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Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Uganda


ziwa rhino sanctuary near murchison falls national park uganda

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary near Murchison Falls National Park

Things to Do and See at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary


Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary near Murchison Falls National ParkZiwa Rhino Sanctuary is about 3-hour drive from Kampala, nearly halfway to Murchison Falls Park. The Sanctuary a collaborative effort between Rhino Fund Uganda - an none profit and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, of rebuilding the Rhinoceros population in Uganda.

These are dark days for the rhinos all over the continent. Uganda was home to thousands of Rhinos until the war years of 1970s along with excessive hunting and poaching, which saw the country's last wild rhino in Murchison shot in 1983.

Rhinos were re-introduced into Uganda in 2005 by Rhino Fund Uganda. Southern White rhinos are now being bred again in the 70 km² Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. A team of approximately 90 park rangers and security guards keep a 24-hour watch on the rhinos here to ensure their safety. The sanctuary is surrounded by a 2 metres (6.6 ft) electric fence to keep the rhinos in and the intruders out.

The mission is to reintroduce small herds of rhinos (around five at a time), whilst retaining a nucleus breeding herd in the sanctuary. Rhinos are hunted for their horns.  The horns are made into handles for daggers and swords in places such as Yemen and ground into medicine in China. A pound of Rhino Horn can cost over 50,000 USD.


On-Foot Rhino Tracking

ziwa rhino tracking near murchison falls national parkThe Sanctuary is home to thirty one southern white rhinos (May 2020). The highlight here is of course rhino tracking but there is a lot more to the Sanctuary than most people realize. The large Sanctuary is not only home to the endangered Rhinoceros but its vast wetlands are a place that birders do not want to miss.The sanctuary is home to at least 40 mammal and reptilian species including leopards, monkeys, antelopes, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, bushbucks and oribis among others - numerous bird species including the elusive and ancient looking Shoebill Stork. Visiting the and the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary means you can score the Big Five in Uganda.

The sanctuary offers you a chance to track the rhinos on foot. A ranger meets you upon arrival and gives you an introduction to our sanctuary and information about the rhinos here. The tour begins with a board listing each of the rhinos. Depending on where the rhinos are, you will drive to the closest point and approach the rhinos before taking the bush trek.
The things you need: Long pants, socks and closed toe shoes, insect spray and drinking water.
You will then have a chance to watch the rhinos in the wild at a very close and very safe, point. The park has however fences and has no predators. Still, you will see them without fences, without collars and full grown horns.  This is a one kind of amazing experience that you will long remember. These creatures are magnificent - you have a chance to watch them at a close range while grazing. Your guide is there to keep you safe from harm so listening to the safety briefing he gives you is very important.
Tracking excursions are twice a day - 8am to 10am or 4pm to 6pm and lasts 1½ - 2½ hours - depending the on location of the rhinos - not very strict timings as it is usually available all day. Best time for trekking is however in the morning when all the rhinos are up and active.

The Sanctuary is a great stop between Kampala and Murchison Falls National Park, allowing you to stretch your legs after a few hours of sitting in the car. Do visit - you will learn so much about Rhinos during the Rhino tracking with the sanctuary guide. It's also a great way to help fund the program so one day the rhinos may be reintroduce into Uganda's Parks. And yes, you are guaranteed to see the Rhinos in a wild setting and as close as it can get!


Birding Walks and Shoebill Canoe Trek

Birding walks and shoebill Stork canoe trekThe sanctuary has  over 300 bird species and offer four bird trails – all within the sanctuary which cover woodlands, swamp and savannah. The sanctuary has interesting habitat for birding including the Lugogo Swamp where shoebill storks are to be found. You see other game on the sanctuary while doing your bird walk. You can do a half or full day birding hike, and explore the sanctuary known for its Rhino’s but is also home many birds.

The Shoebill canoe ride is popular here and basically done very early in the morning – meaning spending a night in the area is necessary. You leave Head Quarter area in your vehicle with one of Sanctuary Bird Guides (and a flask of coffee of course) at around 06H00 in the morning. You will be on the swamp as the sun rises, this is very beautiful and you can get some really great pictures. The Shoebill sightings here are around 98%. You also do a swamp bird walk with the guide so Wellies and mosquito repellant a MUST. The sanctuary offer Wellies for clients to use. The swamp bird life is really something and of course the Shoebill takes the cake! There are other bird walks on the sanctuary and you the swamp, savanna and forest birds. Other birds species found here cranes, raptors, robins, kingfishers, Ross's turacos, migratory birds from Europe such as swallows and swifts, cormorants among others - If you are into birding then this place should be on your must-visit list while you visit Uganda.

For the Shoebill canoe trip you have to make a reservation so they make sure the bird guide is available. You are normally back at our Head Quarters at the latest 10am which after a breakfast leaves plenty of time to travel to either Murchison or Kampala.


Guided Nature Walks

Guided walks through the Sanctuary are so rewarding - beautiful scenery of green tropical vegetation and bushes. The great biodiversity in the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary gives you a great taste of the of a safari in Uganda. Ziwa Rhino Guided nature walks at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary near Murchison ParkSanctuary has a sizeable number of butterflies, reptiles, primates and mammals. The other mammals roaming the sanctuary are the Bush Duiker, Waterbuck, Ground Squirrels, Oribi, Hartbeest, Mongoose, Grey Duiker, Reedbuck and Bush Bucks. Among the small primates found in the sanctuary are the common Vervet Monkey and the black/ white Colobus Monkeys. During your nature walk, look out for the large lizards, pythons, insects and numerous species of butterflies.

Nature Walks like with Birding Walks can be from 3 hours to longer.  Such Nature Walks on foot are with guides who will help in pointing the wildlife that is found here at the Sanctuary.
By adding Nature Walks to the Rhino Tracking, you can make your time here a full-day or even an overnight stay.

Ziwa – the best place in Uganda where to see zee Rhinos plus there are wildlife and birding Nature walks that can be done here.

For clients wanting to stay in the area Amuka Lodge is a fabulous hideaway in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The lodge is built with beautifully molded timber, natural stones and canvas finishing. It has 8 chalets with 4 furnished Luxury rooms with private bathroom and balcony.


You can add Ziwa Rhinos to any Murchison Falls Safari and see these majestic animals up close.


Below is the Ziwa Rhino Rhino Sanctuary Pricing Schedule for 2020

ACTIVITIES(Fees are subject to change)

Per Person NON RESIDENT

Per Person E-AFRICAN RESIDENT

Per Person UGANDAN CITIZEN

Rhino Trekking
Duration - Anything between 1 - 3 Hours
Adult = 13 years and above, Child = Between the ages of 6 and 12 years

Adults

50 USD

40 USD

30,000 UGX

Children

25 USD

20 USD

10,000 UGX

Additional Activities are
Shoebill Canoe Ride (Duration : 3 - 4 Hours)
Night Walk (Duration : 2 - 3 Hours)
Birding / Nature Walk (Duration : 2 - 3 Hours)
Adult = 13 years and above, Child = Between the ages of 6 and 12 years

Adults

35 USD

30 USD

25,000 UGX

Children

18 USD

15 USD

10,000 UGX

Package Deal 1
Rhino Trekking and any other One activity
Shoebill Canoe Ride is an early morning activity 06H30 - Only for clients sleeping over
Adult = 13 years and above, Child = Between the ages of 6 and 12 years

Adults

75 USD

60 USD

50,000 UGX

Children

38 USD

30 USD

20,000 UGX

Package Deal 2
Rhino Trekking and any other Two activities
Shoebill Canoe Ride is an early morning activity 06H30 - Only for clients sleeping over
Adult = 13 years and above, Child = Between the ages of 6 and 12 years

Adults

100 USD

80 USD

70,000 UGX

Children

50 USD

40 USD

30,000 UGX

Gate Entry Fee
This Fee Only Applies to Clients that DO NOTdo any Activities

20 USD

20 USD

20,000 UGX


See also;


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By Jesse Tom Kitanywa
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