Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary guide to Rhino tracking, attractions, activities, where to stay and best time to visit
The Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is one of the popular areas in Uganda where you can see Wild Rhinos in Uganda.
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is 176 Kilometers from Kampala along the Gulu highway.
The sanctuary is popular to all tourists who are booked on a trip to Murchison falls National Park.
Taking part in Rhino trekking, Shoebill tracking, canoe rides and birdwatching.
This is the perfect stopover that will spice up your trip either while on your way or return trip from Murchison Falls park.
History of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
The sanctuary is 70 square meters large and it was a former private ranch owned by captain Roy. The sanctuary boasts of thirty-two (32) southern white rhinos.
The Rhino reintroduction project was a collaboration effort between Rhino Fund Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority.
This agreement was reached upon due to the loss of this specie in Uganda.
This was due to poaching, wars and conflicts during those days. By 1982, Uganda had lost all its black and white rhinos due to conflicts and war.
The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was set up in 2005 with its main goal being; to build a sustainable population of rhinoceros population in Uganda and reintroduce rhinos back in the wild (protected areas).
The Rhino sanctuary started with six (6) rhinos; four (4) from Solio Ranch in Kenya and two (two) donated from the Disney Animal Kingdom in Florida, United States of America.
The rhino population has kept on growing since then and by 2013 they had 13 rhinos.
Over the years the Rhinos started giving birth; in 2018 they were twenty-four (24) rhinos and to date, the sanctuary has thirty-two (32) Rhinos all with names.
How to reach Ziwa Sanctuary
The sanctuary is only reachable by road transport and it’s a three(3) hour’s drive from Kampala. It’s also located on your way to Murchison falls, National Park.
You will branch off at Nakitoma trading centre and take a murram 1.5 km off the highway.
If you are using public transportation, it’s rangers from 15,000-25,000/= from Kampala.
The private vehicle will cost you between $100 to $200 in a car that seats 4 people from Kampala.
Best Time to Visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
The time of visit varies depending on the season that’s wet or dry, however, Ziwa Sanctuary is open all year round.
The best time is always the dry season when you get to see more wildlife in any park. This is because they are more active and you get to learn more about the species.
Dry seasons are always June to October and December to February and you can rest assured that your activities won’t be distorted.
Wet seasons are always September to November and March to May and the best time for bird watching and the sanctuary is greener.
Where to stay or accommodation facilities?
Ziwa Rhino Reserve
This is a budget kind of accommodation situated inside the sanctuary headquarters. They create a serene environment for their guests as they unwind on the jetlag.
Accommodation ranges from smaller bandas, family size bandas and just staying in a tent. The restaurant offers both local and international cuisine to choose from on alcarte basis.
Amuka Safari Lodge
This a midrange type of lodge found in the reserve woodland offering you that remarkable experience.
The chalets are named after the rhinos in the park and a fantastic restaurant. You will enjoy beautiful views and be served exquisite cuisine. Enjoy cooling down in the swimming pool and feel the tranquillity of the African savannah.
What to or Things to do at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
The Rhino trekking activity is one of the must-dos in Ziwa and your ranger will allow you experience these animals up close.
The distance is always 6-7 meters away and is considered a safe distance. You will go on foot with your guide tracking these animals until you spot them.
The best times have always been 8 am and 10 am to watch them wake up or rise. And also in the evening hours from 4 pm to 6 pm as they plan to go to bed/retire for the day.
You shall head out on a canoe ride in search of the shoebill stork tracking in the Kafu river basin. The bird has a goofy charm and with a Dutch clog foot-long bill stalk.
This stalk helps it in hunting for young crocodiles, fish (Tilapia) and Nile monitor lizards. The shoebill bird is an endangered species and is rest assured that at Ziwa sanctuary you will see it.
The sanctuary has 40 mammal species like Oribis, Bushbucks, Crocodiles, Hippos, Leopards and 300 bird species. As a tourist, you will enjoy these on a game drive, night walk and canoe ride.
For bird lovers, Ziwa sanctuary is the place to watch the rare birds in this savannah woodland vegetation.
The swamp habitat in habitats different bird species ranging from; African Eagle, Abdim’s Stork, Palm-nut vultures, Speckled breasted woodpecker, Barbets, Blue-spotted dove and Ross’s Turaco
The best time for birdwatching is early morning 6 am to 8 am and evening 4 pm to 6 pm.
Night or Nocturnal walks
The night walks have become popular at Ziwa sanctuary and you can choose to go for one.
These start at 8 pm to 11 pm in the night under a guided walk by a ranger to protect you.
The guide will provide you with information about the different fauna and flora found in the forest.
The walk will take approximately three (3) to four (4) hours and is physically challenging. Ensure you are wearing comfortable shoes, insect repellent and long trousers, a torch and a bottle of water.
Custom made to give the jungle experience in your own style.