Following the earlier close of the Ziwa rhino sanctuary in the month of April, Uganda wildlife authority has released good news.  UWA is one of the managing bodies of the sanctuary and it set out a press release with this information.  Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is now open for tourism.

The sanctuary is run jointly  by the Uganda wildlife authority, Ziwa Ranches Ltd and Rhino fund Uganda; an NGO. The NGO is concerned with the restoration of the Rhino population in Uganda while Ziwa ranches limited, is a company concerned with the land the is occupied by the sanctuary.

With the overtime disputes, the managing bodies of the sanctuary have with time come to settle the land issues of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary has been going through land disputes among the managing bodies of the sanctuary. This caused fear which led to the closure of Ziwa sanctuary in April. After mutual negotiations between the parties, the sanctuary is now open for tourism since 10th June 2021.


The Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is located in north eastern Uganda in Nakasongola district 180 kilometers from Kampala.  The sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where travelers can experience and track the rhinoceros species in their natural habitat.

The sanctuary was established in the year 2005, first with the population of the black and northern white rhinoceros. Due to the huge human threats that including poaching; this reduced the population of the rhinos over time. After some time, rhinos where introduced again in Uganda with rhino donations from some countries.

Ziwa rhino sanctuary overs about 7000 ha with the charge of about 78 ranger. The sanctuary currently has a rhino population of 32 rhinos, a number rising up with the help of the new births.

The sanctuary is a usual enroute stop over for people transferring to Murchison falls national park for rhino tracking.


Rhino tracking

There are about 33 Individual rhinoceros in the sanctuary making  Rhino tracking the major highlight for visitors.  On any given day, the activity starts with briefing during which do’s and don’ts at the sanctuary are communicated. Later the visitors are driven to the starting point of the track, then by foot walk in the trails of the rhinos. For safety and caution, an armed ranger is always assigned for any given group.

Rhino tracking in Ziwa gives a full close up with the rhino species, as one gets to witness them as close as seven meters away. A ranger guide is always available to deliver information concerning their behaviors, feeding habits, reproduction and many more. As a precaution, guide contacts are shared with clients in case of emergencies.

Bird watching

The sanctuary is available for bird lovers with over 300 unique bird species ready to be sighted. There are four birding tails located in Ziwa rhino sanctuary, all availing different beautiful birds. Bird watching in the sanctuary is done on a canoe through a swamp trail. The bird species that can be sighted at the sanctuary include the long crested eagle , Olive sunbird and pie crow. More birds include the Tawny eagle, yellow wagtail, white stork , Tree pipit, Ruff Shikra, olive sunbirds and many more.

Birding in the sanctuary is more preferably done in the morning and evening time. Birders are recommended not to forget the required birding gear.

Shoebill track and canoe ride

One of Uganda’s most sought over bird species; the shoe bill stork can be seen in the sanctuary. The canoe rides through the Ziwa swamps reward the view of the rare shoe bill stork. This birding safari takes about four hours riding and seeing the different water birds in the sanctuary. Birders need to wake up as early as 6 am to start off the birding expedition. The explored swamp bird swamp for the shoe bill sight is the Lugogo swamp, bird species sighted include; malachite kingfisher, African jacana, Open billed stork, black crake, the Egyptian goose etc.

Nature walk

Ziwa rhino sanctuary is available for all the visitors that are interested in walking through its beautiful premises. This walk gives sight to the beautiful vegetation of the park, wildlife and many more. The nature walks are scheduled for the morning, afternoon and evening hours. Night or evening hours are set aside for those that are interested in viewing various nocturnal animals. Mammals seen include antelopes, warthogs, mongoose, porcupines, primates and many more. Nature walks in the sanctuary take about 2 to three hours exploring the different gems offered.

Game viewing

Those that are interested in more wildlife, Ziwa sanctuary is the place to visit. This sanctuary is home to about 40 mammal species apart from the Rhinos. Wildlife such as hippos, kobs, water bucks and redbucks can all be sighted while on a visit to the sanctuary.

The reopening of the Ziwa rhino sanctuary avails   an opportunity to encounter the above mentioned experiences and more. For visitors that plan on spending a night at the sanctuary. There are various accommodation facilities provided.

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