Cost of birding trip in Uganda.
Are you planning to book a birdwatching safari and looking for the cost of a birding trip in Uganda? Uganda is one of the best birding destinations to see several resident and migratory birds from Europe and North Africa.
The country hosts hundreds of bird species that can be seen in different savannah national parks of lake Mburo national park, Kidepo valley national park, Murchison falls national park and Queen Elizabeth national park. Birding can also take place in forested areas of Bwindi, Kibale and Mgahinga national parks.
The top 10 most preferred bird species in Uganda are; Shoe bill stork, Nahans francolin, Karamoja Apalis, African green Broadbill, Brown chested pullover, Black bee eater, Purcell’s illadopsis, Green-breasted pitta, Ruwenzori turaco, and Red fronted anti pecker.
The Price of Birding Safari in Uganda.
The cost of birding trip in Uganda differs from season to season and yes, the cost ranges from $50 to $400 per day person depending on the type of accommodation. To get the actual figure, you need to consider the price of ground transportation, accommodation, meals, park entrance fees, VISAs, air tickets, packing lists, porters and tips for your birding guides.
Below is a breakdown of the costs associated to any birding trip in Uganda;
The cost of Park entrance permit
If you need to go birding in Uganda’s national parks, you are required to purchase park entrance permits at a cost of $40 per person per day for foreign nonresidents if you intend to bird Murchison falls national park, Kidepo valley national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Bwindi, Mgahinga, Kibale and lake Mburo national parks. This rate is exclusive of guides’ fees.
To secure park entrance permits, you need to either book directly with Uganda Wildlife Authority or any trusted tour operator like Africa Adventure Vacations. We recommend visitors to book their birding trips at least 4 months in advance if planning to travel during peak season of June, July and August to avoid stress of asking several companies if they have availability.
The cost of accommodation
Accommodation is a key factor to consider while compiling the cost of a birding trip in Uganda. Uganda’s national parks are endowed with several safari lodges that range from budget, Mid-range to luxury properties. Therefore, the choice of your sleeping camps and lodges depend on your budget. The good standard safari lodge varies from $50 to $100 dollars a night, good mid-range lodge between $150 to $200 while a luxury lodge starts from $300 to $2500 per night.
Visitors can book accommodation by themselves if looking at doing self-drive birding safari in Uganda however, most birders prefer booking lodges through tour operators.
If you prefer booking accommodation by yourself, make sure you reserve space close to your birdwatching spot, otherwise you may mess up and miss out to see some early birds if you book too far away. This is the reason why we advise you to book your accommodation through a reputable tour operator to make your trip successful.
The cost of food and beverage
This is another cost to consider if planning a birding trip in Uganda. While traveling to Uganda, look at the price of food, drinks like water and juice. Most camps and lodges provide international and local cuisines to travelers at an average cost of $35 per person per day. If you are planning to buy expensive liquors, you might a higher budget per day. If you are booking your birding safari with a tour company, you should not worry about food. Most agencies offer full board meal plan on travel itineraries that is daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. Therefore, food and water while at the hotel and traveling between activities will be catered for.
The cost of transport – Plane tickets and hiring a vehicle
After identifying your preferred birding destination in Uganda, you need to start planning how you can get there. Air tickets to and from your country of origin to Uganda may cost between $600 to $2500 based on the choice of your carrier and class.
If you are phobic to driving long distance, you may charter internal fights from Entebbe international airport to several airstrips like Apoka airstrip among others and then commence your birding tour in the evening or the following day. Should you find domestic flights expensive, then we recommend traveling by road.
Hiring a car in Uganda normally coats $100 per day, exclusive of fuel and guide driver. If you are interested in birding Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable national park to see several Albertian rift endemics, it takes between 8 and 10 driving hours to reach these parks from Kampala / Entebbe.
Opting to arrange self-drive travel is unfamiliar in developing countries and at times complicated hence the reason why we strongly advise visitors to book full package from tour operators that covers transport, accommodation and safari activities.
It is also important to note that a few Uganda based tour operators are willing to book international air tickets on behalf of their guests. Therefore, inquire from your agency to see if they can help you book flights to and from your country of origin.
Cost of items on the birdwatching packing list
For the best birding experiences in Uganda, you will need to travel with a good camera, insect repellents, hiking boots, hand gloves, sunscreen, a binocular and a rain jacket among other personnel essentials. These are all hidden costs you need to consider for your birding safari apart from cost on transport, park entrance and accommodation.
Visas and border crossing
Birding tours may involve crossing borders between Uganda, Rwanda and other neighboring East African countries. If you are planning to do birdwatching in Uganda from Kigali Rwanda, you need to pay a VISA fee of $50 at either the Katuna or Cyanika border crossings. You may opt to buy East African tourist visa at a cost of $100 for those looking at combined birding trips in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.
Tips for the Guide/Driver, Park Rangers and Hotel staff
In most cases lodge staff, Guides and park Rangers go an extra mile to make your stay in Uganda memorable. Therefore, out of courtesy, you might decide tip them as a sign of appreciation for the service rendered. The amount to tip depends entirely on you. Tipping during birding safaris is not compulsory and should only be paid after you have been satisfied with the service provided.