ZIWA RHINO SANCTUARY.
Location of ziwa Rhino sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where you can find Rhinos in the wild. The sanctuary is located in Nakasongola district, 176 km north of Kampala district on Gulu highway as you are heading to Murchison falls national park, approximately 3 hours from Kampala. Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is home to 32 southern white Rhinos. Since its re-introduction by Rhino fund Uganda and Uganda wildlife Authority, the sanctuary has become popular for Rhino tracking. There are other activities like birding, canoeing and nature walks that you can do while there.
History of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Rhinos in Uganda had extinct in the years of 1980s due to poaching and other human activities. Later after 20 years in 2005, 6 Rhinos were brought to Uganda with the aim of taking back Rhinos to Murchison falls National Park.
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary gives you an opportunity to come up and close with the Rhinos, this is only allowed when you have an experienced ranger who will lead you to safe places where Rhinos are.
Apart from Rhinos, the sanctuary is home to other interesting wildlife like, leopards, crocodiles, oribis, hippos, bushbucks and over 300 bird species.
What to do while at ziwa Rhino sanctuary
This is done with an experienced ranger who will guide you to where rhinos are. Before tracking, you will be briefed on how to conduct yourself while tracking the rhinos, they will teach you their habits, behaviors and more. You should stand 6 to 7 meters away from the rhinos, this is because they may be aggressive when they sense you near them. At this point you can pull out your cameras and capture the beautiful rhinos.
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Rhinos sometimes travel a long distance from the headquarters, this will require you to drive till you meet them and trek to where they are.
Nocturnal Nature walk.
These walks are conducted at night between 8pm and 11pm, you are always guided by a ranger to ensure your safety. They always last between one to three hours, its better to take part in this night walk if you are physically ok and have enough energy to walk.
Ziwa rhino sanctuary is endowed with over 300 species of birds that can be spotted right after entering. Other places you can watch birds at Ziwa are swamps, the woodland and the savannah. Examples of birds that are spotted here are the shoebill stork, palm nut vultures, Abdim’s stork, African black crake, Ross’ turaco, wood peckers, blue spotted dove among others.
The best time to visit Ziwa rhino sanctuary
The sanctuary can be visited all year round however, the best time to visit is during the dry seasons of late June to October and December to February. Dry seasons are the best because this is when animals come near water holes and ponds in search for water, which makes it easier for you to trek them.
However, if you are interested in bird watching its better you come during rainy seasons when birds are up in their nests. This is in the period of September to November and March to May.
Accommodations at Ziwa rhino sanctuary
When you come to ziwa rhino sanctuary, you can’t fail to find where to spend your night after a beautiful track. Some of the accommodations are inside and others are outside the sanctuary.
Amuka Safari Lodge.
The lodge is located in the heart of the park nestled in a small woodland. The lodge offers luxury accommodations to the guests. The chalets of the lodge are named after the rhinos in the park. Amuka safari lodge offers amenities like restaurant, safari cruise and a swimming pool. Staying at Amuka safari lodge will make your stay at Ziwa rhino sanctuary memorable, it has exquisite views.
Ziwa Rhino Reserve.
The reserve is located near the headquarters of the sanctuary. The reserve offers budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation. They have large family bandas, smaller bandas with shared facilities and tents. Ziwa Rhino reserve has both local and international dishes and a fully stocked bar.
What to pack and wear for your rhino trekking experience at Ziwa rhino sanctuary.
Have comfortable walking shoes if you are interested in nocturnal nature walks and rhino tracking.
Don’t forget to pack long trousers to protect your legs from thorns and short tree branches.
Having an insect repellent is must to protect your skin from insect bites.
Pack a torch to help you with light at night in case you want to go some somewhere where lights don’t reach and in case of a black out.
Come with a wide hat to protect your face from the sun rays.