Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and Murchison Falls – 6/29

After leaving AHI in the morning, we are off to go rhinoceros tracking and then to Murchison Falls National Park. In 1984, rhinos were considered extinct in Uganda. Poaching and encroaching on their territory, exacerbated by the Ugandan Bush War from 1981-1986, were some of the driving factors leading to their decline. However, starting in 2005, rhinos have slowly been re-introduced in Uganda. This effort has been led by the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, located in between the Ranch and Murchison Falls national park. There are now 48 rhinoceros at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. They are all white rhinos. One of the incredible things about the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is that you track them on foot.

It was an ideal day with overcast skies, occasional light rain and a pleasant temperature. The sanctuary is a mix of brush and grassland, which is ideal for Rhinos. As we walked, our guide explained to us that rhinos are matriarchal and have a gestation period of 16 months. We found a group of at least 10 Rhinos and even though I have seen the Rhinos before, I am always amazed by their size and power. In the group was the youngest of the current rhino calves at the sanctuary, which was just under one year of age. Our guide explained that when the baby rhino need to eat, they let out a large squeak that signals to the mother it’s time to eat.

After watching and learning about the Rhinos, it was time to continue on to Murchison Falls National Park. This park is the largest national parks in Uganda, and it is a truly incredible place. Our first stop was the top of Murchison Falls. This is where the mighty Nile River goes over a waterfall into a ravine less than 10 meters wide, where the water crashes from one wall to the next fall a total of 141 feet. It is an awe-inspiring sight, full of so much raw power. The amount of water in the Nile has been increased over the past 2 to 3 years because of changes in rainfall brought on by climate change. The river is several feet higher than we’ve ever seen it before. Further downstream, this has created problems for some of the Lodges and people living along the Nile.

During our time in Murchison Falls National Park, we are staying at Twiga Safari Lodge. The lodge is gorgeous and located right next to the Nile. Every night Hippos walk past your room. Tomorrow, we are looking forward to sharing our adventures in Murchison Falls National Park, including lions and lion cubs.

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