40.7K Followers

Beware of Rhinos (Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary)
Home » Africa » Uganda » Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, refugees & scooter breakdown | #pipikikitour2021 ? (2)

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, refugees & scooter breakdown | #pipikikitour2021 ? (2)

In the 2th travelogue of the #pipikikitour2021 we drive from Kampala where we have our bought new scooters, to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to spot the critically endangered rhinoceros. However, this is not without a struggle, because we soon come to a stop with our new scooters and see refugees from South Sudan with severely malnourished children. Read all about it in part 2 of the #pipikikitour2021.

Also read:

pikipikitour2021 ? (1) Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse
pikipikitour2021 ? (2) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Refugees & Scooter Breakdown
pikipikitour2021 ? (3) Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari
pikipikitour2021 ? (4) Drone images scooter safari | Murchison Falls
pikipikitour2021 ? (5) Bad luck in Pakwach and Gulu Central Market
pikipikitour2021 ? (6) Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video)
pikipikitour2021 ? (7) Kidepo Valley | The Legacy of Idi Amin

Bad luck with the scooter

It is Friday morning and the bags are packed. There is quite a bit of unnecessary ballast left in Via Via Guesthouse† It's the way it always goes. You unconsciously take a lot too much luggage along. Chris and I have thought and weighed everything and we both leave with a backpack and a shoulder bag. Barely five kilos per person. You simply can't do more with the small scooter.

An hour later the scooters are ready for the start. The official papers are not yet in order, but Simba assures us: 'They will be sent by email within two weeks. Uganda registers the vehicle ownership logs online.'

Throttle lever broken

It's just before noon and we're not quite there yet or I can move the throttle in all directions without hitting the gas. We stop at a gas station 3 km from Simba and I decide to ride Chris' scooter (who has been able to drive the whole trip without any scooter problems!) to pick up a mechanic. The mechanic gets to work and repairs the broken throttle on the spot.

Meanwhile it starts to rain heavily and all boda-boda drivers look for a place to hide under the roof of the gas station.

Exhaust broken

Half an hour later the mechanic is ready and we chug out of Kampala. Barely 30 km further on my scooter is fine again, this time it's the exhaust. A bolt has vibrated loose and must be replaced. Twice bad luck and we're barely a few hours on the road with our new scooters, that's promising… We get back on our scooters and continue our way to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

The exhaust is fixed
The exhaust is fixed

Lollipops (tam-tams) and frightened children

The pace is good now, the roads are reasonably good and we leave the bustle of the metropolis of Kampala behind us for good. I bought a few bags of lollipops (tam-tams) along the way to hand out along the way. I know from experience what is to come.

Afraid of 'mzungu' (white person)

The little ones here hardly ever see a 'mzungu' (white person) and are very scared. The littlest ones run crying towards the hut where their mother looks surprised. 'Why are you afraid of that mzungu? He's got a tom-tam for you!' Then the sky clears slowly. The lollipop is gratefully received and even a cautious smile appears. It takes a while for the children to get used to us and after a while we even manage to take a selfie with them. Chris puts his phone on the floor and the children are amazed to see their own faces. The little man at the bottom presses the button after a few directions from Chris.

Some children, who carry a heavy jerrycan of water along the road and see us 'mzungus' (whites), throw that jerrycan away and flee into the bushes in panic.

Eric Schuit | Wereldreizigers.nl
Selfie with kids in Uganda
Selfie with kids in Uganda

Refugees from South Sudan

After about 100 km we stop at a series of huts. The residents appear to be refugees from South Sudan. Ever since the civil War since it erupted in full force a few years ago, nearly two million South Sudanese went to Uganda escaped. Many of them are related to the Acholi, the largest population group in Northern Uganda. They speak the same language. The borders were once drawn by the British without regard for the local population (where not in Africa; eg Nigeria).

A lollipop (tam-tam). You can't make such a cutie much happier
A lollipop (tam-tam). You can't make such a cutie much happier

Appalling conditions and malnourished children

I rejoice the very malnourished children (some have very swollen bellies) with a lollipop. Dirty, scratched and sweaty from working the land and carrying heavy jerry cans of water, they take the lollipop. Your heart almost breaks when you see a rare smile on their face… You can't make such a little one more happy, because they live in appalling conditions without water or electricity. The lollipop they get from a passing mzungu is the highlight of the day, the week and probably even the month.

Severely malnourished bellies
Severely malnourished bellies

They get water from a well a few kilometers away. They have no money, work, school or things. They survive with the help of their own vegetable garden, because the Ugandan government has given every fleeing family from South Sudan their own piece of land on which they can grow fruit and vegetables. The piece of land they live in then looks something like this: a self-built hut made of reed, many young children and yes, the pregnant woman also shows herself for a while. As if there weren't enough kids already.

A cabin of a South Sudanese refugee family
A cabin of a South Sudanese refugee family

Here in one of the poorest parts of Africa, things work differently with children. The more children, the more work that can be done. You should not think about child labor here, for them it is simply a matter of survival.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary 

It is now getting dark and that means near the equator that it will get dark very quickly. Chris and I reach the reception of Ziwa Rhino Lodge just before dark. The first rhinoceroses report immediately.

Beware of Rhinos (Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary)
Beware of Rhinos (Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary)
A rhinoceros with baby at Ziwa Rhino Lodge
A rhinoceros with baby at Ziwa Rhino Lodge

The many signs and warnings ensure that you stay at an appropriate distance. We evaluate the successful day over a Nile (Uganda's unsurpassed national beer). After some start-up problems, the ride of about 165 km from Kampala to Ziwa went smoothly. Walking back to your lodge from the restaurant after sunset is out of the question, there are many dangerous animals here, including leopards. We are escorted back safely and go to sleep on time. The next day we have to get up early for the rhinoceros walking safari.

Background information Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

In the 1970s of Go Amen thousands of rhinoceroses were shot. Amin and his family loved the hunt. In the years that followed, poachers in particular made off with the last rhinoceroses. By 1982, both the black and white rhinoceros were completely extinct in Uganda.

The entrance to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
The entrance to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was established in 2005 to reintroduce the extinct southern white rhinoceros to Uganda. Four rhinoceroses hatched Kenya and two rhinoceroses were donated by Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida. Ziwa now houses a healthy rhino population of 32 through successful breeding programs!

When the rhino population reaches 50, the group will be split and half released into one of Uganda's better-guarded national parks.

A rhinoceros walking safari

The next morning dawns. We get up early and walk with a Ranger through the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. We are accompanied by a group of curious warthogs, who happily wag their tails. It is a matter of a few minutes and the first rhinoceroses are already appearing. They are used to people and graze without a care.

Warthogs decide to follow us on our walk
Warthogs decide to follow us on our walk
Rhinoceroses at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Rhinoceroses at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Rhinos grazing in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Rhinos grazing in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

armed rangers

It is immediately noticeable that each rhinoceros is guarded by armed rangers who work for Uganda's Wildlife Authority. The rhinos are guarded 24/7 against poachers, which is apparently really necessary. A rhinoceros horn is worth about $300.000 in China, where it is believed to have healing powers.

Armed rangers guarding the rhinos 24/7
Armed rangers guarding the rhinos 24/7 | Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

After the walking safari we decide to get back on our scooter and look for the 'real game'. In part 3 of the #pipikikitour2021 we make a first sensational scooter safari in Murchison Falls National Park.

Also read:

pikipikitour2021 ? (1) Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse
pikipikitour2021 ? (2) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Refugees & Scooter Breakdown
pikipikitour2021 ? (3) Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari
pikipikitour2021 ? (4) Drone images scooter safari | Murchison Falls
pikipikitour2021 ? (5) Bad luck in Pakwach and Gulu Central Market
pikipikitour2021 ? (6) Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video)
pikipikitour2021 ? (7) Kidepo Valley | The Legacy of Idi Amin

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

ERIC – OVER 100 COUNTRIES
– Currently in Kenya.
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

Written by:

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

SOUGHT

TRAVEL CHECKLIST

✔️ This travel insurance also covers orange covid-areas.
✔️ Compare and book the cheapest airline tickets here..
✔️ Save and book the best activities.
✔️ Multiple hotels? Then book with 20% Genius discount.
✔️ Save and reserve your airport parking spot.
✔️ Roadtrip† Compare and book a discount rental car.
✔️ Prepare for a trip? Score a practical travel Guide.
✔️ Need a backpack or suitcase? Offers here.
✔️ Gift† I'm giving away 500 times 10 euros!

Translate »
Copy link