Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Rhino Reintroduction & Breeding Programme

Uganda used to be home to thousands of rhinos, but due to extensive poaching during the years of civil unrest, the last rhino was killed in 1982.  Rhino's are considered an endangered species throughout Africa and Asia and have recently been upgraded to Appendix 1 'No Trade' by CITES. 

A report by the World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and wildlife-trade monitoring network TRAFFIC said rhino poaching had reached a 15-year high, pushing the animals close to extinction so the importance of such places as Ziwa become even more apparent not just for Uganda but for the rhino as a species.

About Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

In 2002, Rhino Fund Uganda and Ziwa Ranchers Ltd, entered into a lease agreement on seventy square kilometers of land which would become Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

The first rhinos arrived at the sanctuary in July 2005, from Solio Ranch in Kenya. These four southern white rhinos, Taleo, Moja, Bella, and Kori, were donated by the European Union in support of the rhino project.

Today, with much effort and support, Rhino Fund Uganda is working to reintroduce the rhinoceros to its native lands and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the proud home of the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The sanctuaries long term goal is to build a sustainable rhino population and relocate rhinos back to their original habitat in Uganda's protected areas.

Viewing the rhino's Taleo at the lodge Having fun in the mud

Visiting the Sanctuary

The 70 square kilometre sanctuary is conveniently located 176 km north of Kampala on the Gulu Highway toward Murchison Falls.  

One of their trained rangers will meet you upon arrival and give you an introduction to the sanctuary and some information about the rhinos.  Depending on where the rhinos happen to be when you arrive, you will drive to the closest location and then approach the rhinos on foot. 

You will then have an opportunity to observe the rhinos in their habitat at a very close, and very safe, distance. Guests inevitably find that the experience was better than they had imagined.  The animals are magnificent and the opportunity to see them up close is truly one not to be missed!  The tracking excursion lasts on average between 1-2 hours.

Visitors can come for a few hours, overnight or for a few days and there is plenty of other things to do.  The sanctuary also offers lodge, guesthouses, backpacker rooms, and camping options for overnight accommodation.  It also has a restaurant and full bar that will keep you well cared for during your stay.

Guided nature walks will enable you to experience the geography, fauna and flora of this beautiful part of Uganda. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is also home to over 250 bird species and is a great sport for avid birders interested in finding those rare African species. Experienced bird guides will enable you enjoy this experience.  

One of the most sought after birds to be seen in Uganda is the Shoebill Stork. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary has these prehistoric looking birds nesting within their swamp. A 6am shoebill canoe safari on the swamp not only gives you the opportunity to find the Shoebill but to see the beautiful Uganda sunrise over Lugogo Swamp.

Booking a Visit

  • Bookings can be made direct with the sanctuary:

(+256) 758 713 410 (Reception)

(+256) 772 713 410 (Angie)

(+256) 778 933 490 (Juliet)

  • It is recommended that all trips be booked in advance to ensure availability and avoid disappointment.
  • Receipt must accompany you to the sanctuary for any payments made in advance to the Kampala office.

About Rhino Fund Uganda

Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) was established in 1997 as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to fulfill the following objectives and functions:
  • To promote the reintroduction of rhinoceros to protected areas within Uganda;
  • To promote breeding programs to ensure the long term viability of reintroduced rhinoceros populations in Uganda;
  • To establish programs in conjunction with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), district governments and local communities to ensure the protection of the rhinoceros populations from poaching;
  • To conduct education programs about the endangered rhinoceros;
  • To build national support for the protection of rhinoceros populations in Uganda;
  • To conduct fund raising campaigns and generate funds in support of translocation, protection, and management of the reintroduced rhinoceros populations. 
RFU is a registered charity and graciously accepts donations as tax-deductible gifts.

How can you help?

  • Visit ! Go and see them, stay with them, visit the rhinos, and shop in the craft shop.
  • Adopt! Use the opportunity of adopting a rhino as a special gift to a loved one or friend !! You can apply to adopt any rhino on the sanctuary, big or small. 
  • Volunteer ! RFU always has needs for specific volunteer projects, both on site at the sanctuary or remotely.  Past projects have included website design, education program assistance, brochure layout and printing, etc.  The options are endless.
  • Donate ! Funds from donations are used to and help build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
  • Name ! Imagine having a rhino in Africa named by you !! You can apply to name a baby rhino. This fund raising initiative contributes to the annual income. Contact the Executive Director who will guide you through the process.
  • Buy ! RFU are developing a brick wall on their website to feature and honour all individuals, families, and institutions/companies/organisations that are willing to buy a brick worth USD 50.
  • Ask ! Contact the executive director, Angie Genade, who would be happy to talk with about ways in which you can get involved.
  • Share ! And when you have done that tell your friends, colleagues, and especially people travelling in Uganda, or in the travel industry about the work they are doing.