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Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Closed

Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA has closed Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola district with immediate effect following a recent attack. The decision comes amidst bickering between Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR), which owns the land hosting the sanctuary, and Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU), a non-governmental organization that manages the rhinos.

A press statement issued by UWA, it says Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary has been closed to the public and no tourism activity will be undertaken until further notice. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is home to 33 endangered white rhinos. According to the statement, the closure was prompted by the misunderstanding between Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR) and Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU).

The statement notes that UWA realized that the conflicts could potentially compromise the safety of the rhinos and they took the decision to avert the threat as a temporary measure till the parties involved settle the matter. UWA also says that it has taken over the security of the sanctuary, which is within its mandate to protect wildlife resources in Uganda as per Uganda Wildlife Act, 2019.

The development comes a few days after 28 men pretending to be tourists raided the sanctuary on April 15, 2021, and destroyed office property in what is believed to have been an attempt to evict the staff of Rhino Fund Uganda.  The suspects have since revealed that they were hired from Kampala to execute the mission. Isah Ssemwogerere, the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson says that the suspects face charges of aggravated robbery, theft and malicious damage to property.

Captain Joseph C. Roy, the proprietor of Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches (ZRWR), which seats on over 16,000 acres of land ordered UWA and RFU to relocate the rhinos and vacate the land respectively for alleged failure to cooperate with him. But Augustine Mudukoyi, the General Manager of Rhino Fund Uganda told URN that they tried to settle the misunderstanding by agreeing to all the demands by Captain Roy to give him 20% collections and appoint three of his members on its board.

Mudukoyi instead accuses Captain Roy of making fresh unrealistic demands, which include 100% collection and relocation of the Executive Director, Angie Genade from Ziwa sanctuary to their Kampala headquarters. On Friday, UWA announced plans to relocate the rhinos from the sanctuary to its protected areas following the completion of a feasibility study to identify a suitable location and the required conditions.

In 2002, Capt. Roy offered the land to act as a sanctuary for the rhinos for a period of 30yrs. However, in October 2017, Captain Roy terminated his MoU with Rhino Fund Uganda. In 2020, after a series of meetings with President Yoweri Museveni and the Ministry of Tourism, the two parties signed a fresh five-year memorandum of understanding for the continuation of the flagship project.

However in March this year, Captain Roy laid fresh demands. On April 15, 2021, he stormed out of a meeting called by the Ministry of Tourism and UWA, saying he is no longer interested in talks but wants his land back. It is reported that over 10,000 tourists visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary each year.

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Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Justo Nov 18, 2019

Safaribookings
I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019

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My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .