The Big Five are back. More than twenty years after poachers shot the nation’s last wild rhino in Uganda, Rhino Fund Uganda opened this private 70sqkm reserve, 170km northwest of Kampala. There are now 19 southern white rhinos roaming the savannah and wetland, many of which were born in wild Uganda. The long-term goal for these magnificent beasts is to reintroduce them in Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks.
While tracking rhinos on foot sounds a bit foolhardy, the fact that they’re in the company of armed anti-poacher rangers 24 hours a day, means they’re well and truly used to human presence.
Other animals living inside the 6ft-tall electric fence include leopards, hippos, crocodiles, bushbucks, and oribis. It’s also home to 350 bird species, and birdwatching tours are available with highlights including giant kingfishers, Ross’s turacos, and shoebills. The latter is best seen on early morning shoebill canoe trips to an adjoining swamp, where you have a very good chance of spotting them.
There are occasional volunteer opportunities.
While most visit as a day trip en route to Murchison Falls from Kampala, there are two good sleeping options in the park.
Ziwa Rhino Lodge
Set around the camp headquarters, choose between the cottages or row of basic rooms with small porches. There’s also a restaurant serving simple food and cold drinks, plus camping for over-landers with cooking facilities and ablutions. There’s plenty of wildlife about, including the occasional rhino.
Amuka Safari Lodge
Visitors rave about this lodge located deep in the sanctuary (a20 minute drive from park headquarters). There are tasteful, secluded cottages and a common area with lovely decking, a swimming pool, a bar, and an open-air restaurant.