Visiting Rhinos by foot in Uganda is one of the compelling “added to the list” rhino tracking en-route the most bio-diverse and largest national park in Uganda – The Murchison Falls National Park. Rhinos in the country were wiped out in 1991 when the only surviving Black Rhino was poached up-north of Uganda in a remote wildlife reserve of Kidepo Valley National Park.
Right now Rhinos can only be found in the Uganda Wildlife Education Center UWEC) found in Entebbe and too at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola as it were. The sanctuary is located on the highway to the Murchison falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park, which has given the satisfactory stop and chance for tourists to Kidepo Valley National Park or Murchison Falls National Park to en-route track the rhinos before they proceed. The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is found 7kms off the Kampala-Gulu Highway to the sanctuary headquarters and gives an awesome chance to tourists to encounter one of the Big 5.
The sanctuary is found in around 180 kilometers by road north of Kampala the capital of Uganda, its located in Nakasongola district in Kafu River Basin it is possible to use a rental car from Kampala. In spite of the fact that most tourists visit the sanctuary in guided tours, it can also be visited by self driver tourists by hiring a car in Kampala. In case you are on a self-drive tour or road trip in Uganda, you can hire a vehicle in Kampala from one of the many car rental agencies in the country and head north to visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for rhino tracking.
The re-introduction of Rhinos in Uganda is now in 3 phases to later have these endangered animals fully in the Uganda wildlife parks. Managed by NGO – The Rhino Fund Uganda is a non-profit organization that initially introduces two Rhinos in the UWEC and later extended by obtaining a 70squar kilometers land in Nakasongola district 180kms from Kampala.
Right now the organization is on the second phase of breeding rhinos and is pleased to have 11 newborns in the sanctuary after 25 years. The first Rhino was introduced from The United States and later got another from Kenya and guess what? The offspring was named after the president of America with a Kenyan background OBAMA. The other groups were obtained from South Africa and Kenya again which right now make 14 rhinos in this sanctuary and have lost only one young rhino since the breeding season. The last stage will be the re-introduction of these rhinoceros into their natural habitats which are Uganda’s National Parks like Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls Nation Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and others.
In spite of the fact that the loss of natural habitats still remains an issue and viewed as a threat, poaching is the main threat of this animal conservation in most African nations and East Asia. Rhino poaching is fueled by the high demand for rhino horns in China and Vietnam as traditional medicine and consequently, the Locals are utilized and paid much money to get hold of these Rhino horns. It is not a surprise that the rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary are monitored 24-7 with armed guards around them.
A day visit at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary starts with payment of the $45 at the headquarters and later doled out a ranger guide who will brief you about all the history of the sanctuary and even the rules you have to follow when you with the rhinos and later take you into the jungle to track rhinos. You advised carrying waterproof boots goes with a reason that the sanctuary lies in an extension of a swamp and sometimes these rhinos are close water sources. And always you are required to drive two or three kilometers within the sanctuary before you start tracking on foot.
Rhino tracking activity always takes from 40minutes to 1hour and takes you through the rich green canopies and acacia dotted trees that would expect you to carry Insect repellents and sunglasses. In case you spend more days here, there are other activities you can enjoy in the sanctuary including, night nature walk with a chance to spotting leopards, the shoebill canoe ride, and also bird watching with the sanctuary.
To put it clear most of the money paid is for the protection of the Rhinos and community development projects.