In Nakasongola district, about 176km from Uganda’s capital Kampala, is Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which is the only place one can encounter Rhinos. Rhinos once roamed the savanna plains of Murchison Falls National park but now they are no more in the park.
During the start of the 20th Century there were about 500,000 Rhinos in Africa and Asia and by 1970 they dropped to 70,000. About 29,000 survive in the wild today and of these 34 survive in Uganda, 32 at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and 2 at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. In the 1970’s the southern white rhinos got extinct in Uganda and were thought to be extinct in the whole of Africa but now some thrive in protected sanctuaries and park in Africa and in classification of endangered animals they are near threatened. Visiting Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary brings you close to these Rhinos.
After Rhino rhinos getting extinct in Uganda due to poaching for their horns, wars and encroachment on their habitat by the growing population, Rhino Fund and Uganda Wildlife Authority started Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to protect the introduced Rhinos, breed them and at a certain period when the numbers increase, they can re-introduce them to parks where they existed.
While at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary one can experience Rhino tracking by getting up close to them on foot or in a vehicle. Rhinos at the sanctuary are free to move on a 7000 Hectare piece of land. Driving to the sanctuary is about 2hrs from Kampala and two statues of Rhinos welcome you on arrival at the sanctuary.
Check in at the reception and prepare for the activity. Visitors are briefed by rangers who ensure that Rhinos are safe and also will assist you as you walk and help to spot the Rhinos. After briefing, you tourists enter the rhino territory on foot led by a ranger/guide through the bush on foot for the search of these unique animals.
The activity is a thrill-of-a-lifetime experience and can take about 1-3 hours depending on the location of Rhinos and at times when it is too far, you drive to an area near their location before getting to them.
The walking adventure does not only stop reward you with rhinos but following the up close and personal encounter with these rhinos of Ziwa, provides further plentiful sightings of other wildlife like Bush bucks, waterbucks, Uganda kobs and a variety of bird species.
Rhinos are formidable creatures and are among the largest land mammals and can weigh about 1400kgs, as they can’t see well they have an incredible and strong sense of hearing. They can be bulk but can charge at a 55km/hr speed, so as you tip toe through the Ziwa bushes you should be careful not to annoy the animals but also don’t be afraid.
It is hard for safari planners to imagine a trip to Murchison Falls National park without a visit to this sanctuary for their guest to get to see the Africa’s Big 5, during the adventure of Rhino tracking on foot.
Don’t miss on this adventure.