Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is the home of the only white wild Rhinos in Uganda found on the Nakasongola stretch north of the capital Kampala about 180km along Gulu-Kampala highway.
It lies on 70sqkm around 7000ha in Nakasongola district near Nakatoma village. This comes before Murchison falls.it takes about 2 hours and half drive from Kampala city. Early departure from Kampala would be helpful to avoid inconveniences.
The sanctuary offers a secure place where rhino populations can be expanded. There is a team of park rangers and security guards that keep 24 hour watch on the rhinos for their safety.
Upon the arrival, guests are taken through briefing and thereafter do a short guided walk that will enable them watch rhinos closely 6-7m in their habitats while grazing.
Normally guests spend 1 hour or even less with the beautiful rhinos and enjoy the photography experience
However one can choose to stay for a night for those who would want to have the best feel of the place in one of the magnificent hotels around the sanctuary like Amuka Safari Lodge or you may choose to drive back to the city in the later hours
The sanctuary has increasingly become popular with tourists for rhino trekking, the rare sight of African shoebill and other migratory species, bird watching is however the next major activity with over 300 bird species.Other activities include nature walks, night walks, canoe ride, there are reptiles and 40 mammal species including antelopes, crocodiles, hippos, monkeys among others.
Rhino trekking costs 50usd for foreigners/nonresidents and 30000ugshs for nationals/residents according to Uganda wildlife (UWA) packages.
A visit / tour to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to see the white rhinos is usually complimented with asafari to Murchison falls national park to view the other 4 members of the big 5 game family
Rhinos in Uganda;
Back in 60s, Uganda was a proud home to about 700 white rhinoceros but currently there are under 20 species left in Uganda.
Due to war and related uncertainties especially under Amin’s regime the number of rhinos dwindled dramatically.
Two can be found in Entebbe zoo and the rest are kept under the watchful eyes of Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) in collaboration with Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
There were serious killings, poaching and hunting by 1983 there was an extinction of rhinos, in 2005 the sanctuary was established and rhinos were re-introduced by rhino fund Uganda.
The rhinos especially the mothers are so protective of the young ones for instance when a calf is born the mother gets it separated from the crash” to raise it until it’s strong enough.
However human beings pose a great threat to the rhinos, they are killed to get their horns whose high demand and market is in Vietnam.
A kilo can go as much as USD 65000.They are believed to be medicinal which is not yet proven.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT RHINOS;
- A dominant male plays a fatherly role
- Their skin is 3 inches thick
- Their head is the heaviest part of the body which is which why they eat short grass
- Rhinos are more or less similar to elephants and they both have small families called a crash”
- A male rhino will mature at 10 years old while a female takes 8 years
- Their average lifespan is 45 years
- They need to consume up to 150 kilos per day and drink 60-80 liters of water.