While it functions primarily as a zoo, this centre is actually a world-class animal refuge that has benefited from international assistance in recent years. Most of the animals on display were once injured or were recovered from poachers and traffickers. Star attractions include chimpanzees (a good alternative to pricier Ngamba Island), southern white rhinos, lions, leopards and shoebill storks. Keep an eye out for the baby elephant wandering about too.
A variety of programs gets you closer to the animals, including chimp encounters (US$200), behind-the-scenes tours (US$70) and zookeeper for the day (adult/child US$100/50); book directly through UWEC for discounts. There are long-term volunteering opportunities and it has on-site lodging.