Encountering Rhinos on foot. One of the irresistible “added to the list” activity enroute the most bio-diverse and biggest national game reserve in Uganda – The Murchison falls national park. Rhinos in Uganda were extinct in 1991 when the only surviving Black Rhino was poached up-north of Uganda in a remote game reserve of Kidepo National park.
Currently Rhinos can be seen in the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre located in Entebbe and as well at the Ziwa Ranch in Nakasongora only. Nakasongola being on the highway to the Murchison falls National Park, has provide the adequate stop and opportunity for visitors enroute track the rhinos on foot. The Ranch is located 7kms off the main road to the ranch headquarters and provides a great opportunity for travelers to encounter one of the Big 5.
You can easily get to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Though most travelers visit the sanctuary n guided trips, it is possible to use a rental car from Kampala. If you are an independent traveler, rent a car from one of the car rental agencies in Uganda listed here.
Rhino Re-introduction in Uganda is currently in 3 phases to later have Rhinos fully in the Uganda wildlife reserves. Managed by a non-governmental organization The Rhino Fund Uganda is a non-profit organization that first introduced two Rhinos in the Uganda wildlife education centre and later expanded by acquiring a 70sq kms land north of Kampala.
Currently the Organization is under the second stage of breeding rhinos and are proud to have 11 new borns in the ranch and in Uganda after 25years. The first Rhino to this ranch was acquired from The United states and later acquired another from Kenya and guess what? The off spring was named after the current president of America with a Kenyan background OBAMA. The other groups were acquired from South Africa and Kenya again which currently make 14 rhinos in this ranch and have lost just one young rhinos since the breeding season. The Last phase will be the re-introduction of these rhinoceros into their original habitats which are Uganda’s National game reserves
Although the loss of habitats still remains a problem and regarded as a threat, poaching is the main threat of Rhino conservation in most African countries and East Asia. The Rhino horn is on great demand in china and Vietnam as a traditional medicine and thus the Locals are used and paid lots of monies to get hold of these Rhino horn. It is of no surprise that the rhinos in the Uganda at the ziwa Ranch are monitored 24-7 with armed guards around them.
The day at the Rhino ranch starts with payment of the $45 at the headquarters and later assigned a ranger guide that will take you into the jungles for the encounter. Advised to have boots comes with a reason that the ranch lies in an extension of a swamp and in most cases these rhinos are close to water sources. The Rhinos are always close swampy areas and will always be found a few meters from the water sources. In most cases you are always required to drive a few kilometers within the sanctuary before you start tracking. Whether with your rented self drive car rental in Uganda or on guided tours, you definitely will drive to some point before you start walking towards the rhinos on foot.
The tracking of the rhinos is a 1 hour activity that takes you through the lush green canopies and acacia dotted trees that would definitely require you to carry Insect repellents and sunscreen. This activity has been recommended by past independent travelers on self drive car rental and guided travelers to Uganda. You could double it with a stay within the sanctuary and get involved in many other activities that include, Night nature walk with chances of leopard sightings, the Shoebill canoe ride and is also a good destination for bird watching.
To put it clear most of the fees paid are for the conservation of the Rhinos and community development projects.