Out and About: Entebbe Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Entebbe Wildlife Sanctuary, popularly know as the Entebbe Zoo, is one of the places one must visit when in Entebbe or Kampala.

It is located in Entebbe, but not that far from Kampala; about a hour’s drive, which makes it an excellent family outing option.

We have been there several times already, but this time round was more special to us as we had yet to see the two Bengal Tigers the zoo acquired sometime last year.

There is a lot to see at the zoo. From chimpanzees, to beautiful lions, cheetahs, giraffes, elephant, snakes, otters and even the elusive Shoebill stork, usually found at Mabamba Bay. I have already written about our visit there here.

There were a few changes we noticed while there. Obviously, there are standard Covid 19 prevention protocols to be observed, the zoo is now charging parking fees, and there is a small vehicle to drive those who do to want or are unable to walk around, (at a fee of course).

There is a big playground filled with different activities for children, a restaurant (that serves some awesome fish) and an area one can picnic at on the shores of Lake Victoria.

This time round though, we just wanted to see the animals. We began at the tiger enclosure. Such majestic creatures.

The lions, cheetah and leopard were all asleep though, I guess it was big cats nap time.

Can you spot the leopard?

They also have a caracal and a serval which I find so beautiful with its black spots, long neck and long legs which make it a great jumper.

The zoo has two rhinos too that are so good at minding their own business, just grazing peacefully.

The kids were fascinated by the tigers, the rhinos which we were lucky to get really close to, the chimpanzees as well as the otters.

It was also our first time to see the otters up close as most times they hide out in the water.

Other fascinating sections were the reptile section, with the snakes and crocodiles.

If you are an avid birdwatcher, you will be able to hear and spot a few birds in the trees as you walk around the zoo. We spotted other animals too that are not part of the captive ones such as vervet moneys frolicking in the trees and a monitor lizard.

How many monkeys can you spot?

There is a botanicals section too, that is very informative on indigenous plants and their healing properties. Sadly this time round the guide was not available and the garden looked a bit rundown but I was able to get a few photos and information. It is one of my favorite parts of the gardens as we get to learn how many plants and trees around us, including some we view as weeds, were actually used in olden times to heal and manage various diseases and disorders. Quite intriguing.

The zoo has many other animals, warthogs, giraffes, baboons, red tailed monkeys, crowned cranes, ostriches, buffalos, waterbucks, a zebra, elephant and many more.

Rothschild giraffes

PS: I know there are people who do not like going to zoos as they do not want to see the animals in captivity. Well, for me, I see it is a learning opportunity. We get to see many animals and learn about them without having to travel to do so. Travelling to see animals in the wild is not within reach for many. Some of the animals are also rescued from the wild as they are at risk of being poached or endangered, so it is part of animal conservation efforts undertaken by those entrusted to care for them.

Many of the trees around the zoo had signs indicating their names, both local and scientific and if they are indigenous to the region or not.

Some also have installations around them to promote conservation and how to reuse plastics that are a menace to the environment.

These used water bottles are being used as planters for tree seedlings.
These tree base has been reinforced with used soda bottles in the concrete and plastic bottle caps on top.

We all enjoyed ourselves despite being a hot day and the place being quite busy than all the other times we have been there.

When you decide to visit the zoo, wear comfortable shoes and clothing, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses will not hurt too as there is quite a bit of walking around to do to see the animals.

Definitely worth a visit.

Weekend Recap: Uganda Reptile Village, Entebbe.

It has been a while since I posted about being out and about. Now that a few places are slowly opening up, we can move around a bit more. Which is great for the kids; being cooped up in the compound is not a very pleasant experience.

The Uganda Reptiles Village is a community based organisation located in Entebbe, committed to the rescue, conservation, and releasing back to the wild, different reptile species from all around the area. It is also an information centre to learn more about different reptiles. It is not hard to get to, about 2-3 kms off the main road, and is open daily.

Their entrance fees are 8 and 5 dollars respectively for adults and kids. Some may think it is a bit pricey but given that it’s a community based initiative, it is ok as the money is being utilised by those around, and assists in conservation of these species that may have been killed by humans too.

It is definitely worth a visit when one is in the vicinity. Where else would you be able to see the Nile monitor lizard side by side a couple of young Nile crocodiles, an old leopard tortoise and a black tortoise (which my son thought was shaped like a spaceship), and various snakes from the lethal Gabon Viper, boomslang, the deadly Jameson Mamba, and forest and Egyptian cobra?

A Forest cobra. Very elusive, rarely bites but it’s venom is both neurotoxic and cytotoxic. Likes dense bushy places.
Gaboon viper. I couldn’t get a clearer picture. But look how huge it is. It is the heaviest snake in Africa. Has the longest fangs and is venomous. It is also unique as it gives birth to live young, like humans!
This Egyptian cobra had its hood up when it sensed our movement. Also venomous.
A couple of crocodiles basking in the afternoon sun.
The Nile Monitor Lizard. Large, powerful and stout and very good climbers, don’t be surprised if you see one on top of a tree. It is listed as a threatened species.

The reptile village is not a very big place so it might not take you more than an hour to get around, and you can hold a tortoise, a chameleon and a snake if you want.

This black tortoise has sharper claws and can bite when provoked. My son said it’s shaped like a spaceship. 😅
This leopard tortoise is said to be more than one hundred years old!

There is a playground for the kids, and one can take short boat rides to watch tens of different beautiful bird species in the area, but this is not possible at the moment due to the rising lake levels that have submerged some of these areas.

All in all, it was a nice informative visit. The kids and I learnt so much, our guide Lawrence was very knowledgeable and answered our questions with patience too.

It is definitely worth a visit for kids and adults alike.