Bucket List Tour Destinations in East Africa That Are Affordable

Many travelers Visit East Africa to explore their bucket list tour destinations because of the regions unmatched beauty. There various wildlife adventures that people yearn to be a part of including Primate tracking, safari game drives and many more.

Many travelers are however limited by budgets as some tour destinations are great by expensive to explore. With this limitation, some tourists get discouraged and miss out on the greater good as East Africa has a lot to offer.

Lets explore bucket list tour destinations in East Africa that are affordable and can be alternatives to general adventures.

Kibale National Park

This primate capital is situated in western Uganda and is home to over 13 primate species including the common chimpanzees. The park has the highest chimpanzee population on the planet and the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa.

Chimpanzee tracking is the most common wildlife activity done here. A chimpanzee permit costs USD 200 per person for international travelers while permits for foreign residents and East African citizens are discounted.

A visit to this beautiful forested park offers you a chance to meet other wildlife species while on a hike. Other commonly seen primates here include red colobus monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys among others. There are also over 350 bird species in the park some of which are seen while on guided nature walks or hikes.

Primate tracking here can be an alternative to mountain gorilla tracking that is more expensive. Kibale national park also lies in between most visited Uganda tour destinations like Queen Elizabeth and Murchison falls National Parks. While on a Visit Uganda expedition you can a combined safari to the three parks and explore the best of Uganda.

Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park Uganda. Tour destinations
Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park Uganda. Photo by Mark Fitz-Simmons
Lake Manyara National Park

This beautiful park is among Tanzania’s underrated wildlife tour destinations as its diversity is unmatched. The parks is located in Northern Tanzania with a land area of 325 square kilometers.

As its name depicts, the park has a lake (Lake Manyara) that attracts wildlife species including over 350 bird species. The park also has open savannas with mammals including zebras, gazelles, buffaloes among others.

Lake Manyara national park also has a woodland and steep mountain sides making it a great place for scenic views. The park also experiences the great wildebeest migration though for a short period of time. Wildebeest, zebras, Thompson and grant gazelles move through this park from Tarangire national park.

Entrance fees here are around USD 50 where as in famous destinations like Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti entrance is between USD 70 to USD 80. The difference might not be a lot but you at least save a few dollars that you can use to top up for another activity.

Pelican Lake Manyara Tanzania. Tour destinations
Pelican in Lake Manyara Tanzania. Photo by Ausser Vriesische
Virunga National Park

Virunga national park is Africa’s oldest national park located in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is a UNESCO world heritage site and the most diverse park in East and Central Africa.

Its most famous for its Virunga mountains that are homes to the rare and endangered mountain gorillas. In the region, Mountain gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mghinga gorilla parks in Southern Uganda as well as Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Mountain gorilla tracking however in the 3 mentions parks are expensive compared to Virunga national park.

A gorilla permit here costs USD 400 per person a very fair price compared to USD 1500 per person in Rwanda and USD 700 per person in Uganda.

Being the most diverse national park, you stand a chance to see other wildlife and attractions in Virunga national park. Most notable ones include mount Nyiragongo and mount Nyamuragira the regions most active volcanic mountains.

Tourists spend a night at the Mount Nyiragongo summit where they clearly view red hot lava. The park rescheduled mountain gorilla tracking packages that also feature Nyiragongo hike a dream of many nature lovers.

Infant Gorilla in Virunga National Park. Tour destinations
Infant Gorilla in Virunga National Park. Courtesy Photo
Watamu Marine Park

The East African region is famous for its vast savannas and primates and yet there are Marine parks as well. East Africa has a long coastline along the Indian Ocean and its where you find marine national parks with a number of Marine wildlife.

In Marine parks like Watamu marine park you find sea wildlife and Watamu is most famous for the green turtle. The park has a number of coral reefs that are habitats to a number of fish species.

The major adventure wildlife activities done here include diving, glass bottom boat rides, snorkeling, water surfing, water skiing and other. A visit here would be a great supplement to a savanna national park safari as you get to know about marine wildlife.

Park entrance fees is only USD 15 a very fair given the park diverse wildlife and activities you engage in. There are also pure white sand beaches where you can relax and enjoy the East African sun light.

Sea turtle watamu Kenya.
Sea Turtle Watamu Kenya. Photo by Sami Rae
Akagera National Park

This is Rwanda’s only savanna national park located in the Eastern part of the country. The park is home to a number of wildlife species including lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, giraffes, leopards, often seen on game drives.

Akagera national park is a great example of wildlife conservation as many of the animals there had gone extinct because of poaching. After several years of conservation, the park has greatly recovered and many species have been reintroduced there.

The park can be best explored while on game drives along the major trails where you see the different wildlife. You can also take a boat cruise along Ihema where you will see nile crocodiles, hippos and a number of birds.

While on a visit to Rwanda and have no money for gorilla tracking, a safari to Akagera would be a great option. Park entrance fees here are only at USD 100 and a boat cruise at USD 90. You can spend a number days exploring the park on a budget you can use to buy just one gorilla permit.

Elephant in Akagera National park Rwanda. Safari Game drives
Elephant in Akagera National park Rwanda. Photo by Eric Manzi

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