Most tourists who visit the three East African region (including Kenya and Tanzania) and other African countries such as South Africa consider Uganda an exorbitant tourist destination to visit during African safaris. Most packaged Uganda safaris seems to be expensive if compared with those from Kenya, Tanzania and even South Africa. The elements included in packaging a complete safari are always expensive. Transport costs as well as accommodation facilities within Uganda’s National Parks are believed to be charged higher than other destinations and the question that lingers in everyone’s mind is why?
Well, this article cites some of the possible reason for Uganda safaris being slightly more costly than you might have experienced in other places, and these include;
Uganda Stands Apart as an Ecotourism Destination
Destination such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania are positioned as mass tourism markets which is not the case with Uganda. For instance, which one among the mentioned places offers gorilla trekking or chimpanzee tracking safaris? I guess none. Most of them offer wildlife safaris (game drives) that in most cases don’t need to limit the number of visitors.
Dubbed the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is endowed with a lot of fragile and greatly unspoiled ecosystems such as lush tropical rain forests, wetlands that still need great protection. In most cases, high prices are set to ensure conservation of the unique resources and also limit the number of visitors. Mountain gorillas for instance are extraordinary primates that limit tourists in terms of high rates for gorilla permits as well as the number of people and the amount of time allowed to spend with them.
So for you to be allowed to spend just one hour with critically endangered Giant Apes, you should be able to part with at least $600 per person for only gorilla permits (without even transport and accommodation being catered for).
Accessibility by Air is still a Problem
Uganda has not yet developed a reliable air transport to connect it to major international airports. The National carrier, Uganda Airlines has just been revamped! The national carrier started operations from 1977 until May 2001 when it was finally liquidated. Currently the country has not yet made its national carrier, a reliable airline to transport tourists from other places into the country and vice versa. Uganda’s neighboring countries like Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda have well known own national carriers that make it cheaper to tourists to connect to such destinations.
This country largely depends on International Airlines such as Brussels, South African Airways, Rwandair, Kenya Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airways, KLM, British Airways and Qatar airlines among others hence making it very expensive for tourists participating in Uganda safaris.
There is less competition for services
Imagine someone owning a shop with highly demanded products within a place where he is the only one without competition, what do you exactly of such a person? Well, there will be definitely high prices. The main issue is that there are less accommodation facilities in the National parks compared to other destinations like Masai Mara National Reserve with a wide range of facilities. Therefore, the few facilities charge high prices hence making the destination to be generally expensive.
Uganda is a landlocked country
Uganda is undeniably a landlocked country bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, Rwanda in the south-west, Kenya in the east, South Sudan in the North and Tanzania in the South. Therefore, all the imports (good and services) entering the country have to be charged at the Ports such as Mombasa and Dar es Salaam hence the reason you will find the products being more expensive than other countries such as Kenya and Tanzania that are not landlocked.
In conclusion, Uganda is considered an expensive destination because it has no National Carrier, she is landlocked, the country branded herself as an ecotourism destination and due to less competition. However, that should not discourage you from making safari to the country because it is a true nature Paradise.