Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary; From time immemorial, Uganda has a reputation of beautiful country with splendid wet and dry weather, carpet of green vegetation and many variation of game and other wildlife species. Wildlife statistics show that at the time independence in 1962, Uganda had a healthy population of wildlife species in her wildlife areas. Everything turned around the 1970s when Uganda had experiences of political upheavals, armed insurgencies, lawlessness and insecurity. The implications had devastating impact to humankind, hampered development and affected wildlife populations. Poaching and illegal trade in some valuable wildlife species was at its maximum levels. Trophy hunting of wildlife for prestige was rampant and went on unabated. Hunters targeted elephants for ivory, lions, leopards, zebras, giraffes and many others for the colorful skin and rhinos for the rhino horn. The last live rhino in Ugandan wilderness areas was seen in 1983. The rhinos became extinct from then.
Ziwa Rhino Fund, a non-governmental organization formed in the 1997 by enthusiastic wildlife anthropologists had intentions of reintroducing and repopulating rhinos into Uganda wilderness, restore the name and pride of Uganda as a habitat with a bustling wildlife, and restore the dignity of Uganda environment and cultural heritage. The Ziwa Rhino Fund entered private partnership with ranchers and leased 7,000-hectare piece of land, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola district along the way to northern Uganda national parks like Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. Much of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is savannah grassland, generating to woodland, bush and wetland vegetation; the ideal natural habitat conditions for rhinos. In 2005/6, rhinos set foot in Ugandan wilderness again when a batch of six southern white rhinos 4 from Kenya and 2 from Disney Animal Kingdom – USA arrived at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary. In March 2008, the first Uganda rhino was born at the sanctuary from a Kenyan father and American mother. It was appropriately named Obama in relation to the then USA President who by coincident was born of Kenyan father and American mother. The rhino births at the sanctuary have since grown rapidly. The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary now has in excess of 25 southern white rhinos. Other wildlife species have benefited from the resilience and conservation efforts of Ziwa rhino fund and the wildlife sanctuary is now a top Uganda safari destination with a hive of Uganda tourism activities. The Ziwa rhino sanctuary is a perfect rendez vous to break the long road travel to or from Kidepo Valley national Park, explore a unique wildlife habitat and get a necessary refreshing.
Trekking Rhino is the magnet for Uganda safaris into Ziwa rhino sanctuary. A visit to the sanctuary is one way of maximizing opportunities of spotting the legendary Big 5 game in Ugandan wilderness. What makes it even more exciting is the adventure of wandering in the wilderness with ranger escorts on foot walking in the trails of rhinos. Rhino are the strongest of the other members in the famous Big 5 game; elephants, leopards, lion and buffalo. In addition, more exciting is the fact rangers monitor the movement of the rhinos full day, full night. The possibilities of not spotting rhinos are zero as long as the visitors arrive in scheduled time. Rhinos feed in the morning when the grass softened overnight is still fresh and in the evening coldness. The rhino diet composes fresh grass and foliage for tree leaves, flowers, twigs and barks. They lazy about and rest under shed when the heat of the sun gets hot because their skins do not have much body hair. For a successful and rewarding rhino trekking safari, visitors need adhere to rangers’ instruction.
Bird watching safaris are popular at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The natural wilderness setting of open savannas, wood, swamp and wetland vegetation is awash with more than 300 bird species. A clear system of 4 bird trails is designed in such away to access hidden corners particular bird species frequent. Resident armed ranger skilled in spotting and identifying birds escort visitors as they traverse the wilderness searching for birds. Notable bird sighting at Ziwa rhino sanctuary may include, Grey heron, helmeted guinea fowls, Ruppell’s long tailed starling, Hadada ibis, Sacred ibis, Shoebill, crowned crane, White browed coucal, Open billed stork, hamerkop, woodland kingfisher, spotted morning thrush, amongst many others. Early morning and late afternoon are the ideal time for spotting a large variety of birds. For many travelers on bird watching safaris into Uganda, the Ziwa rhino sanctuary is a perfect spot to break the spot unique birds and break the long travel to other bird spotting areas.
Canoe ride; the magnificent Lugogo swamp in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is popular for canoe ride to explore swamp, wetland vegetation and discover the beauty of the wilderness. The swamp is habitat for a wide range of wildlife species, waterbucks, hippos, lush vegetation and unique bird species. Early morning and late afternoon are the ideal times for the canoe ride. Visitors exploring Lugogo swamp on canoe ride have high opportunities of spotting the Shoebill amongst other water bird species. The canoe ride at Ziwa rhino sanctuary is an ideal activity to break the long travel to or from other Uganda safari destinations in the northern region of Uganda.
Nature walks; Many first time travelers to the countryside, everything about the natural wilderness setting of Ziwa rhino sanctuary is captivating and generates adventure adrenalin. There are all sorts of temptations to traverse the wilderness and explore more than they see with the naked eyes. The nature walk with a ranger escort into the wilderness is an opportunity to get more personal with nature and discover Uganda’s abundant wildlife blessings. The ranger escorts are conversant with wildlife, have great information of wilderness events and share their everyday experiences. An early morning nature walk is an opportunity to spot wildlife waking from the night and getting active before the day heats up.
Night walks; visitors on tour to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary find it an amazing place waiting and calling for exploration, adventuring and relaxation. The natural wild settings generate senses of curiosity and an urge to wander into the wilderness and discover what lies beneath the wilderness. The rangers escort travelers with adventure senses in high doses for night walking safaris to explore into the wilderness and discover what happens under the cover of darkness. There are high chances of spotting nocturnal wildlife species venturing out of their den. This is an opportunity to spot leopard, civet cats, tree pangolins, aardvark, porcupines, nightjars, owls, reptiles, genets, bush hares and other nocturnal wildlife species.