MONEY ON A UGANDA SAFARI

Money on a Uganda Safari: So, you have already secured your trip to Uganda, got yourself a great tour companion, booked yourself a flight and set a date, packed up all the essentials but one last thing is still bothering you. Currency.

Money on a Uganda Safari. What you must know before starting your safari

At this point, every important aspect of your trip is already covered for example Visas, permits and lodging but here still lies the question. Should you carry extra money? The answer is Yes! You will need a little extra cash for a bunch of things.

We shall look at the common things that easily explain why you should carry extra cash for your Uganda Safari – that is not inclusive of your Safari cost.

1. SOUVENIRS

 

I don’t know about you but whenever I go anywhere, I want to carry something back with me. The Selfies are never just enough, and the memories could get somewhat hazy with time.

The souvenirs will always remind you where you have been and what you experienced. Carry with you a little bit of Africa and Uganda back with you, a little bit of our culture. A physical representation of the connection you made with the pearl of Africa.

Arts and Crafts is a huge part of Uganda like animal wood carvings, African print clothing, Ugandan coffee, pure rich honey or even the crafts and Art. All this can be found in all districts around the country, around the parks or even in Kampala at the end of your trip.  This is paid in cash in Ugandan currency.

Here is our detailed article to give you more insight about Uganda souvenirs and how to go about getting them.

2. TIPPING AND GRATUITIES

 

This is not a guarantee but is based on your satisfaction. It should be given preferably in Ugandan shillings because it is easier for the locals to do their own transactions. Remember to always consult your tour guide on certain intervals if you need confirmation.  You can use a figure ranging from $10- $20 as a fairly good benchmark or more depending on the level and quality of service provided.

In places like Bwindi National park, you might be assigned a few people to help on the possibly long trek. It could take you about six hours to track down a gorilla family and with the averagely heavy trek accompaniments like rain jackets, Cameras, packed lunch, water bottles and the like; carrying around for six hours can be hectic. If you feel it is necessary, a porter will be availed to help you with this particular aspect. Tipping him or her at the end of the trek to show your appreciation goes a long way and changes the lives of these locals and their community.

It is not a custom to share tips in Ugandan restaurants, bars or cabs but don’t let our naivety to common curtsey stop you from doing what is customary to you. It is not an expectation or requirement but might as well get you the best service you could possibly ask for.

3. THE LITTLE SPOILS

 

You are here to have fun and relax, right? So why not do just that? Enjoy all the spoils the country and its people provide. Do not be afraid to try out new things like street food, local cuisine, refreshments and the likes. Do follow the recommendation of your guide to avoid some basic errors.

  • Fresh Juice

You will realize that our fresh fruit drinks have a distinctively richer flavour because most of them are picked straight from the gardens. Passion fruit juice, mango juice, Pineapple juice, orange juice or even a mixture of many fruits to make an amazing cocktail. You can purchase this from any of the several vendors/small restaurants of fresh juice.

In some lodges, you are received with a glass of fresh juice on arrival before being showed to your respective rooms.

  • Sodas

We have Coca-cola and Pepsi products from big restaurants, supermarkets to small centre shops. Stoney (Tangawizi) and Krest (Bitter Lemon soda) are good examples of Coca-cola products you might not be able to find everywhere else.

  • Liquor

Feedback from the millions of prior visitors proves that beer price in this country is a lot cheaper compared to other countries. We have an assortment of internationally made beers you can find here like Guinness, Heineken, Castle Lager among others; you have had enough of those and it is time to try our locally made Ugandan beers.

Beers like Nile Special (from Nile Breweries) and Bell Lager (from East African Breweries) are made here in Uganda and are outstandingly good. Most people tend to favour Nile Special because of its unique taste.

Normally, a beer will cost you 1 – 2.5 USD each – depending on the place you buy from.

  • Wines & Spirits

Most people seem to be taking a liking to wines of recent, especially in high end hang out places around Kampala.

The lodges in game parks mostly serve South African wines like Four cousins (Red & White) as well as boxed wines like Robertson (sweet red, dry or white). A glass of wine goes up to a maximum $4 in the lodges and high-end restaurants and a bottle can even go up to $27.

Uganda Waragi: Waragi is a local term for locally distilled drinks. Birthed a little after Uganda gained its independence in 1962, Uganda Waragi is a triple distilled gin. It is known as the spirit of Uganda because of its cohesive power to bring people together. With the premium, Coconut and Pineapple flavour, you can purchase a shot of UG (short name for Uganda Waragi) at a maximum of $4 in bars or a full 750ml bottle at 6 to 7 dollars at retail price in shops and supermarkets.

Most people who have tried Uganda Waragi have carried a few ‘permitable’ bottles back home just for show off and enjoyment.

HOW MUCH MONEY TO CARRY

 

Talking about how much money to carry after showing you the few common extra spoils is intentional. This is because there is no way for us to know the specifics and you would have to weigh your likely interests and spending.

If you want to plan this in advance, you could draw up and expected list of extra stuff you expect to spend on and ask us to gauge for you the likely cost. On such a cost, you might add an ‘extra extras’ percentage and have a close enough figure.

It really depends on your expenditure rate. Impulse shoppers and poor financial managers like me, I would advise carrying less cash in an attempt to refrain yourselves. Carry enough to tip and buy a little this and that without going off-budget.

If you wish to exchange your currency to Ugandan shillings, this is no problem, ensure to talk to your tour guide about this in advance. Most of them already know the right valid places to go to for a good rate.

Running out of loose cash is not a problem. We advise you to carry your credit card as a back-up. Most establishments have taken up this mode of payment for services received and are charged based on the current exchange rate so do not be worried about running out of cash.

THE QUESTION OF SAFETY

 

Is it safe to carry money on a Uganda Safari? Yes, absolutely.

Should you carry so much money on safari? probably not. Carrying large sums of money might attract wrong people, and we can’t fully guarantee the behaviours and actions of all the people you will come in contact with.

If it happens that you are carrying a lot of money, you will have to do a great job of concealing it and not drawing attention. One good thing to do in such an instance is to separate some of the money from the bigger sum, such that any spending you need to do is from that small amount.

Another place we don’t advise to leave money is in your lodge. While we send all our guests to good lodges where we trust their service, we like to insist that you walk with your cash, passports, bank cards and any such items of great importance.

As for your bank back home, you can inform them of your travel such that any transactions you make are not flagged as fraud and denied. That is usually a simple part for the bank.

All in all, you see how the question of safety with money on a safari has no definitive answer. Just be careful as you would be in most places and your money should be safe. If you feel doubtful, just talk to your guide and he will advise you on the best way to go about anything.

Exclusive African Safari drivers and guides are very experienced and professional and we ask you to trust them to help you.

CONCLUSION

This article was meant to highlight something that you should know as far as money is concerned, as you plan your African Safari to Uganda (or Rwanda). You have seen a few of the common activities that require some extra cash from you and also learnt that it is generally okay to carry cash while on safari.

We hope that this information helps you to easily plan your Uganda Safari and more importantly to enjoy it all with the fullness of your heart.

Now, we know that this article doesn’t answer the question of the exchange rate or how much the various things cost in various places. That is because these are always changing figures. For very specific and relevant information on some things, we encourage you to ask us and we shall get the information that is relevant – to the day (or maybe two!).

Knowing all this, I assume you feel confident about taking a holiday trip to Uganda. We would love it if you did that with us.

Our promise is a great service to you before during and after your safari. Take a quick look at our already made Uganda Safari packages for some inspiration. Alternatively, you can ask us to create for you your very own safari program based around your budget and interests, for Free!

Finally, we thank you for taking the time. And hopefully, this was very helpful for you. If you would share this on social media, it would help the article help more people.

Once again, we appreciate your time. Thank you and cheers!

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