Visiting the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Driving north-west from Kampala to Murchinson Falls National Park, it is really worth a visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Here, a “rhino hiking” to watch the endangered white rhino is a must. The sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where they still survive and breed with the hopes of one day to be reintroduced to Murchinson Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park when they increase in numbers.
Rhino is one of the famous African “Big Five” and, before the 1980s, Uganda was the habitat of over 600 rhinos. Unfortunately, due to the massive poaching and the civil war, the number of these big mammals reduced significantly year by year until 1983, when the last sighting was reported. In 2005, by an initiative of two organizations, Rhino Fund Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority, it started a project to re-introduce the extinct rhinos in Uganda and aims to increase its numbers in the next years. At the moment the “Sanctuary” is home of 22 rhinos in total with 15 adults and 7 youth. When we visited the Reserve in 2018, the last ones being born were “Apache” on 26 July 2017, and “Madam” on 26 august 2017.
Once at the Reserve, you will be given a briefing from a ranger on how to behave while on this Rhino trek. After the briefing, the ranger will lead you through the bush to the location of the rhinos. Usually, it takes 1 hour but it depends on the location of these wild animals, and viewing time is a maximum of one hour. Sometimes different families are within a distance of each other, in which case you will get an opportunity to visit more than one group. While at the Sanctuary you may also encounter a range of other wildlife species including Uganda kobs, oribis, bushbucks, waterbucks among others and a number of other bird species.
Information about Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
How to get there: the reserve is located in the Nakasongola district, about 170 km from Kampala, along the Kampala – Masindi road. If you stay in Kampala/Entebbe, you can directly contact the Reserve to organize the visit.
Activities in the Reserve: in addition to the rhino trekking, the Rangers organize walks for birdwatchers, canoe rides to spot the shoebill, night walks and nature walks.
Entrance fee: 50 USD.
Where to sleep: usually the Reserve is only a stopover for tours directed to the Murchison Falls Park; however, the Reserve offers a guest house and a camping area for those wishing to stay there.
- For more info about the Sanctuary and rates check the official website of Ziwa Rhino Website.