The tourism market in Uganda is very dissimilar to that of the US or Europe. Internet deals generally don’t exist and it come down to good old bargaining to get a good deal. It hasn’t been helped by the heads of commonwealth meeting in 2007 where prices were artificially hiked and then never brought down again! Using a tourism company is always the most sensible option as they will be able to offer lower prices due to per-arranged prices with the hotels.
Another consideration is the quality and standards involved in hotels and lodges. It’s not uncommon to find places with poor service, dirty rooms and no mosquito nets. However, safari and tour companies have a reputation to uphold an therefore regularly inspect hotels ad lodges that they use. They also receive regular feedback from clients and act on negative comments to ensure better service delivery.