Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – Rhino Trekking Uganda
Situated in Nakasongola district about 176 kilometers north of the City is Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, a private and non-profit sanctuary that currently offers shelter to the only wild population of Rhinos in Uganda.
The location of this site along the Kampala-Gulu highway makes it a perfect stopover point for tourists visiting Murchison falls and Kidepo valley National Parks hence fulfilling the dream of seeing the big five animals.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was established in 2005 as a “Rhino re-introduction project” by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rhino Fund Uganda and presently extends for an area of 70 square kilometers (7,000 hectares).
There are currently over 22 southern white rhinos roaming freely across the savannah and wetland vegetation of this animal Sanctuary.
Other Wildlife species in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Besides the Rhinos, other wildlife species that call this 70-square kilometer electric fenced Sanctuary home are the Nile crocodiles, leopards, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, bushbucks, hippos, oribis, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons and many others.
Birdlife in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is also a home to more than 350 species of birds including the rare shoebill storks, Ross turaco, pied kingfishers, Grey-crowned cranes, Purple herons, giant kingfishers, Brown parrots, Broad-billed rollers, sacred ibid, red-headed bluebill, Abyssinian ground hornbills, Cardinal woodpeckers, African darters, saddle-billed storks, Rufus-billed herons, African fish eagles, African green pigeon, Sooty Falcon, African crowned eagles, Brown-crowned Tchagra, red-headed bluebill, Hammerkop, cattle egret, African jacana, tawny eagles, speckled mousebird, Thick-billed Honeyguide, common bulbul, African green pigeon, African pygmy kingfishers, Dusky tit, African open-billed storks, white-crested turaco, wattled lapwing, and crested francolin among others.
Tourist activities in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where on-foot rhino trekking is conducted and this gives tourists the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of seeing the endangered southern white rhinos in their natural habitat.
Visitors are usually driven to the areas where they are believed to be and the bush trek conducted. This trek not only rewards tourists with the views of the southern white rhinos but also other animals such as Uganda kobs, bushbucks, oribis and birds that call the Sanctuary home.
Birding – Bird Watching Safaris
With over 350 species of birds calling the savannah and wetland vegetation of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary home, birding is definitely a must-do tourist activity.
There are presently four birding trails that offer opportunities of sighting the sacred ibid, red-headed bluebill, Abyssinian ground hornbills, Cardinal woodpeckers, tawny eagles, blue-spotted doves, sacred ibis, cattle egret, red-necked falcon, blue-spotted doves, African black crakes, African darters, saddle-billed storks, Rufus-billed herons, African fish eagles, African green pigeon, Sand martin, Sooty Falcon, African crowned eagles, Brown-crowned Tchagra, red-headed bluebill and shoebill storks among others.
Guided day nature walks
In the company of trained guides have a nature walk where bushbucks, elands, Uganda kobs, waterbucks and many others will be sighted. The guides will offer information on the mammals, reptiles, birds, vegetation and many other interesting features encountered.
Canoe ride and shoebill trek
Canoe rides and shoebill trek are one of the most exciting and sought-after tourist activities in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The canoe rides will introduce you to the sight and sound for the different aquatic bird species such as the African fish eagles as well as the rare shoebill storks within the wetlands (Lugogo Swamp).
Night walks are also conducted in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and these introduce tourists to the night sensations and sounds that you didn’t imagine existed. Your night walk will reward you with the opportunity of spotting the leopards, pottos, and owls among others.
Best time to visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary can be visited all year round.
Where to Stay (Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Accommodation)
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary has few accommodation facilities for overnight tourists. The few include Amuka Safari Lodge in addition to other budget options such as camping within the designated and well-equipped Campsites as well as Bandas.
How to get to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is found in Nakasongola district, about 176 kilometers/3 hours’ drive north of the City along the Kampala-Gulu highway.
You will see the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary signpost (yellow in color) west off the highway and about 4 kilometers to the Sanctuary gate.