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How To Travel to Uganda On a Budget

The travel scene has evolved because of Coronavirus & Africa safari travelers are looking for how to travel to Uganda on a budget but still get more of the extraordinary legacy of the still primitive, still wild, still free that Uganda encloses on a wide scale.

Popular neighbors, Kenya and Tanzania undoubtedly overshadow the magnificence of Uganda. Uganda may not be able to match the sheer number of wild packs, size, and leisure travelers they have, but the destination surely packs an impressive lot in its tinyness. Uganda’s small size, its treasures in nature and wildlife, and the little to no tourist crowds make it a great choice for Uganda safari trips.

Combined within this single small destination is the best of everything an African safari has to offer. Uganda is home to the continent’s tallest mountain range, the snow-capped Rwenzori mountains. The world’s longest river, the Nile, oozes gracefully out of the second-largest freshwater lake on the planet (Lake Victoria). The humble mountain gorillas roam the misty jungles up the mountain, and the tropical rainforests harbor one of the largest primates populations on earth. Kampala, the cultural hub and capital of Uganda is safer than most destinations in the region. On top of all this glorification, Uganda’s ever-growing number of safari activities has earned it the Adrenaline Capital title. 

Yes, yes! But how can an interested traveler visit Uganda on a small budget? In this post, I attempt to help budget travelers get a close enough estimate of how much they can spend on a Ugandan trip.

How to travel Uganda on a budget; simple safari planning hacks

Because Uganda is at the threshold of its discovery as a tourism destination, now is the best time to travel to Uganda. Generally, the tourism industry is recovering from a travel lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Uganda is getting popular enough to push hotels and safari lodges to the region’s excellent standards and offers relatively lower room prices than other destinations in the region. From shoestring to luxury, every traveler in their style will find where to stay in Uganda. But before you excitedly dive into planning your safari itinerary, here are a few ways on how you can travel in Uganda on a budget.

How to save money on transportation

Uganda presents a wide variety of transport means that include the indistinct but affordable public means and the trusted private but pricey means of transportation. Apart from commuter rail in some parts of Kampala and ferry service, public transport in Uganda essentially boils down to buses and other motorized road transport forms. And it’s basically the cheapest means to travel in Uganda on a budget. Let’s take a look at how you can save on road transport.

Boda Boda (Motorbike)

One of the most popular and cheapest ways of travel around Uganda is the motorcycle-taxi or boda-boda—so-called because it originated as a bicycle with large panniers, used for smuggling goods across borders by rural footpaths. Now fitted with pillions and powered with 50 to 200 cc engines, they are a convenient form of suburban transport and great for short side trips where public transport barely exists. 

Fares are negotiable and affordable — just about less than US$2, which is about Ush1,000 to 10,000 per trip. And, two travelers can share the same bike with the rider and get away with it. You’ll be amazed when you see a family riding the same bike; it’s such a picture.

If you’re reliant on public road transport in Uganda, you’ll inevitably use a boda-boda at some stage. But before hopping aboard, you should be aware of a pretty poor urban safety record. Boda-boda riders are invariably lacking in formal training and road safety awareness, which is frequently suggested, much between the ears.

Subsequently, the unruly nature of Boda Boda transport in Uganda has recently attracted the tech eye. Ride-hailing services or ride-sharing apps are the new way of travel around cities, and if you’re an ardent Uber user, you’ll continue to enjoy the services also in Kampala on Boda Bodas. This is a far great alternative to just hailing a bike on the street late in the evenings. Famous Boda Boda mobile applications you’ll find tolerable in Uganda include Taxify, SafeBoda, and UberBoda. The price is not different from street hailed bikes.

Minibus-taxis

Next to Boda Bodas, minibus-taxis are the cheapest of transport around Uganda. In addition to buses in Uganda, most major road transport routes are covered by a regular stream of white minibusses, which have no set departure times but leave when they are full — every ten to 30 minutes on busier routes. They are significantly the fastest way to travel in Uganda on a budget.

Fares are generally slightly higher than for buses when traveling long distances but significantly lower if traveling within the same region, city, or town. For a dollar or less, a minibus taxi will take you 38km (23 mi), like Entebbe to Kampala. And it’s customary on most routes to pay shortly before arriving rather than on departure, so there is little risk of being overcharged provided that you look and see what other passengers are paying.

Minibusses are referred to as taxis in Uganda (though here we’ve called them minibus-taxis to preclude confusion with special hire taxis) and as matatus in Kenya, generally understood but not used by Ugandans. A law enforcing a maximum of three passengers per row is stringently enforced in most parts of Uganda, meaning that minibus travel is far more comfortable than in the majority of African countries where four bums per row are customary.

All minibus-taxis by law now have to have a distinctive blue-and-white band round the middle with a taxi light sign on the top, and special hire cars have to have a black-and-white band.

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