The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) or more popularly known as Entebbe Zoo is situated in Entebbe, a coastal town located on the shores of Lake Victoria. There are many interesting tourist attractions Entebbe such as the International airport, the botanical gardens and the State house but the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is the most popular. The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre showcases most of the different wildlife species found in the different national parks of Uganda. You can find lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, buffaloes, zebras, warthogs, monkeys and chimpanzees at the Centre. It is only mountain gorillas that are suspiciously missing. Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is both a zoo and a wildlife sanctuary because some animals are caged while others have been left to live in their natural setting.
The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre was built to offer both animals and tourists a true wilderness experience. The Centre lies on a 72-acre land on the shores of Lake Victoria and is dominated by rainforests. The ambience is perfect for animals to live comfortably and there are various pathways for visitors to watch animals in their different enclosures. UWEC plays a vital role in wildlife research and educating both local and international visitors about the importance of wildlife conservation. The zoo has an animal breeding programme for endangered species as well as a veterinary hospital for injured or ailing animals. With the aforementioned facilities, zoo had to be reclassified as wildlife education centre.
Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is the first place to go to if you are a tourist planning for a longer safari in the different national parks in Uganda. Visiting the Entebbe zoo is recommended for international tourists who are about to set off to the different national parks in the county. The Entebbe zoo is also perfect for people who are in the country for an international workshop/conference or business trip. Local tourists prefer visiting the Entebbe zoo as a cheaper option to visiting the safari parks considering that it has most of the animals they wish to see. There are many activities to engage in while at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre including the behind scenes tour, the casual zoo tour, birding watching, viewing chimpanzee/smaller primates and walking on the beaches along Lake Victoria. We will discuss these activities in more detail later on.
The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in the beginning was called Entebbe zoo in 1950 and its objective was to act as a rehabilitation center for orphaned, lone, vulnerable and injured animals. The facility was established by the British colonial government in conjunction with the Wildlife.
Conservation Society (WCS). In 1960, it became open to the public. People were able to go to the facility and see the different wildlife species as well as imported species like the bears and tigers.
The zoo had a setback in the 1970s and 1980s due to political unrest at the time. Many of the resident wildlife were lost because of neglect, poor management and infrastructure break down. When the current NRM government came into power in 1986, the facility recovered. The new government gave the Entebbe zoo a facelift with the intention of using it to showcase Uganda’s wildlife conservation efforts. After some research and study, the New York Zoological society advised the government to turn the zoo into a Wildlife conservation center. The government took on the idea and turned it into the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in 1994 under the management of the Ministry of Tourism. Over the years, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre has acquired more land and expanded up to the shores of Lake Victoria. The government together with other wildlife conservation organizations funded and still fund most of the projects in the center. With more funding, the wildlife Centre has restored all the animals that were no longer seen at the center. In 2020, Ugandans witnessed the restoration of tigers in the center. Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is now one of the most admired wildlife centers in the continent.
As a Wildlife Education Centre, Entebbe zoo receives frequent visitors because it is the only place where one can see most of Uganda’s wildlife in one place. Most of the visitors are local tourists and students. On a normal day, one can see students from nursery, primary, secondary and higher institutions of learning at the Centre. The students come from different parts of the country to learn about the different species of animals in Uganda. The Centre can host up to 10 learner groups daily. On weekends, the Centre receives countless visitors ranging from international tourists, families, couples and lone travelers. After observing the animals, children can have fun at the bouncing castles, swings and mobile toy shops.
Animals at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre
The Entebbe zoo has many interesting wildlife species and attractions for the casual visitor or volunteers. Some of the animals found at the Centre include the big five – lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos and leopards. There are also cheetahs, topis, impalas, zebras, elands, hogs, giraffes, Uganda cobs and tigers. Some of the primates at the zoo include red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys and chimpanzees. UWEC is home to over 120 bird species including peacocks, the shoebill stork and parrots to mention but a few.
Nature lovers can enjoy a nature walk to see different plant types, shrubs, tropical/savanna trees, flowers and herbs. The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre has been made interesting by allowing some of the animals like monkeys, tortoises, peacocks and parrots to move freely.
Entebbe Zoo Working Hours
What are the opening hours of Entebbe zoo? Entebbe Zoo is open every day of the week from 8am in the morning to 6pm in the evening. We recommend that tourists visit the center early in the morning or in the afternoon (Around 4pm). The animals are active in the morning and afternoon hours. This is also the time when zoo keepers appear to feed the animals.
Uganda Wildlife Education Centre has accommodation for volunteers and guests who wish to stay for the night. The accommodation is in form of cottages (bandas) which are all self-contained. Every Banda Entebbe Zoo Entrance Feeis detached from another and comes with a spacious interior, a bathroom, a bed, a mosquito net, fridge and other amenities. A night in one of these bandas goes for about $30. There is also a large dormitory with shared bathrooms for budget travelers and students. Food can be got from the restaurant overlooking Lake Victoria. This restaurant closes at the same time as the zoo (6:00pm). If you are mid-range or luxury traveler, you might want to consider one of the many lodge and hotels are around Entebbe town.
This is a special experience for those who love wildlife. During this experience, visitors get to interact with the animals more personally or at a closer range. The experiences include being allowed to enter their enclosures, touching and feeding them under the guidance of the zoo keeper. Visitors who wish to engage in this experience have to part with more money than the normal zoo entrance rates. The Behind the scenes Tour has three variations – The keeper for the day experience, Vet for the day experience and the Keeper’s guided tour
Keeper’s Guided Tour
During this experience, a visitor is assigned to a specific zoo keeper to guide them around the center. Before the tour starts, the visitor is briefed about the history of the Uganda Entebbe zoo behind the scenes experience Wildlife Education Centre, what to expect on the tour and guidelines to follow. The visitors also sign a consent form which states that they know the dangers of getting close to wild animals and will take ownership for any accident. The tour starts with visiting the main offices of the center, meeting senior staff and then heading off to the animal enclosures. By the end of the tour, the visitor would have encountered lions, cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos, chimpanzees, elands, shoebill, elephants, monkeys and more. With each encounter, the caretaker shares important information about the animal including their overall profile and behavior. The visitor is allowed to take photos of the animal in enclosure. Overall, this experience takes three hours and costs $40.
Keeper for a day experience
This experience costs $150 per person. It is a more extensive experience than the Keeper’s guided tour because it involves more activities than the latter. During this experience, the visitor goes through what the care taker does daily. The experience starts with a briefing from the keeper before proceeding to prepare animal food, load it in a truck and drive to the animal enclosures. The visitor is involved in feeding the animals, observing their mood and taking notes. The experience provides visitor with many opportunities of touching the animals and taking photos.
The Vet for the day Experience
This experience is suitable for those who are interested in learning about how animals are kept healthy and diagnosed for any complications. During this tour, visitors are guided by a Veterinary doctor. The first activity is to visit the animal pharmacy to look at the various Uganda Wildlife Education Centre entrance fees medicines given to the animals and their purpose. You will then follow the veterinary doctor to the animal enclosures to observe how medical check-ups, diagnosis and other treatments are done. All visitors must follow certain medical precautions to avoid spreading any disease to the animals. This experience is popular with veterinary students from the various institutions in the country and abroad.
Visitors are encouraged to book in advance for these special experiences. All visitors are required to be vaccinated or tested for diseases that are likely to spread from human to animals. The vaccinations and testing are done against the following diseases: –
Guided Tour: This is the most popular activity at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. It takes some time to explore the zoo on ones one without a Guide. A resident Guide will ask for about $10 or 10,000 shillings to take you around the facility and the different animal enclosures. This tour doesn’t involve entering the animal enclosures or close contact. We highly recommend that you hire the services of a resident Guide while at the zoo. The Zoo is large and difficult to explore alone. With a Guide, you are assured of spotting all the animals and not missing out on anything.
Chimpanzee Close-up Experience
Chimpanzees were one of the first animals to be introduced at Entebbe Zoo. The greatest and most interesting chimp to stay at the center was Zakayo. Zakayo died at Entebbe zoo prices the age of 56 years and is remembered to this day. Each and every visitor wanted to see Zakayo because of his sheer size and overall demeanor. After his death, more chimpanzees were brought to the zoo but non has captured the imagination of visitors like Zakayo. The Chimpanzee Close-up experience allows tourists to see the chimps feeding and playing at close range. Chimps are very smart and active primates. An interaction with them is always memorable because there is a lot of drama during their interactions. If you wish to have a more personal experience with the chimps, you can register for it in advance at a cost of $290 per person. For an even more extensive chimpanzee experience, you might want to read about the nearby Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
Entebbe zoo behind the scenes tour Birding and Forest walk
The Entebbe Zoo is not only home to mammals but reptiles and birds. Visitors who love birding or nature can choose to take a walk in of the established trails. These walking trails are 1 km long and home to thick forest were over 100 species of birds live. Apart from birds, one should expect to encounter countless butterflies, reptiles, primates and rare tree species. This one-hour forest walk is often part of an overall tour of the facility which includes visiting the various animal enclosures.
Riding donkeys and camels
Donkey and camel rides are very popular with children and families. Children find riding on the back of a donkey or camel very exciting. They can be joined in this fund activity by their parents and other visitors.
Entebbe Zoo is found on the shores of Lake Victoria – the largest fresh-water lake in the continent of Africa. Boat tours on Lake Victoria are relaxing and excellent for admiring the natural beauty of Entebbe town and different islands in the lake.
There are many ways to contribute to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre as a conservationist or former visitor. The best way to support the Centre is by taking a tour around the zoo and engaging in the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre behind the scenes tour various activities we discussed earlier. Most of the funds collected at the entrance is used for maintenance, development and conservation works.
Another option of supporting the Centre is by joining the Animal parents program.
Under this program, donors can choose to sponsor one of the animals for a period of time or permanently. The donor provides the funds required to feed and treat the animal. Special sponsorship arrangements and other conservation campaigns do exist and you can send an email to email@example.com to find out more.
The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre accepts applications from those who are interested in volunteering. Applications are open to all nationalities and should be sent through their email firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants must attach their cover letter, curriculum vitae, recommendation letter Uganda Wildlife Education Centre behind the scenes and area of interest. The volunteering programme is designed to allow participants learn how to freely interact with animals, know their moods and behavior. Volunteers get involved in activities like feeding the animals, research, cleaning animal enclosures, guiding visitors and helping raise funds for the center. The Centre charges $1500 for those interested in volunteering at the Centre. The amount covers accommodation, meals, boat tours to Islands around Lake Victoria and airport pickup. All Volunteers stay in one of the bandas and food is prepared at the resident restaurant. The cost of volunteering at the Entebbe zoo excludes travel and personal insurance. All Volunteers must prepare to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the six killer diseases and Hepatitis A&B. They must also test for Tuberculosis.
A local taxi can be hired or safari vacations and travel services can arrange the booking of the activities you are to do and the pick-ups to the center
Entebbe Zoo Entrance Fee and Prices
The Entrance fees for Entebbe Zoo or the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is made at the main gate. Payments can be in form of cash or electronic cards (visa or credit card). Adult non-residents pay $10 and Children $5. Residents of Uganda pay 10,000 shillings and children 5,000 shillings. There are special discounted fees for learning institutions and schools. Visitors interested in a special guided tour around the wildlife Centre are required to pay a special rate which is normally higher than the standard fees. Car parking fees at the Centre is 2,000 shillings per vehicle.
Safari vacations and travel services organize the best things to do while at the Entebbe Uganda, we do arrange the behind scenes experience at the UWEC in Entebbe city, get in touch with us for further details.