In Uganda, next to Murchison Falls National Park, there is a sanctuary for the endangered rhinos called Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. In the Nakasongola district, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is close to Nakitoma Village. Nakasongola is situated along the Kampala-Gulu highway in Uganda’s cattle corridor. A 2-meter-high electric fence surrounds the sanctuary, which is located on a 70 square kilometer parcel of land and serves primarily to keep poachers away from the rhinos.
Many national parks in Uganda once housed large populations of rhinos, but these animals are now in risk of extinction mostly because of poaching for their horns and human encroachment on their habitats. Under the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the government established the Rhino fund in 2005. To assure their protection at Ziwa, where they breed rhinos, a sanctuary was created, and the endangered rhinos were reintroduced. When their numbers rise, they will be moved to other national parks. Beginning with six Southern white rhinos, the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary now boasts 22 of these animals.
The Ziwa rhino sanctuary is the only other location in Uganda where the majestic rhinos are found, besides the Uganda Wildlife Education Center in Entebbe. Visitors can follow rhinos on foot in this natural habitat. In order to maintain the protection and well-being of the rhinos, the sanctuary employs 78 qualified and competent park rangers and security guards. These staff members also help tourists go rhino tracking by giving them any required information and ensuring their safety. Many bird species, as well as other creatures like the stunning monitor lizards, chameleons, antelopes, hippos, monkeys, and crocodiles, among others, can be found at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary.
In Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, rhinos have a place to flourish and be preserved for future generations. To ensure that they continue to be a part of Uganda’s rich cultural heritage, the sanctuary has started education, conservation, and community empowerment programs for both Ugandans and foreigners.
Getting to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
On the route to Murchison Falls National Park, the Ziwa rhino sanctuary is situated in the Nakasongola area along the Kampala-Gulu highway. The sanctuary is roughly 176 kilometers (km) and three hours’ drive from Kampala by road.
Activities at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa rhino sanctuary offers a number of activities to the visitors on a safari in Uganda for great and fascinating experiences.
Rhino tracking: You can observe the critically endangered southern white rhinos in their native environment at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary during this one-of-a-kind and important activity. At the sanctuary’s entry in the morning, there is a briefing outlining the rules and expectations for rhino tracking. A tour guide will then drive you to the location where you can track white rhinos, where you may then go through the bushes to try to spot them. White rhinoceros can be observed at a near but safe distance of six to seven meters during rhino tracking, which is a wonderful and exciting experience. You may see them as they walk about and consume food, learn about a variety of issues pertaining to rhinos, including breeding, habits and mannerisms, reproduction, and more, and take pictures of the stunning animals. Ziwa’s rhino tracking permits are $30 per adult non-resident, $25 per child non-resident, $40 per adult resident of East Africa, $20 per child resident of East Africa, 30000 shillings per adult citizen of Uganda, and 10,000 shillings per child citizen of Uganda.
Bird watching: Ziwa rhino sanctuary is regarded as a birding destination since it is home to over 350 different bird species and because visitors can see the stork with the famously archaic appearance, the shoebill. Bird watching is done on a canoe journey that connects to the swamp, on a guided nature walk through the forest, or early in the morning at the entrance with an expert bird guide. There are four birding trails in the Ziwa rhino sanctuary’s woodlands, swamp, and savannah that serve as bird habitats. Here, visitors can see a variety of bird species, including palm nut vultures, barbets, Ross’s Turaco, speckled breasted woodpecker, blue-spotted dove, shoebill stork, Abdim’s stork, African black crake, White-crested Turaco, giant depending on your schedule, a half-day or full-day hike. Non-residents must pay $30 per person for a bird watching permit.
Nature walks are a guided tour-style activity offered at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary. There are many walking pathways at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary where you may stroll through the savannah to explore various plant species and see animals in its natural setting. Depending on your schedule, nature hikes at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary can last a whole day or a half-day. They can be done in the morning or the afternoon. Many creatures, such as reedbucks, waterbucks, warthogs, Uganda kobs, Oribis, gray duikers, hartebeests, vervet monkeys, black and white monkeys, ground squirrels, geckos, chameleons, and mongooses among others, can be seen during nature walks, making the experience exciting and unforgettable.
Shoebill canoe safaris are an excursion that gives tourists the chance to see a bird that many birders in Uganda want to see. The Shoebill Canoe Safari departs at 6:00 am and travels for around four hours through the swamp and ten kilometers to the spectacular Lugogo Wetlands, the richest birding location in Africa and a haven for numerous animal species. For bird enthusiasts, a shoebill canoe safari is a must-do experience since it allows them to witness the critically endangered shoebill storks. The only area in Uganda where you are certain to encounter shoebill storks, with eleven storks seen in the finest bird sightings in a single trip, is the Ziwa rhino reserve. Water birds such the African open-billed stork, African jacana, black crake, pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, great egret, gigantic kingfisher, African fish eagle, goliath heron, Egyptian geese, and others can be spotted during the shoebill canoe safari. The most thrilling activity is a Shoebill canoe safari, where you can also See the sunrise over Lugogo Swamp in Uganda and capture it on camera.
At the Ziwa rhino sanctuary, you can go on a nighttime walking tour with a park ranger, using spotlights to get a clear view of the different locations. After dinner at the lodge, night walks begin at 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. and last for two to three hours in the wilderness. You can view nocturnal animals during the night walks, such as leopards, aardvarks, and porcupines, as well as hear nighttime sounds and wild whispers in the sanctuary, all of which will make for wonderful memories.
Game viewing is available at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which is also home to 40 different species of mammals. These include antelope, reedbucks, gray duikers, Oribi, bushbucks, waterbucks, hippos, warthogs, Uganda kobs primates like vervet monkeys, black and white monkeys, mongooses, ground squirrels, and butterflies, all of which will make your safari an unforgettable experience.
Accommodation at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa rhino sanctuary offers a variety of lodging options for safari goers who wish to spend the night and participate in various activities. These options include Amuka Safari Lodge, Campsites, Budget Bandas, Max Hotel, New Court View Hotel, and Talemwa Guest House, all of which are located in Nakitoma town and provide guests with comfortable sleeping arrangements, meals, and beverages, among other things. The sanctuary is open all year round.
“The Ziwa rhino sanctuary is the place to visit, in order to observe and admire the enormous and majestic rhinos, to learn about and personally experience the majesty and grace of these endangered species,”