Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa rhino sanctuary is a non-profitable sanctuary established with a goal of the reintroduction of the endangered rhinos in Uganda, located a short way from Murchison Falls in Nakasongola district with Nakasongola as the nearest city. The sanctuary is home to  22 rhinos. Ziwa rhino sanctuary established in 2005 is a joint effort of Uganda wildlife authority (UWA), rhino fund Uganda and Ziwa ranchers limited a private land management company.

Ziwa rhino sanctuary is under the governance of nda Rhino Fund covers an area of 70 kilometers at the coordinates of 01°28′N 32°5′E, unlike in the zoo where animals are caged in this sanctuary rhinos are allowed to move free all the time being guarded by 78 park rangers, security guards and 2 meters electric face from poachers and other predators like snakes, lions. Both southern black rhinoceros and northern white rhinoceros are indigenous to Uganda but due to countless poaching by the locals for Ugameat and rhino horn, armed conflicts and poor management of wildlife rhinos were extinct in Uganda by 1982. A rhino’s horn is used as a raw material to make handles for daggers and swords in countries of Yemen and as medicine in China as a kilogram of the Rhino Horn can cost over 50,000 USD.


Ziwa rhino sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where you see rhinos in there nature wild, the target of establishing is to breed and increase the population of rhino in Uganda and also to relocate them into their natural habitats in Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks. Ziwa rhino sanctuary is 176 kilometers from Kampala the capital city of Uganda which is a three hours’ drive along Kampala- Gulu high way towards Murchison falls but you branch off at Nakitoma trading center, Nakasongola in the river Kafu basin. The sanctuary is famous for rhinos which are very humble less dangerous animals if you follow instructions while at the sanctuary, apart from rhinos the sanctuary is also home to over 40 mammals and reptiles which include monkeys, antelopes, hippopotamuses, crocodiles and numerous bird species which are of interest to many tourists.

Ziwa rhino sanctuary is a perfect destination to add on your safari of Murchison falls national park and chimpanzee trekking safari in Budongo forest as it provides tourists with a rare opportunity to see rhinos up close on foot while trekking and take wonderful pictures. Over recent years rhino numbers in the sanctuary have kept on increasing, for example, six rhinos were introduced into the Ziwa rhino sanctuary 4 from Solio Ranch in Kenya and two were donated to the project from Disney’s animal kingdom in Orlando, Florida in the United States of America. In June 2013 the rhino number increased to 13 rhinos and after birth of a calf in in April 2014, number rose to 15 individuals and by March 2018 the population increased to 22 rhinos.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Rhino Tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa rhino sanctuary offers a lot of fun activities to tourists which are breathe taking including 

The famous rhino trekking: Ziwa rhino sanctuary is very famous for rhinos and offers a great opportunity to see one of the big 5 massive animals (rhino) up close at a safer distance under the guidance of a well-trained tour guide who is very knowledgeable about the behaviors of the rhinos. While on rhino trekking tourists are allowed to get close to rhinos to about 6-7 metres and are allowed to take pictures. On the rhino trekking expedition you get a chance to see the famous baby Obama (rhino born to a Kenyan father and American mother) the firstborn in Uganda in a span of 27 years and Bella.

On arrival at the sanctuary you meet a sanctuary ranger who will take you through all the information you (tourists) need to know about rhinos, you will walk to the rhino location where you get to see them grazing, the excursion takes 1-2 hours depending on the location of the rhinos happening at any time of the day. While planning to embark on rhino trekking you need essentials which include water proof hiking shoes or closed shoes as you are to cross swamps, Rain coats during rainy season, Sun hat and sunscreen to give you shade on the scotching sun, Insect repellent and cameras but taking pictures with flashes on is prohibited as flashes frighten the rhinos.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Shoebill trek and canoe ride: shoebill is a rare bird species and it is of interest to many bird lovers, at Ziwa rhino sanctuary shoebills are spotted in lugogo swamp, the canoe rides are offered by the local community people under the conservation partnership between the sanctuary and community. Canoe rides cross lugogo swamp where you get to see shoebills and other birds. 

Birding: Ziwa rhino sanctuary is more than rhinos as it is a home to approximately 350 bird species including rare bird species of shoebill stork, the giant kingfisher, white crested turaco, African open-billed stork, Great egret, Egyptian goose, African fish eagle, Goliath Heron and wood pecker to mention but a few.  The sanctuary is a good destination for bird watching as you get to see these birds on trees, in swamps all over the sanctuary. Currently, four birding trails have been developed by resident bird guides in the sanctuary which goes through Woodlands, Swamp and Savannah vegetation where birds inhabit.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Birding Safaris at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Nature walks: nature walks in Ziwa rhino sanctuary take a full day and are led by a professional guide .nature walks through the wilderness of the sanctuary are very refreshing as tourists come into contact with various animals which include Oribi, grey duiker, bushbucks, waterbucks, vervet monkeys, reedbuck, black, white Colobus, hartebeest, mongoose, ground squirrels large monitor lizards and colorful butterflies.

Ziwa rhino sanctuary also offers night walks which allows tourist to walk through the wilderness at night to see nocturnal animals.

Activities in Ziwa rhino sanctuary are costed according to age

For rhino, trekking adult pays US$ 50 for non-residents, US$ 35 for East African residents and 30,000 Uganda shillings for Ugandans. Children pay US$ 23 for non-residents, US$ 17 for East African residents and 10000 Uganda shillings for Ugandans.

For shoebill and canoe ride, bird watching, nature walks adults pay US$ 30 for non-residents, US$ 25 for east African citizens and 25,000 UGX for Ugandans. Children pay US$ 15 for non-residents, US$ 12 to east African citizens and 25000 UGX for Ugandan

While at Ziwa rhino sanctuary accommodation and food can be got from Amuka lodge, country inn in masidi, Kabalega Resort in Masidi and many more

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