Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Rhino Tracking in Uganda, Wildlife Safari in Uganda

Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch popularly known as Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is Uganda’s only place to have a foot rhino tracking experience. The sanctuary is located in the Nakasongola district and is 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.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Location

The Ziwa Rhino and wildlife ranch is conveniently located 176km (100 miles) from Kampala, Uganda’s capital on the Gulu highway. Situated just off Nakitoma trading center the farm is situated on the same highway towards Murchison Falls National Park.

Ziwa Rhino Population

In Uganda and the world at large, Rhinos are an endangered species and a few numbers are left. The Rhinos got extinct in Uganda’s National Parks as a result of poaching. Thanks to the Rhino Re-introduction Project – a joint project between Rhino Fund Uganda and the Roy family which saw the restoration of this amazing species. In 2005, the Ziwa rhino Sanctuary was established with the sole objective of reintroduction of rhinos in Uganda. In 2016, six southern white rhinos were introduced to Ziwa and since then their population has been steadily increasing. Between 2005 and 2024, there have been about 26 successful births of rhinos at Ziwa, bringing the total number to 32. The population is expected to keep increasing steadily due to the devoted conservation efforts from various responsible stake holders.

Activities in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

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 games. 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 to 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, waterbucks, and bushbucks, among others. 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 from 08:00h to 10:00h in the morning or from 16:00h to 18:00h in the evening. Requirements for the trek include a permit, closed shoes, long pants, water, and insect repellent.

Shoebill trek and canoe ride

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Uganda Safari Experience

Immerse yourself deep in the Sanctuaries wetlands and track the elusive prehistoric Shoebill stork. The Shoebill stork trek and canoe rides is one of the major highlights of Uganda Birding safaris and Ziwa safaris. This elusive bird is one of the most sought-after by most bird enthusiasts while travelling to Uganda and one of the best places to spot is in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Sighting this bird during a canoe ride at Ziwa is almost always guaranteed. If you are lucky enough, you will sight about 10 of them during your boat or canoe safari along the wetland area.  You will be very fortunate to see these fantastic prehistoric-looking birds nesting within the swamps.

The shoebill and canoe trip starts with a briefing as a team of experienced ranger guides will take you through the briefing about this adventure. You will then embark on your trek to the wetland areas where you will enjoy floating peacefully through the swamps whilst the sun rises above. This experience give some of the best views for photography.

The trek is done in the early morning as you will set off at around 6am. The canoe ride through the swamp at this time gives you the best opportunity to see the shoebill Stork as it gets to the swaps ready to start their day.

Besides the shoebill stork, you will also see a number of water birds here. A canoe ride is one of the best ways to explore the bird life in the sanctuary. A must-do for all bird lovers that visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. We recommend a night at Ziwa since the Activity starts very early in the Morning and the gates to the Sanctuary open a little late at around 7:30 am. Plan your ultimate birding safari in Uganda with us and experience unmatched safari experiences.

Bird watching in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Bird watching safaris

If you are a bird lover, then you can never do wrong with a visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Although the Sanctuary is popular for habituating the endangered rhinos, there is a great population of birdlife that is present within its boundaries. Over 300 bird species can be spotted in Ziwa including the rare shoebill stork. The diverse habitat within the sanctuary including woodlands, swamps and savannah  offer both feeding and breeding ground for various bird species that you will see during a birding experience in Ziwa.

Birding safaris at Ziwa are conducted by professional birding guide with wide knowledge on various species. Your guide will share their knowledge about the various birdlife within the Sanctuary and will help you identify various species during your bird-watching tour. Birding tours are usually at a relaxed pace to allow you time to take as many photographs as you desire.

The Sanctuary has 4 different birding trails that will allow you to spot various bird species. Some of the birdlife that you are likely to see during your Ziwa Birding safaris include the shoebill, Grey Crowner Crane, African Fish eagle, African jacana, pied Kingfisher, African Grey hornbill, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Marabou stork, White Egret, Red-billed Oxpecker among others. To better experience the birdlife in Ziwa, we recommend for at least two days of tours at Ziwa. Enjoy unmatched birding experience in Uganda, plan with Acacia Safaris Limited.

Night walk

The guided night walk will introduce you to your night sounds and sensations you did not know existed! This is an experience you cannot exclude from your activities in the sanctuary. There are many nocturnal animals and who knows what you might bump into.

Nature Walk in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Experience nature and its sounds and smells! If you love being close to nature, then guided nature walks are perfect for you while at Ziwa. There are 27 square miles of woodland, swamps and savannah where you can immerse yourself in natural wilderness while enjoying a close look at nature. The experience is conducted by well-trained guides who will take you on a walk through the lush bush. During the Guided nature walking experience in Ziwa, expect to see different forms as the sanctuary is home to a wide variety of animals, birds, and reptiles. Your guide will share his knowledge of not only the animals but botany and vegetation within the sanctuary as well. There is no better way of getting up close to nature than embarking on a guided nature walk during your Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Visit.

If you are wondering ‘‘is it safe to go on nature walks in Ziwa’’ the answer to this is that the experience is absolutely safe. You will be escorted by a well-trained and experienced armed rangers guide – with a wide knowledge of how to deal with threats during the nature walk. Your guide will also help you identify all the species of animals that you’ll see. Enjoy remarkable Nature walking adventures in Ziwa during your Visit and experience nature up close.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Rates

Here are the current rates for Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for 2024 – 205. The rates vary depending on the type of visitor and the age of the traveler. The table below shows the different rates for different types of travelers.

Adults Children
Adult(non resident) $ 50 Non Resident $25
Adults( East African Residents) $40 East African Resident $20
Adult( Uganda Citizen) Ugx 30,000 Uganda citizen Ugx 10,000

Accommodation At Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary 

There are not so many accommodation options at Ziwa however there are some facilities like Amuka Safari lodge that offer both lodging facilities and food and beverage. Amuka Lodge is nestled in a pristine woodland forest, in the heart of the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Amuka Lodge offers breathtaking encounters with Uganda’s only wild rhinoceros as well as a wide array of birds and wildlife.

This safari lodge offers about ten units; four family chalets with three beds – perfect for families and six standard chalets each with one bedroom and bathroom. Each chalet is named after one of the rhinos – constructed from hardwood timber and stone. All chalets are complete with large, personal verandas where visitors can lounge on safari chairs and take in the serenity of the surroundings. All chalets are tucked into the woodlands which provide complete privacy

Wildlife Viewing – Best Uganda Wildlife Safaris

Uganda is home to a diversity of wildlife ranging from the “Big five” to the “small five” something that has made wildlife safaris in Uganda a top choice for tourists that tour Uganda. Uganda is home to about 345 mammal species found in the 10 national parks, wildlife reserves, and sanctuaries. These mammal species comprise East African and West African species found in forests and especially savannah plains. The top wildlife viewing parks in Uganda include Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park.


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