Exploring the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Uganda

Located around 100 miles north of Kampala, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a wildlife ranch that harbors the country’s only Rhino population. It is the perfect destination for a unique experience, with its abundant wildlife and opportunities for adventure. What started as a cattle ranch in 1983 eventually became a haven for the country’s endangered rhinos, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Rhino Fund in 2002 and the subsequent relocation of 7,000 cattle in 2005.

Since its official opening, the sanctuary has been run and supported mainly by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Rhino Fund, and the Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch Limited. This effort is backed by several international organizations and countries, all working towards their goal of increasing the number of Southern White Rhinos and reintroducing them into Uganda’s national parks. Today, the rhino population has more than doubled from 6 to about 33 individuals, with further growth expected.

Visiting Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a one in a lifetime kind of experience! Visitors can observe the majestic rhinos and enjoy the other diverse wildlife species in their natural environment. With its perfect balance between excitement and calm, this immense ranch offers the perfect opportunity to become one with the stunning terrain. Therefore, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is an absolute must-see destination that travelers will never forget.

What you can do

1. Rhino tracking:

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only place in Uganda to observe Rhinos in their impressive natural environment. With a population of about 33 southern white Rhinos, visitors have the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures. Rhino tracking is the best way to get the most out of your experience, with drives from the reception area followed by a short briefing about what to expect and the rules to follow.

Once in the bush, visitors will get to witness the Rhinos grazing, interacting with their young, and playing around, all from a safe distance. Depending on where you find the Rhinos, the trek can last from between 1 to 2 hours and is offered either in the morning from 8am to 10am or in the afternoon from 4pm to 6pm. Whether it is a morning or afternoon session, this once-in-a-lifetime experience will remain one of the most exciting and memorable activities during the visit.

Essentials for Trekking:

  • Comfortable trekking shoes
  • Trousers
  • Light and breathable shirts
  • Insect repellant
  • Sweater/jacket
  • Enough drinking water
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses

2. Birding and nature walks:

For those who love birding and nature walks, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is an ideal place to visit! Dominated by 300 species of birds, the sanctuary offers an early morning or evening trek for two hours each, from 07:00 am to 9:00 am and 16:00pm to 18:00pm. This is the perfect way to spend time watching and listening to your favorite birds, as well as an ideal opportunity to rest after an exciting rhino tracking adventure.

3. Shoe bill trek and canoe ride:

For bird-lovers and wildlife-enthusiasts, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is an extra special destination! As early as 6:00 am, visitors can expect to join a fascinating Shoe bill trek and canoe ride on the Lugogo Swamp, hoping to catch the elusive Shoebill bird in the process. One of the most sought-after birds in the area, those joining this trek have a good chance of seeing up to 11 Shoebill sightings in a single trip! To be able to join this unique experience, it is best to spend the night at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.


The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Uganda is a remarkable place for all nature lovers to explore. It’s home to over 300 species of birds, which can be enjoyed on an early morning or evening bird safari. Don’t forget to join the special Shoebill trek and canoe ride for a chance to witness the elusive Shoebill bird up close. Whether you’re a seasoned wildlife enthusiast or are just starting out, the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the perfect place to be in touch with nature and explore its beauty.


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