Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a private, non-profit, animal sanctuary in Uganda. Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch located in Nakasongola district is the proud home of the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The Rhino re-introduction project is a project of Rhino Fund Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority.
It is conveniently located 176km (100 miles) north of Kampala on the Gulu highway towards Murchison Falls (branch off at Nakitoma trading centre). Ziwa is the only place where you will be able to see rhinos in the wild.
Presently the sanctuary is home to thirteen (13) southern white rhinos – six (6) Adults, three (3) adolescents and four (4) babies. Two of the adult females are also expected to give birth next year. The sanctuary has become increasingly popular with tourists; for rhino trekking, bird watching, nature walks and relaxation.
The sanctuary is located approximately 180 kilometres (110 mi), by road, north of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. This location is near Nakitoma Village, Nakasongola District, in the Kafu River Basin, off the Kampala-Gulu Highway.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a collaborative effort between the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Rhino Fund Uganda, a Ugandan NGO committed to the restoration of Uganda’s rhinoceros population and Ziwa Ranchers Limited, a private land management company.
The sanctuary offers a secure place where rhino populations can be expanded by breeding, protected from human and non-human predators and gradually re-introduced into Uganda’s national parks, while at the same time, allowing the public to enjoy these majestic animals, as the project moves forward.
A team of approximately 78 park rangers and security guards keep a 24 hour watch on the rhinos to ensure their safety. The 70 square kilometres (7,000 ha) sanctuary is surrounded by a 2 metres (6.6 ft) electric fence to keep the rhinos in and the intruders out.
The sanctuary is home to at least 40 mammal and reptilian species including monkeys, antelopes, hippopotamuses, crocodiles and numerous bird species Tourist facilities at the sanctuary include a safari lodge, guest house, budget accommodation, and camp grounds.
The accommodations are two separate businesses and both have restaurants that offer meals to tourists. In addition to on foot rhino trekking, tourist activities include birding, canoe rides and nature walks.
Both the Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and the White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), are endemic to Uganda. However due to a number of factors, including prolonged armed human conflict, poaching and the mismanagement of their natural habitat, by 1982, both species had been wiped out in the country.
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary was established in 2005 to reintroduce rhinoceros to Uganda. The long term goal of the sanctuary is to “build a sustainable rhinoceros population and relocate rhinos back to their original habitat in Uganda’s protected areas”.
As of January 2010, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only location in Uganda, where rhinos can be observed in their natural habitat.
Starting with a total of six animals, four that were bought from Solio Ranch in Kenya and two donated from Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, in the United States, the rhino population had grown to thirteen as of June 2013. Following the birth of another calf in April 2014, the total rhino population at Ziwa Ranch rose to 15.