5 Affordable Places To Visit On An East African Wildlife Holiday

Going for a wildlife holiday has become a trend to many travelers visiting the East African region. East Africa boosts with diverse wildlife species from the most rare and endangered to the commonly known wildlife species.

The region comprises of 5 major countries that are Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania & Burundi. These are unique in-terms of wildlife that has made each become a leading wildlife holiday destination in its own right. Close by is Democratic Republic of Congo which is still relatively less explored making it a giant wildlife tour destination as well.

Wildlife tours to this beautiful region always seems very costly as majority of tourists travel several Kilometers from their home countries. When you incorporate the international flight fares plus the park fees and accommodation expenses, it becomes quite expensive.

Important to note though is that there are affordable Wildlife holiday tours you can do and still have a great time. Lets briefly look at these Must Visit affordable safari destinations in the area.

Murchison Falls National Park

This vast national park is stretches from Mid Western to Northern Uganda and its among the most diverse wild places. The park’s most outstanding land mark is the Murchison falls listed among the most strongest waterfalls on the planet. The falls were formed along the Nile River and plunges about 7 meters down a narrow gorge with a great force.

It forms a permanent rainbow that can be visibly seen when the Sun rays hit that waters of the Nile at the falls. These magnificent falls are often seen while on the boat cruise to the bottom at only $30 per person. There is also an option of hiking to the top of the falls at only $15 per person. Driver guides also have an option of driving a 10 kilometer distance to the top of Murchison falls for better sight seeing and Photography. This option works incase you don’t intend to hike from the bottom to the top.

Four of the big Five mammals freely roam the open plains of this beautiful park. These include lions, leopards, Elephants and buffaloes. The 5th species (the rhinos) can be tracked at $50 per person at the Zziwa rhino sanctuary found en route to Murchison. With this, a wildlife holiday tour to Murchison guarantees you of the big 5.

Major tourism activities done here include game drives, boat cruises, ballon safaris, nature walks, birding, sport fishing among others. The park also has a tropical rain forest – Budongo forest a home to chimpanzees and other Primates. Park entrance fees is only $40 per person per day which comes a long with never ending adventures.

Giraffes in Murchison Falls NP, Wildlife Holiday
Giraffes in Murchison Falls NP. Photo by Craig Trexler

Virunga National Park

A trip to this region without Mountain gorilla trekking is often seen as incomplete. Gorilla tours have over the years become the most desired wildlife tours as people seek to meet one of mans’ closest primate species.

Mountain gorillas are endangered primates living in the forested Mountains in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The first two mountain gorilla destinations are however a bit expensive compared to DRC’s Virunga National Park. Its located in eastern DRC and one of the oldest national parks on the African continent.

The park has about 10 habituated mountain gorilla families open to tourist visitation. Gorilla permits here cost $500 per person which is way cheaper than the $700 per person in Uganda and $1500 per person in Rwanda. While here you can also see a number of other primates including golden monkeys, baboons among others.

Mount Nyiragongo with the world’s only lava is also situated in Virunga national park. The mountain recently erupted affecting the neighboring communities but studies are being done to determine when it will be safe again for tourists. While on a wildlife holiday here ensure to add Virunga national park for the most affordable gorilla tracking tour.

Golden Monkey in Virunga National Park. Wildlife Holiday
Golden Monkey in Virunga National Park DRC. Courtesy Photo

Serengeti Tanzania

Serengeti is the most famous savanna wildlife tour destination in East Africa because of its wildebeest migration. The park is located in northern Tanzania and together with Kenya’s Masai Mara forms an ecosystem where an annual mass migration happens.

4 of Savanna’s big five also live here that include lions, buffaloes, leopards and elephants. Some of the last remaining large prides of lions are seen roaming the plains of Serengeti national Park. Many of these are seen while on game drives, nature walks and ballon safaris that are organized within the park.

Unlike expensive wildlife tour packages like gorilla tracking, a safari in Serengeti is very affordable and worth. Here you not only get to witness the wildebeest migration but also get to see a variety of wildlife including birds.

There are a number of affordable accommodation options including campsites for budget travelers. For your ultimate and affordable wildlife tour expeditions in East Africa, ensure to add Serengeti on your bucket list.

Serengeti National Park
Wildebeest Migration Serengeti National Park. Courtesy Photo

Nyungwe National Park

In the land of thousand hills is Nyungwe forest national park located in the southwestern part. Its home to chimpanzees and many other primate species including the black and white colobus monkeys, Blue monkeys among others. Nyungwe forest National park is however most famous for chimpanzee tracking and its ideal for affordable chimpanzee tracking wildlife tours.

Tracking permits here cost $90 per person and one gets a chance to hike the tropical rainforest to meet chimpanzees. Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe is very adventurous as you get to see other wildlife in the forested Park. You can engage in other primate treks where you can do an exclusive Hike to see other wildlife in the park.

Birding safaris are very rewarding here as well as. There are a number of the endemic bird species to the forest and the Albertine rift valley. Notable birds here include the great blue Turaco, regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Kivu-ground Thrush among others.

All Nyungwe forest national parks activities are very much affordable. With the diversity the park has, on a visit there for a couple of days you can explore the major tourist attractions.

Great Blue Turaco Nyungwe National Park Rwanda
Great Blue Turaco Nyungwe NP Rwanda. Photo by Eric Manzi

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is the only wildlife protected area near the city center. The park is located only 10 kilometers from Kenya’s capital city Nairobi and its home a variety of wildlife species.

Its the best safari escape from the city congestion as you get to explore the best of East Africa’s wildlife. Notable wildlife here include the endangered black rhinos, lions, buffaloes, leopards, hyenas, zebras and others.

The park is also a birders haven with over 400 bird species 20 of which are migratory coming as far as Europe. The park entrance fees is $40 per adult and $20 for children. Citizens and foreign residents have discounted rates making the park among the best affordable destinations for wildlife tours.

Leopard in Nairobi National Park. Wildlife Holiday
Leopard in Nairobi National Park. Photo by Samuel Vellas