Traveling Uganda With Limited Budget

Transportation in Uganda is available in a variety of public and private choices that cater to a wide range of budgets. Public buses and motorbikes are the most affordable and most direct methods to get to major locations, though looking for offers on non-public transportation will improve your flexibility and ease of journey.

Uganda Traveling Guide

Boda Bodas (motorbikes) – Public motorbikes, referred to as boda bodas, are dust cheap in areas corresponding to Jinja and Kampala but are harder to find in rural areas and around nationwide parks. While they’re essentially the most cost-effective type of transportation — between 7,000-8,000 Ugandan shillings (UGX) ($2 USD), though costs are all the time negotiable — exercise warning when using boda bodas, as they’ve a reputation for being quite dangerous: helmets aren’t offered, and drivers are known for being reckless.

However, Safe Boda and Uber, which join passengers with drivers via their respective apps, have recently come to Kampala and provide much more dependable drivers and standardized pricing, with minimum fares starting at 5,000 UGX ($1.35 USD).

Matatus (native buses) – Local minibuses, known as matatus, are a cheap — though not altogether simple — method to get around Kampala. Matatus additionally run between totally different areas in Uganda, usually with out a set schedule, and leave as soon as the bus has filled up.

Prices depend on route, though they’re generally around 1,000 UGX ($0.25 USD). To catch one, simply wave down one of these rundown white vans from the aspect of the highway — however be warned that they’re normally cramped and filled past capability.

Taxis – Taxis are the most expensive way to get around cities, though also the most secure. Prices are all the time negotiable, though expect to pay between 10,000 and 40,000 UGX ($2.75–11 USD) for a journey, depending on distance and time of day.

Coach Buses – Coach buses, run by a number of firms, are used to journey lengthy distances inside Uganda in addition to to different East African locations, corresponding to Mombasa and Kigali. Costs are depending on the route however typically run around 50,000 UGX ($13.50 USD) for a ten-hour journey.

Private Car
Renting a car is a perfect method to independently discover Uganda and go deeper into a few of the parks where public transportation doesn’t go. Cars can be hired with or with out a driver, in addition to with or with out camping equipment.

Although not necessary, a driver can be useful not only in navigating potholed roads but additionally by offering a wealth of historic and cultural insights and in recognizing wildlife on safari. A dependable firm I’ve used is Lifetime Safaris, which supplied a automobile with a driver beginning at $80 USD/day.

Save Money While Traveling Uganda

Uganda’s main points of interest and national parks don’t only supply high-end accommodation but additionally camping and low-budget hostels and guesthouses for price range travelers.

Hostels – There are only a handful of hostels in Uganda, mostly in Kampala. Red Chilli affords dorms at its property in Kampala for $12 USD/night time, and Om Bunyonyi on Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda supplies dorms for $15 USD/night time.

Guesthouses – Guesthouses can differ extensively in price. A good-quality one with relatively dependable facilities in touristic areas, corresponding to Om Bunyonyi, runs around $25 USD/night time for a double non-public room, although expect costs to be much higher around national parks. If you don’t e-book in advance and are stopping via a small city for the night time, you may simply discover quite simple guesthouses for far less, approximately $10 USD/night time. Water and electricity will usually be unreliable on this style of accommodation, however.

Camping – Camping is a good possibility within the areas surrounding the national parks, corresponding to Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth, although costs will differ by location. At its website in Murchison Falls, Red Chilli provides camping for $8 USD/night time. Other websites and lodges provide camping for $5–10 USD/night time. Many locations provide tents for rent, although bringing your own equipment will save you much more cash.

Eco-lodges – Budget-consciousness is probably not what you keep in mind once you think “eco-lodge,” given the trend towards fancy eco-friendly safari lodges in East Africa. However, lodges and safari camps are a outstanding type of lodging within the national parks, and not all of them have to interrupt the financial institution! There are some reasonably priced ones that also could be a good splurge on a budget holiday. They can price around $100 USD per night time and normally include three meals a day as effectively, decreasing different day by day prices.

How to Save Money on Food and Drinks

Eating at local restaurants and buying fresh produce and snacks from markets will save you a big amount of cash than eating at Western-style eateries, that are primarily concentrated in Kampala.

Restaurants – Kampala has an extensive worldwide restaurant scene. They are costly compared to local restaurants, although cheaper than eating out in Europe or North America and cheaper additionally than related eating places in different main East African cities. Costs vary from 30,000 to 50,000 UGX ($8–15 USD) for an average meal.

Local delicacies, in contrast, is pretty simple — consisting largely of potatoes, rice, beans, cabbage, chapati (unleavened flatbread), and ugali (maize flour porridge) — and way more affordable. There are many Ethiopian restaurants as well, providing extra mid-range meals.

Food-on-the-go – Uganda has a handful of street meals items, the most well-known being an egg and chapati wrap known as a “rolex,” which may even have different vegetables added and price as little as 1,500–3,000 UGX ($0.40–0.80 USD). Stock up on recent tropical fruit, which is considerable in markets and alongside the highway; the price is all the time up for negotiation.

Inexpensive roadside food and snack stands selling corn, samosas, nuts, and grilled meat are additionally prevalent and handy on lengthy journeys. Eating in these methods can save vital prices in Uganda.

Drinks – Foreign-import wine and spirits can be found in Kampala, although cocktails and wine are expensive within the capital metropolis’s posh bars, restaurants, and clubs. Your finest bet is to stay with native beers corresponding to Nile, which should price 3,000–5,000 UGX ($0.80–1.35 USD), relying on the venue you purchase it from. Or check out Uganda’s native gin, known as Waragi, at around 1,000 UGX ($0.25 USD) a pour. This potent liquor turns into extra tolerable when combined with a superb dose of tonic water and lime.

Adventure Activities Costs

Despite all the money-saving recommendations above, your finances will probably be highly depending on how many wildlife and journey activities you need to partake in. Most probably you’ll need to do a few the higher-cost points of interest, corresponding to whitewater rafting down the Nile, trying to find tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, or trekking with mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Forest.

However, it’s simple to intersperse these actions with low-cost days of enjoyable by crater lakes, taking self-guided walks within the mountainous areas of southwestern Uganda, or volunteering. On these days, you may spend $30 USD/day and even much less!

Here are some typical adventure-activity prices:

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park: $40 USD/day for admission
  • Murchison Falls: $40 USD/day 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 Money in Uganda

Beside the above, here are another normal ideas for reducing your prices in your go to:

  • Explore beyond the high-priced attractions – Regions outdoors of the main points of interest are still considerable in nature and are sometimes extra charming, as there are few to no vacationers. Think volcanic lakes, little-known mountains, not often visited waterfalls, almost-deserted islands, and dense forests and occasional and tea plantations.
  • Travel during the off-season – Don’t let the wet season scare you off! Uganda is at its most lush throughout the wet months (March to May and October to November), crowds are at a minimal, and permits and lodging are sometimes discounted to encourage tourism.
  • Travel off the beaten path – Check out Lake Bunyonyi, the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria, and Sipi Falls, for instance. If you’re seeking to do trekking within the area, the Rwenzoris are price considering — while they aren’t “cheap,” they’re a way more inexpensive possibility than Mt. Kilimanjaro and you are able to do shorter or longer treks relying in your time and budget.
  • Consider volunteering – Avoid volunteer packages that cost cash, however take into account wanting into alternatives corresponding to these on Workaway, which is able to assist save money on accommodation and provide a extra in-depth cultural experience. Grassroots Volunteering is one other nice useful resource.
  • Booking recommendation – Booking gorilla and trekking permits in advance is advisable to make sure a place, since permits are limited, but skip reserving package safaris, as tour company prices are a lot greater than if one travels independently.
  • Stay for a longer time – This would possibly initially sound counterintuitive, however a longer stay means you received’t essentially only be concentrating on the main vacationer attractions. You’ll even have a greater idea of the way to navigate native transportation and change into higher acquainted with a few of the regional cultures and smaller, underrated rural areas.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle – To ensure your water is clean and safe (and to keep away from spending cash on single-use plastic) carry a reusable water bottle and a filter. LifeStraw makes a bottle with a built-in filter that ensures your water is safe and clean — no matter the place on this planet you might be.


With the ever-increasing influence of globalization, once off-the-beaten-path locales are being placed on the map. Much of Uganda still stays uncooked and less developed, although it’s more and more enhancing infrastructure makes it the right destination for journey vacationers and out of doors lovers. Development and costs are already on the rise so don’t hesitate to discover this wild and beautiful East African nation before the secret is out!

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