Fairend Safaris

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is home to Uganda’s endangered rhinos. It was established in 2005 to conserve and protect the white rhinos which had come to extinction by 1983. Uganda used to have a large number of Rhinos that were roaming freely in Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks but were lost to illegal poaching. 

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is situated in Nakasongola district along Kampala – Gulu highway just before Murchison Falls National Park.  The sanctuary covers an area of 70 sq Km which is protected by high electric fences. The project started with only 6 Rhinos and has increased as a result of committed research, rangers, and donors. Visitors can track the endangered white Rhinos on foot when they visit. There are other wildlife species, primates, and birds that can be seen during the trek.

How to get to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

It is conveniently located on the Kampala – Gulu highway in Nakitoma. It takes about a 3-hour drive to get to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which makes it a great stop over to or from Murchison Falls National Park.

Activities to do at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Rhino tracking

Rhino tracking involves walking on foot to see rhinos up close leaving a distance of about 7 metres. Visitors are always accompanied by trained rangers and guides who lead the tracking.  Travelers have the opportunity to see these endangered rhinos in their natural habitat as they feed. This is the only place to learn more about rhinos as most national parks do not have this endangered species.

Natural walks

Natural Walks involve visitors exploring the sanctuary on foot and will be rewarded with beautiful scenery. There are several attractions to see during the walk including birds, primates, mammals, reptiles, and butterflies among others. Species to look out for are vervet monkeys, mangoes, waterbucks, Oribi, large lizards, insects, and many more.


Birding is a great activity to do when visiting the sanctuary,  there are over 300 bird species and  4 bird trails. Most of the birds come from Murchison Falls National Park while others are residents. The bird species include Shoe Bill Stork, African Darter, Brown parrot, African crowned eagle, and African fish eagle among others. The birds can be seen during guided walks, on a boat cruise, or during a drive. The best time to see birds is early morning and evening hours.

Shoebill canoe ride

The shoebill canoe ride is done on a 10kilometre Lugogo wetland. visitors get an opportunity to view various animals and bird species as they ride in the wetland. The common species seen are   the shoebill stork, speckle breasted woodpecker, palm nut vulture, giant kingfisher, white crested turaco, open billed stork, great egret among others. Canoes used for the ride are offered by the community and in return they are paid for their services. This is part of the conservation partnership and sustainable tourism.

Nocturnal Walks

Nocturnal walks also known as night walks allow you have a glimpse of animals that are active at night. You are accompanied by guide rangers as you move to have an encounter with bats, animals, and birds. Make sure you have comfortable walking shoes, long trousers, insect repellent, and a torch. These walks take between one to three hours.

When to visit Ziwa Rhino sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary can be visited any time of the year although. The best time to visit is during the dry season from June to September and from December to February. During these months general wildlife viewing is easy. Travelers can as well do other activities and visit other parks and reserves.

The price of activities done at Ziwa Rhino Reserve

 Travelers who are foreign non-residents over 12 years pay US$ 50, Foreigners who reside in East Africa pay  US$ 35 and 30,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans. Children below 12 pay US$ 25 for foreign non-residents, US$ 20 for foreign East African residents, and 10,000 Ugandan shillings for East African citizens.

For shoebill trekking, foreign non-residents above12 years old pay US$ 25, Foreigners who reside in East Africa pay US$ 20 and 20,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans. Children below 12 years pay US$ 13 for foreign non-residents, US$ 10 for foreign East African residents, and 10,000 Ugandan shillings for East African citizens.

 For a canoe ride, bird watching and nature walks, foreign non-residents over 12 years old pay US$ 20, Foreigners who reside in East Africa pay  US$ 20, and 20,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans.

Where to Stay

Travelers may spend a night at Amuka Safari Lodge which is situated in the heart of the reserve. It has luxury rooms that are well furnished with private bathrooms and balconies.  Amuka has a great restaurant that serves both local and international cuisines.It has a swimming pool and offers exquisite views during your stay.

Travelers can as well spend a night at the Ziwa wildlife ranch which is situated near the headquarters of the reserve. It has a bar, restaurant and guest rooms. The ranch has a camp site where travelers set tents for an overnight stay.