Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Wildlife Reserve in Northwestern Uganda

The Big Five are back. In 2005, Rhino Fund Uganda opened this private 70-sq-km reserve, 170km northwest of Kampala, about 30 years after poachers shot the nation’s last wild rhino in Murchison in 1983. There are now 19 southern white rhinos roaming the savannah and wetland, many of which were born in the wild in Uganda. A guide will lead you on an up-close encounter, either in your vehicle or theirs (US$25).

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 antipoacher rangers 24 hours, 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 species of bird, and birdwatching tours cost US$25, with highlights including giant kingfishers, Ross's turacos and shoebills. The latter are best seen on early-morning shoebill canoe trips (US$30 per person) to an adjoining swamp, where you have a very good chance of spotting them.

There are occasionally volunteer opportunities, so ask via the website.

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