How much Spending Money do I need for my Safari?
A Frequent Questions Asked: How much money should I bring for my Safari in Uganda?
How much money should I bring for my Safari? Is it one of the most frequent questions our clients ask? Usually, that would only be money that you might use for things of a personal nature, and you will cash for souvenirs you might buy, drinks at Lodges or Hotels, and meals that might not be covered on arrival or departure.
There are Tips for your Driver-Guide, Lodge Staff, and Rangers who guide you Gorilla, Chimpanzee Trekking, Hiking, or Climbing. Add the plus items you might pick up, such as a book or personal hygiene items—insect Spray for your room. There is an additional fee for an activity that you decide on last minute at rare times.
Actual cash in the 21st Century, where you can use ATMs in most towns in Uganda, is limited.
Cash is needed for Porter Fees if you are Gorilla Trekking, Drinks at Hotels and Lodges, Tips, and Souvenirs. Add to that whatever else is not covered in your Safari Itinerary.
Most tourists come with sufficient money for their Safari, a figure of 100 dollars per day is normally sufficient since Safari Meals are included in a safari.
How much money should I bring for my Safari? Our Tips and Advice
Having the amount of cash on you that you will need for your Safari. Money Security is also something that we think about. Having too much cash on you can lead to one of the infrequent thefts of money in your lodge or hotel room.
How much money should I bring for my Safari? It depends on your spending habits and your preferences. If you have an expensive bottle of wine at a lodge, you will need more than if you drink Beer or Sodas.
The amount of money you will need also depends on the lodges you are staying in. Drinks cost more at luxury Lodges than they do at a midrange Lodge.
Here are some helpful Tips and Advice based on our years of experience. Advice for things not covered by the Safari Cost – hopefully, you will find them useful as you discover Africa’s Pearl.
Things that you will need cash for on Safari
Tipping While on Safari:
Tipping on your Safari in Uganda takes cash. Uganda is a non-tipping culture. Tourism, however, has changed that. One can thank the American ford since they come from a Tipping Culture.
Go to our Tipping Page, and you will find some guidelines on tipping on a Safari.
We suggest that you do so in local currency and not US Dollars. It is more convenient for the recipients of the tips you give since they do not have to go to a bank to change their tip money.
We suggest using your Driver Guide to determine how much to tip. He will advise you when tipping. Tipping for services you receive at Lodges or from Gorilla Tracking Rangers and other helpful people you come across while on Safari with us in Uganda.
Tipping is not mandatory, but an acknowledgment of appreciation for good service. Tipping – a reason you will need to bring some Cash on Safari.
Drinks at Lodges and Hotels:
Drinks at lodges, such as sodas, beer, wine, and spirits, cost extra and are not included in the safari cost. There are some luxury lodges where non-premium drinks are included in the daily rate.
Non-Premium means non-imported drinks such as local beer, beverages such as Waragi, or locally made Whiskey or Vodka. Often the luxury lodge will include a house wine.
Drinks at lodges vary with the kind of lodge you are visiting. Sodas are typically below one dollar, while beer is around 1 USD or above, and wine will be 3 USD a glass or more. One reason we suggest that you bring your own, or buy it in Kampala, Entebbe, or another large town that you pass through in Uganda.
Lodges have become well-stocked for drinks, and no one goes thirsty. Some lodges allow you to pay your bar bill by Credit card, and we suggest that you pay cash, which will cost you less.
Souvenirs-Things that you want to take Home:
Most Visitors on Safari with us want to buy some things to take home with them, and we suggest some Rwandan or Ugandan Gourmet Coffee. Maybe a bottle of Waragi, some Tea, pure honey, vanilla that is a lot less here, Shea Buttercream, dried banana chips, and more.
Souvenir crafts are available near most parks; the quality of craftsmanship varies, as does the cost. Real Art is public in cities such as Kigali and Kampala.
All these items take cash only, and once again, we strongly suggest that you use local currency.
We also suggest that you purchase an ornamental Gorilla Walking Stick – again, the quality of carving matters.
Do not buy wildlife bones, fur, hippo teeth, ivory, or so-called Elephant Bracelets or items made from Giraffe tails.
Gorilla Trekking Porter Services:
We think that the services of a porter are a must and so are walking sticks for your Gorilla Trek. The cost is minimal and well worth it. They can assist you on your trek, carry your daypack, and allow you to concentrate on your time with the Gorillas.
The cost is 20 USD for a porter, and a Gorilla Trekking stick is a few dollars and most often can be obtained for free at lodges.
We now include Porter Services in our luxury and midrange safaris to make them even more hassle-free. We take care of the porter and walking stick, and if you liked a carved walking stick, that would be extra. We do not cover Souvenirs.
It is all done to reduce the cash you will need coming on Safari with us. Porter is a wise investment in your Gorilla Encounter.
Most will need cash for porter services.
What if I run short of money?
Should you run short on cash, we suggest using an ATM Machine. You will need a Visa Card, and MC and AEX are rarely accepted. You can take out Local currency such as Rwandan Francs or Ugandan Shillings at the current exchange rate.
There are both local bank fees and fees from your bank unless they do not have international use fees. Notify your bank that you will be using your ATM card in Uganda. Otherwise, you might find your bank blocking the transaction.
ATMs that work internationally are at banks in major towns in Uganda and Rwanda. The driver guide will assist you in locating the right one for you.
We do not suggest using Credit Cards on Safari since, in East Africa, you incur hefty surcharges of 5% or more in most instances.
The downside is the fees. You will pay a fee to your bank at home and payment to the Ugandan bank. Such withdrawal fees can cost around nine dollars in total, which can be costly depending on the amount you withdraw.
Alternative – Use WorldRemit Money Transfer Service:
Using an ATM means fees that be quite costly. There is an excellent alternative that most are not aware of. You can use World Remit with minimal costs and a slightly lower exchange rate from your bank to a local MTN or Airtel phone. In less than five minutes, the money will be on a Ugandan telephone, and it can be obtained from a Mobile Money agent. The transfer costs you less than a dollar, and you will have the money you need for expenses not included in the Safari.
I use WorldRemit to get money from my bank in the US, and it works flawlessly. Once there was a system delay, it was resolved within three hours. WorldRemit is used by thousands of Africans in other countries, and they use it to send money to their family or friends.
WordRemit works for me, an American in Uganda, I just used it today, and within minutes, the money was deposited on a local phone. Use your debit card for the lowest fee of 99 cents; credit cards have a higher fee attached to them. The fee for credit cards is a third of what it would cost you using an ATM in Uganda.
Set an account with WorldRemit, download the app onto your phone, and when you are on a safari in need of local currency, you can have it on a Ugandan telephone within minutes. Use the phone number of the driver-guide with a mobile money account, and you will have money when needed. WorldRemit is a workaround to high ATN fees.
Bring Cash or Get it while on Safari?
How much money should I bring for my Safari? It would be best to get the US Dollar’s Currency of Choice with you. We have found that our clients should deliver a minimal amount of cash, and it lessens the chance of Money security problems and to use their ATM Card and withdraw money as needed.
There are no ATMs within parks at this time. You can find them in Bars in Kampala but not within Murchison Falls Park.
Stop using your card to withdraw local currency as you drive through towns with a bank and ATM card on Safari.
We have written a page about Bringing money; there is rarely a problem in practice. Most Clients plan well ahead.