillings aren’t even necessary. You could leave US dollars if you don’t have local currency. If you’d prefer to exchange your money for local currency, the guide could help you with the process on your day of arrival. $1 US is about 3778.92 Ugandan shillings. We suggest tipping $3-$5 per guest per stay. Many of the smaller lodges have central tip boxes. At hotels and larger establishments, it is generally given at your discretion to individuals who have performed well.
Beverages at lodges are not covered. Unless you are drinking the bottled water from your safari drive, you’ll need to add costs for beverages at lodges. On average, I had at least one soda per day at each lodge. The cost per soda was about $4 each. If you’re traveling for 7 days, that’s an added $28 for soda. If you’re adding alcohol, the cost would obviously be a lot more.
Community visits are part of this 7 day safari. When you visit communities, there will be local goods and products for sale that support the community. As a general idea, I purchased a small bag for $7, baskets for $5-$20, a drum for $30, and small, carved gorillas for $5-$10. Considering all of the money goes back into the community, it is very helpful to purchase goods and products during community visits. Setting aside $100 for this goes a long way in Uganda.
Flights are going to be the biggest cost outside of your safari price. It’s important to research flights and the requirements well before your Uganda safari. It’s also important to research if transfer visas or any other travel requirements are required during stop-overs on your flights. Unexpected fees or requirements could cost you the entire trip. Be aware and be sure. Flights from Dallas, Texas cost around $1,400 for a round-trip, but you can expect about three stops. Stops can change the fees, as well, if you need to purchase meals, snacks, or drinks during the stop.
Safari – $2,800 per person staying in budget accommodations x 2 people = $5,600
Uganda Tourist Visa x 2 = $100
Yellow Fever Vaccination x 2 – $300
Flights – $1,400 x 2 = $2,800
Tipping Guide/Driver (For two it should be more, but we’ll keep this as an estimate)= $140
Tipping Staff (For two it should be more, but we’ll keep this as an estimate)= $100
Beverages at Lodges x 2 – $56
Community Visits – $100
Total = $9,196