The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) temporarily closes Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on 20th April 2021 following attacks by unknown people who vandalized the sanctuary office equipment including computers and documents. On a press release, the Uganda Wildlife Authority stated that;
In line with UWA’s mandate of protecting wildlife resources in Uganda as per the Uganda Wildlife Act 2019, UWA has taken over full charge of security of the Rhinos at Ziwa Sanctuary in Nakasongola district in order to secure the rhinos at the sanctuary.
For this to be effectively done, UWA has, with immediate effect, closed Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to the public and as such, no tourism activities will be undertaken until further notice.
The closure has been triggered by the persistent misunderstandings between Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR), the owners of the land where the rhinos are being bred, and Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU), an NGO that has been managing the rhinos at the sanctuary. UWA realized that the conflict could potentially compromise the safety of the rhinos and took this decision to avert the threat. Therefore, the closure is a temporary measure as government engages the two parties with a view of mooting a lasting solution to the conflict.
UWA is not party to the conflicts between Ziwa and Wildlife Ranches and Rhino Fund Uganda and we reiterate our impartiality in the matter while stressing our mandate as an institution established to protect Uganda’s wildlife heritage.
With the temporary closure and no set date for opening yet, it would be wise to re arrange itineraries to the sanctuary planned during this period of time.
Ziwa Rhino and wildlife Ranch is located in Nakasongola district and the only home to wild rhino tracking in Uganda. The rhinos in the ranch are thriving as part of the Rhino re-introduction project by Rhino Fund Uganda and the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Being the only ranch that inhabits rhinos in Uganda, it comes in handy for rhino tracking in Uganda. The Ziwa Rhino and wildlife ranch is conveniently located just 176km (100 miles) from Kampala, Uganda’s capita on the Gulu highway. Situated just off Nakitoma trading centre the ranch is situated on the same highway towards Murchison Falls National Park and further to Kidepo Valley National Park.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is currently home to 22 southern white rhinos. This is the only place in Uganda to see rhinos in the wild which is part of the big five game. Tourists who visit the ranch can also undertake other activities like shoebill trek, canoe ride, bird watching, night walk, nature walk or just have a perfect relaxation moment.
Rhino tracking in Uganda is such a relaxing and family friendly activity where individuals enter the home of the southern white rhinos on foot. Tracking can be done along with children above 6 years of age. The activity is guided by well-trained ranger guides who take individuals through the home of the rhinos.
After briefing and entering the rhino habitat, individuals will get the opportunity to watch the endangered, magnificent creatures. The rhinos move freely through the 7000 hectares of land. From the reception, it is common to be driven by car till where the rhinos are before starting the bush trek. The rhino habitat also inhabits other wildlife species and it is possible to spot wildlife like the Uganda kobs, oribis, water bucks, bush bucks, among other. Several bird species can also be seen at the sanctuary.
The amount of time needed for rhino tracking is about 1 h 30 min and 2 h 30 min depending on where the rhinos are spending their day. This makes it ideal to go rhino tracking in Uganda on just a 1 day tour. The recommended time for visiting the rhinos is at 08:00h to 10:00h in the morning or 16:00h to 18:00h in the evening.
Requirements for the trek include a permit, closed shoes, long pats, water and insect repellent.
During this period, tourists can go ahead and enjoy other Uganda safari activities including gorilla trekking tours in either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Other activities in the country include chimpanzee trekking, bird watching, cultural tours, white water rafting, hiking and many more.