Activities at ziwa rhino sanctuary
The sanctuary was established in 2005 and rhinos were re-introduced by the Uganda rhino fund because they had become extinct due to wars, poaching and hunting in all national parks around 1983 therefore Ziwa rhino sanctuary is the only place in Uganda that harbors rhinos and visitors who visit the destination will get an opportunity of tracking the rhinos on foot.
Ziwa rhino sanctuary works with Uganda Wildlife Authority and Ziwa Ranchers Limited to protect, breed the endangered rhinos and when they become many re-introduce them to the national parks where they once existed. The sanctuary started with 6 rhinos and since then the number has grown to about 22 rhinos. In order to provide security for the endangered rhinos, Ziwa rhino sanctuary has 24 hour security with 78 trained and skilled park rangers plus a 6feet tall electric fence where other animals live. The sanctuary is also a home of 40 animals including antelopes, hippos, monkeys, reptiles like crocodiles, bird species among others and offers interesting activities
Things to do and see at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Rhino tracking, this is an amazing and major activity carried out at the sanctuary where visitors will track the rhinos on foot. Rhino tracking is done with an experienced ranger guide and starts with a briefing about the expectations, rules and regulations at the rhino sanctuary entrance. depending on their location you can firs drive to a spot close to where they are so as to avoid walking long distance and then trek to where they are with a ranger guide who will be sharing information about the rhinos and answering questions in case they come up. During rhino tracking you can get close to them about 6 to 7 meters, learn about their habits, behaviors, watch them feeding, take plenty of photos and record the moments. Rhino tracking in Ziwa sanctuary costs $50 for foreign non-residents, $40 for foreign residents, UGX30, 000 for East African citizens, $25 for foreign non-resident child, $20 for foreign resident child and UGX 10,000 for east African child.
Bird watching, Ziwa rhino sanctuary is a home of over 300 bird species which makes it one of the birding destinations in Uganda. There are four birding trails which have been developed in the sanctuary for example trails through the woodlands, savannah, swamps among others. birding watching at the sanctuary can either be done in the morning or in the evening and takes about 2 hours, during birding you can look out for bird species like the pre-historic shoebill stork, blue spotted dove, red headed weaver, Abdims stork, African black crake, African blue flycatcher, brown parrot, ross’s turaco, African fish eagle, brown throated wattle eye, cattle egret, Senegal coucal, saddle billed stork, ring necked dove, red winged starling, buff spotted flufftail, broad billed roller, Abyssinian ground hornbill among others.
Guided nature walk, this is a thrilling activity where visitors get an opportunity to move out of the car and explore the sanctuary on foot. guided nature walk starts with a briefing and is done in the savannah plains with a ranger guide who will be sharing information and also help you to spot different animals like Oribi, bushbucks, hippos, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, leopards, duikers, bird species among others.
Shoebill canoe ride, canoe ride is done on a 10kilometre Lugogo wetland and visitors will get an opportunity to view various animals and bird species including the elusive shoebill stork, speckle breasted woodpecker, palm nut vulture, giant kingfisher, white crested turaco, open billed stork, great egret, Egyptian goose, African fish eagle, goliath heron among others. Canoes used for the ride are offered by the community and in return they are paid for their services hence being part of the conservation partnership.
Night walk, this is one of the new activities at the sanctuary. Night walk is done with a ranger guide and flashlights for clear viewing at night. Night walk at the sanctuary start at around 8:30pm and end at around 11:00pm hence taking about 2 hours and 30 minutes. During the night walk you will be able to view nocturnal animals like the leopards, aardvark among others.
What to pack for you safari at Ziwa rhino sanctuary
• Hiking shoes, the shoes should be comfortable so as to keep your feet dry during rhino tracking, nature walk and birding
• Hat and sunglasses, these will protect you from strong sun during nature walk or rhino tracking especially in the dry season when there is less rainfall.
• Insect repellent, the insect repellent will protect you from biting insects such as safari ants, tsetse flies, mosquitos among others
• Waterproof rain jacket, this will protect you from the rain in case it rains
• Flashlight, the flashlight will be used for the night walk at the sanctuary
• A pair of binoculars, the binoculars will be used for birding so as to identify the type of bird when flying up in the air.
• Camera, the camera is very important because it will be used to record and also take photos on your safari though it’s advised to take photos with flash less cameras so as not to disrupt or frighten the rhinos.
• Light clothes
Where to stay
There are luxury, midrange and budget accommodation facilities at Ziwa rhino sanctuary such as Amuka safari lodge, guest house and camping grounds for budget travellers. Amuka safari lodge offers facilities including family chalets each with 3 beds, standard chalets each with one bedroom, restaurant which serves traditional and international dishes, limited free Wi-Fi among others which make the visitors to relax, chill after rhino tracking and feel at home while on a safari.
How to get to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa rhino sanctuary is located in Nakasongola district in the northern part of Kampala along Kampala-Gulu highway which takes about 180km by road and equivalent to 3 hours’ drive.
Ziwa rhino sanctuary is located in Nakasongola district on your way to Murchison falls national park which is the largest and most visited national park in Uganda therefore you can combine rhino tracking with other breathtaking activities in Murchison falls national park such as game drive, boat cruise to the bottom of the falls and Victoria Nile Delta, nature walk, birding, sport fishing, hot air balloon, chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest among others. When you visit Murchison falls national park you will view the big 4 mammals plus the rhinos at Ziwa rhino sanctuary making it the big 5 mammals viewed on your safari hence giving you unforgettable experiences.
In order to enjoy the fascinating rhino tracking activity at Ziwa rhino sanctuary you can book a 3 days Murchison falls wildlife safari where you will pass via Ziwa rhino sanctuary as you continue to Murchison falls national park