Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (Activities and Attractions)
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is a private non-profit animal sanctuary in Uganda which was established in 2005 mainly to re-introduce southern white rhinos in the wild. It is the only place in Uganda where these endangered animals can be observed in the wild. The sanctuary is located in Nakasongola district in the River Kafu basin in the north of Kampala along Kampala-Gulu highway approximately 164km away from Kampala by road. Currently, it is a home to 33 Rhinos both black and southern white rhinos.
Ziwa rhino safari can be combined with Murchison falls national park wildlife safari because it is close to Ziwa rhino sanctuary and the distance is 69km taking approximately 4 hours. Ziwa Rhino sanctuary covers an area of 70 square kilometers and the main objective was to protect these endangered rhinos from human and predators in order to expand the rhino population through breeding and later on be re-introduced in the Uganda’s national parks.
How to get to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
By road, Enjoy Safaris Africa can organize for you a bus or a private car from Kampala which takes approximately 3 hour’s drive and the driving distance is 171km on Kampala-Gulu highway towards Murchison falls national park. This is the cheapest and easiest option. From Entebbe by road, it takes approximately 4 hour’s drive.
Attractions in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is one of the most important wildlife conservation area with a variety of wildlife, bird species, primates, mammals and most importantly, it is the only place where endangered black and southern white Rhinos are protected in the wild. Below are the attractions in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary;
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only place in Uganda which is a home to a majority of black rhinos and southern white rhinos. Rhinos are members of the African big five, they are major touristic attractions in Ziwa rhino sanctuary and they are gifted animals whose horns are more valuable and considered as a status symbol in terms of wealth and success, their horns act as an ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are gentle animals whose existence has benefited other species and our communities because they are source of income through tourism.
Other than rhinos, Ziwa rhino sanctuary is a habitat to a variety of wildlife including 40 mammal species, Leopards which are African big 5 members, Uganda kobs, water animals like crocodiles and Hippos, Warthogs, Antelopes, grey duikers and many more animals, It is as well a home to primates including the vervet monkeys, black and white monkeys and mongoose which offers a great opportunity for wildlife game viewing.
Ziwa rhino sanctuary is a special birding destination which hosts over 351 iconic bird species in its savannah grassland, woodland, Valley dams and swamps. Many bird species thrive from Ziwa rhino sanctuary and these include the most cherished shoebill stork though it is challenging to get close to without it flying, Malachite Kingfisher, African cuckoo, Hadada Ibis, White crested Turaco, Saddle-billed stork and Ross’s Turaco which bears the colors of Uganda’s national flag, the Grey crowned crane which is the national bird and a symbol of Uganda and many more birds.
Activities in Ziwa Rhino sanctuary
Rhino tracking is the man activity in the sanctuary which is done by tourists alongside well-trained rangers and guides on foot, it takes approximately 1-2 hours guided walk in the rhino’s natural environment with in the sanctuary. This is a wonderful experience especially when observing these gentle animals at a close range and there is a chance to encounter other different wild animals.
Ziwa rhino sanctuary is an outstanding birding area which offers a great birding opportunity in savannah grassland, woodland, swamps and valley dams. Birding is done in lugogo swamp where the most cherished shoebill stork can be found and other bird species in different bird trails. Ziwa rhino sanctuary offers an incredible meaningful birding experience for the enthusiastic birders.
Game viewing in ziwa rhino sanctuary is a chance for tourists to explore other wildlife species found in this sanctuary. This is done by tourists guided by experienced park rangers and guides on a 4×4 open sided vehicle which is an excellent experience of viewing wildlife at a close range.
Shoebill trekking/ Canoe ride
Shoebill stork is one of the most cherished rare bird which can only be spotted in Lugogo swamp Nakasongola while in Ziwa rhino sanctuary which is done while sailing through the swamp on a canoe boat and fortunately you get to view other water bird species including white crested turaco, the giant kingfisher, palm-nut vultures and many more.
Night guided walk
This is a unique opportunity where tourists are able to clearly see all the nocturnal wildlife species in the wilderness and these are accompanied by experienced armed park rangers and guides which helps nature lovers to easily connect with nature.
Guided Nature walk
Guided nature walks are done during day time mainly in the savannah plains of Ziwa rhino sanctuary with a ranger guide as you explore the flora and fauna in the sanctuary where you will spot animals like Oribis, reed bucks, gray duikers and others.
When to visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa rhino sanctuary can be visited any time throughout the year however it is always better to atleast spend one or two nights for a better experience. The other option is to have a combined safari for both Ziwa rhino sanctuary and Murchison falls national park where tourists can enroute to Ziwa rhino sanctuary on their way to Murchison falls national park for an absolutely wonderful experience.
How much is the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary entrance fee?
The entrance fee to Ziwa rhino sanctuary for foreign nonresidents is $50 which is only for entering into the sanctuary however if tourists wish to carry out some activities, the fee is $65 and it is always easier and less stressing to organize your safari through a tour company.
Accommodations in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa rhino sanctuary has excellent accommodation options with good services, employees, and modest restaurants. There is also another option of camping and the campsites are in a safe natural environment. The following are the hotel accommodations;
Amuka Lodge, Ziwa Rhino Lodge, Ziwa Rhino Reserve, Max Hotel, New Court view Hotel and Talemwa guest house.