Here is our Top Tips to save money on African safari for groups and individuals on tours, trips and excursions:
A poorly planned itinerary often results in a much more expensive safari due to hidden costs that add to the price, which in turn do not add much to your enjoyment when in Africa.
Here is an extensive list of tips to help you save money:
1. Get your flights booked early: This is particularly important if you are restricted to the Christmas, New Year, half-term or Easter holidays. As flight availability to Africa decreases, prices increase. We can’t recommend enough that you get your flights on hold as early as possible to secure the best prices.
2. Connecting flights: You might think connecting sucks and can be tiring but it sure saves you a good chunk of money doing it. Consider the pros and cons and don’t write it off right away. There are very few direct flights to Uganda – the cheapest flights go through other countries.
3. Choose your dates carefully: The price of your holiday, vacation, tour or trip can vary considerably, depending on the day you depart, especially at peak holiday times. Knowing when flight and accommodation prices go up and working around them can make a huge difference to save money.
4. Travel light: Airlines are starting to charge for everything now and if you have 2 bags or more, expect to be charged for it. Remember to not use oversized bags whenever possible and try to keep it all within one bag per person. This makes travel while in Africa easier and cheaper too. If we don’t have to use an extra van to transport your luggage, the overall trip cost will be cheaper.
5. Visas: You can buy a Uganda visa before you travel in many of the countries where you live, but you spend a bit extra for mailing and passport photos. In the UK, it costs you close to £10 for registered post, overnight being required plus the visa fee of £30. At Entebbe Interational Airport, you only pay the £30 fee, saving you money.
Substitute: Consider packing old clothes which you can use and then donate to the needy people you meet in Africa. This way, you can use only one bag and still have room for purchases.
7. Opt for small, owner-operated service providers like us: Without the high overhead costs of chains, small companies like Msafiri Tours are more competitive on price and offer more flexibility. Additionally, the majority of lodges, guest houses and hotels we use are owner operated. You’ll also get a more personalised experience with knowledgeable people who really love what they are doing.
8.Tourist spots may not be that hot: Uganda has tourist spots that aren’t really the most interesting places to go to, not to mention that everything is more expensive around that area. If you’ve been to that place already, there’s no point seeing it again and again. Instead, go to locally recommended areas and observe life. It might just spice up your vacation and help you save money.
9. Enjoy the local version: Many consumables are less expensive when it’s made in the country. Consider trying local beer, coffee or food. You might be surprised at how great and cheap it really is!
10. Talking to the locals may help save money too! If you are an independent traveller, sometimes, they will tell you where to eat and some may even offer for you to stay over (works best in small towns).
11. Take a guided driving safari: You’ll be driven in comfortable 4×4 vehicles by an experienced driver-guide who knows the animals and the roads. You are still likely to travel very long distances but you’ll see more of the countryside and you’ll make major savings on accommodation.
12. Share the cost: If you can bear to share with friends, family or a group, it will cut your own costs down.
13. Getting cash: Ask an Msafiri Tours staff member to take you to good places to get rate cash in the local currency.
14. Check the latest exchange rates: Fluctuations in the value of the pound/dollar can mean the difference between being able to afford a trip to Africa and not. Choose dates of travel when the exchange rate is likely to be high; check the internet.
15. Find a low-cost insurance policy online: Go online or talk to a broker and you’ll find cheap single-trip policies. If you’re going away more than once in the year, consider an annual policy. Just make sure you understand what you need and read the small print. Tip: single-trip policies cover you for cancellation as soon as you take out the policy even if your travel dates are months ahead. This is not the case for annual policies, which start from the day you take out the policy, not the date of your first trip.
16. Don’t fly on Fridays or Saturdays: Useless advice if you want to get away for a week at half-term but during the summer or Easter if you can fly on weekdays you can save a lot of money. BA.com has a useful fare search tool that allows you to select the cheapest day to fly.
17. Beware the mobile phone sting: Do you know how much it will cost you to make and receive mobile phone calls in Africa? Check your contract – at up to £1.49 a minute, you may want to leave the phone at home!
18. Check your passport at least a month before you go: If you leave this to the last minute and you have lost your passport, you won’t be going away at all. If it has expired, you will need to pay for a rush application.
19. Travel outside of peak season: Make good use of the varying seasons if you are flexible as to when you can travel. You can save a lot of money if you travel in what is perceived to be ‘low season’ and yet in many cases the area is as attractive as in high season.
20. Get a group together: Another tip is to go on a trip with a group of friends, school group, Church or family. This can be terrific value for money and we can suggest a couple of different options in Africa.
21. Avoid brand names: Somewhat contentiously, if you are keen to save money, beware of the brand names. Yes, some of the places major brands suggest are wonderful. But Msafiri Tours is a destination management expert; we also know of wonderful places that are not as well-known and we choose to spend less money on big marketing campaigns.
22. Mix it up: If you really want to stay at a particular hotel or safari camp but your budget can’t stretch that far, make a conscious decision to mix it up – splash out for a few nights and then go for a more rustic tented camp, for example. The ONLY thing we ask is that you remember that this was your strategy and embrace the differences, relish the simplicity and don’t spend your safari complaining that the less expensive camps don’t include premium champagne in their prices!
23. Staying outside the park is a good way to save money: We have alternative accommodation outside of the national parks. Usually prices for hotels or camps inside the parks in Africa are quite pricey. On top of that, you will need to pay at least 2 days of park entrance fees. There are often cheaper accommodation options right outside the gates of the park.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this website about how to Save money on Uganda safari is intended solely to provide general information for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use