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Uganda-Wildlife Education Center

Uganda Wildlife Education Center (Entebbe Zoo)

Why visit Uganda Wildlife Education Center when you could go on safari in Uganda?

The Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) is the most famous attraction in Entebbe City. Also known as Entebbe Zoo the center has been recognized as the best zoo in east and central Africa.

It is also recommended by Lonely Planet, which describes it as ‘a world-class animal refuge that has benefited from international assistance in recent years’.

cheetah at Uganda Wildlife Education center

Although Uganda Wildlife Education Centre operates as a zoo, its  main focus is to rescue, care for, and rehabilitate animals rescued from traffickers and poachers.

Many of the animals you will encounter here were seized during smuggling attempts, saved from certain death, or found being illegally kept as pets in people’s homes. They are brought here to be cared for, and where possible, many are released back in the wild when the time is right.

UWEC also contributes to scientific research and is devoted to creating public education programs. In this spirit, several conservation educations, internship, and volunteer programs for Ugandans and foreigners are offered on and off-site.

Here is all you will need to know about Uganda Wildlife Education Centre for an inspiring visit:

Location: Where Is Uganda Wildlife Education Centre Found?

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is found in Entebbe city in Central Uganda.

The education centre is located in Wakiso District on the shore of the Lake Victoria – Africa’s largest lake and the largest tropical lake in the world.

UWEC is very close to Entebbe International Airport (EBB), the main entry point and the gateway to most Uganda safaris. The centre is situated approximately 1 hour drive (39km) from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.

It is a good place for weekend tours in Uganda or a short excursion before or after undertaking your long Uganda safari tours to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park or Murchison Falls National Park and all these national parks are managed by Uganda wildlife authority

A Brief History Of Uganda Wildlife Education Center (Entebbe Zoo)

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre was formerly known as the Entebbe Zoo.

The zoo was name after the town of Entebbe. In the local Luganda language, “Entebbe” means a “seat”. And was possibly named that because it was where the chief of Buganda Kingdom sat to hear judicial issues.

In 1952, the Games Department in colonial administration in Uganda led by Sir Andrew Cohen established Entebbe Animal Sanctuary. The sanctuary was a reception centre for wildlife casualties, including the sick, injured, orphaned, and animals confiscated from illicit trade.

In 1960, Entebbe Animal Sanctuary changed its role to a typical zoo, thus the name Entebbe Zoo – a name that still rings memories in the minds of many Ugandans. At that time, several non-native animals, like bears and tigers, were kept as attractions at the zoo.

From 1970 to 1985, the Entebbe zoo suffered a setback as a result of political upheaval. Many animals died due to neglect and infrastructural break down.

In 1986, when the current National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came into power, the facility was rehabilitated. After some research, the New York Zoological Society advised the Uganda government to turn the Entebbe zoo into a Wildlife Education Conservation Centre.

In 1994, the UWEC Trust was established to take over the zoo principally for Conservation Education purposes. Over the years, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre has acquired more land and expanded up to the Lake Victoria shore.

In 2020, Ugandans witnessed the restoration of tigers in the facility.

Animals You Will See At Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (Entebbe Zoo)

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is a perfect place for kids to learn about the animals from a safe distance.

All the Big Five animals of Africa (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard) can be seen here.

At UWEC, you can also see Chimpanzees, Giraffes, Zebras, Ostriches, Peacocks, Crocodiles, Uganda kobs, Impalas, Topis, Elands, Warthogs, Snakes, Tortoises, Turtles, Otters, Monkeys, Baboons, Jackals, Donkeys, Camels, and Serval Cats.

Unfortunately, there are no mountain gorillas in the centre as they cannot survive in captivity like their lowland gorilla cousins. To see gorillas in Uganda, you will have to go for gorilla trekking tours in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre also has a pair of tigers (a female/tigress and a male/tiger).

Entebbe zoo tigers tigers at UWEC

These tigers are of the Bengal species. They were received from South Africa and were traded for 25 Ugandan monkeys. The tigers are stunning with their brown color and white color coats.

The white is the male whereas the brown is the female.

Unlike lions which you can see in the savannah national parks of Uganda like Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, or Murchison Falls National Park and Africa at large, the tigers are not native to the continent of Africa. They can only be found in zoos like UWEC.

Tigers are native to Asia.

A list of all Key Animals & Birds at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre:

  • Chimpanzee- our closest living relatives
  • White Rhino- the second largest land animal in the world
  • African Lion – the king of African Jungle, the largest predator in Africa
  • Cheetah – the fastest land animals on Earth
  • Giraffe – the world’s tallest land animal
  • African Elephants – the biggest land animal in the world.
  • Shoebill – amazing prehistoric looking bird
  • Nile Crocodiles – Africa’s biggest freshwater predator
  • Common Ostrich- the largest bird on the planet.
  • African Rock Python – the largest snake in Africa
  • Crested Crane – Uganda National bird
  • Uganda kob – Uganda national animal
  • Impala – from which Kampala city is named
  • African Buffalo
  • African Leopard
  • Tiger
  • Plains Zebra
  • Peacock

Day Visits At Uganda Wildlife Education Centre

If you have a few days or just hours in Entebbe City and you’re wondering how to spend your precious time in the city, you visit Uganda Wildlife Education Centre.

At UWEC, you can see chimpanzees in a semi-natural environment, hear a lion’s roar, or enjoy a forest nature walk or just have some unforgettable experiences with the animal ambassadors.

During your tour, you will develop an important understanding of their role in safeguarding and conserving our planet’s natural resources. To enter Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, you will have to pay the entry fees.

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre Entry Fees (Uganda zoo entrance fee)

The UWEC/Entebbe Zoo Entry Fees are paid at the education center’s main gate. You can make your payments in cash or using electronic cards (visa or credit card). The uganda wildlife education centre entrance fee includes the following:

  • US$ 15 for Foreign Non Residents
  • US$ 10 for Foreign Residents
  • UGX 10,000 for Ugandan Adults
  • UGX 5,000 for Ugandan Children

Learning institutions and schools are offered special discounts.

If you are interested in a special guided tour are the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, you are required to pay a special rate which is normally higher than the standard fees.

At the center, car parking fees is Uganda Shillings 2,000 per vehicle.

Experiential Activities You Can Do At Uganda Wildlife Education Centre – Entebbe Zoo

These immersive activities at UWEC give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to care for some of the planet’s fascinating animals.

Whether you wish to treat yourself, your family, or your loved ones, an animal experience is the ideal way to make a day at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre even more memorable.

  1. Chimpanzee Close-Up Experience

An endangered species, Uganda’s chimpanzee population of 5,700 is declining, largely as a result of human actions. The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre believes that education is the key to preventing extinction of chimpanzees in Uganda and Africa at large.

UWEC offers an excellent opportunity to engage in a profoundly moving and one-of-a-kind experience in which you’ll have the privilege of an up close, direct contact with these incredible creatures.

You’ll join the younger chimps for part of their daily exercise routine in a stretch of natural forest. You will observe in awe as they interact, curious to explore their guests. Always playful, they may cling to you; climb all over you, or even use their human-like hands to explore your face.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get close to  humankind’s closest relative.

It will not only be an experience of a lifetime, but you’ll also learn about the dangers they face in the wild, whilst supporting ongoing conservation efforts of Uganda Wildlife Education Centre.

Activity Fees:

  • Foreign Non Residents: 290 USD
  • Foreign Resident: 200 USD
  1. “Behind The Scenes” Tour Experiences

If seeing animals through fence or across the wall is not enough, this educational tour of  two hours is for you.

You will be led beyond the paths, past ‘Staff Only’ and ‘No Entry’ sign posts, and directly into the animal enclosures, face-to-face with the animals.

You will observe the behaviour of the animals and witness firsthand how the keepers feed the lions, elephants, rhinos, and giraffes. You will also see how the keeper conducts health checks, or bring the animals back to their holding facilities.

You will have a rare chance to visit the food preparation places, the animals pharmacy, the exhibits and so much more. This way you can say that you have truly visited/explored the UWEC Zoo.

Activity Fees

  • Foreign Non Residents: Adults 70 USD, Kids 35 USD
  • Foreign Residents: Adults 50 USD, Kids 15
  • Ugandans: Adults 50000 UGX, 30,000 UGX
  1. Keeper For A Day

You can also spend a day at UWEC in the life of a zookeeper! It is a wonderful chance to get the good side of a rhino as you serve him breakfast!

You will wake up very early to join the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre keepers in the kitchen to prepare the food for animals. Then, you will board the tractor that will transport you from one animal exhibit to another.

You will assist in feeding an astounding variety of unique and endangered creatures from giraffes to lions to rare birds. This may the most satisfying and enjoyable day of work you ever experienced!

  • Foreign Non Residents – 150 USD
  • Foreign Residents – 100 USD
  1. The Vet For The Day Experience

This special encounter is for those interested in knowing how animals are maintained healthy and diagnosed for any complications.

Under the direction of a veterinarian, you will visit the animal pharmacy to examine the numerous medications administered to animals and their purpose.

You will next accompany the veterinary doctor to the animal enclosures to see how medical check-ups, diagnosis, and other treatments are done.

You will be required to follow certain medical precautions to prevent transmission any disease to the animals. This unique experience is ideal for veterinary students from Uganda and abroad.

It is recommended that you book in advance. And you must be vaccinated or tested for illnesses that are likely to pass from humans to animals, including:-

  • Yellow fever
  • Hepatitis A&B
  • Covid-19
  • Tuberculosis
  • Polio
  • Meningitis
  • Tetanus
  1. Exclusive (VIP) Behind The Scene Tour Experience

At Uganda Wildlife Education Center, this special is your personalized adventure! You will interact closely with the animal ambassadors. You can come with your family and spend up to 3 hours with your own personal guide.

Your kids will enjoy the bikes, donkeys, and camel rides. You also enjoy a special meal in the restaurant overlooking Lake Victoria. This experience is customized to your interests and preferences.

Activity Fees:

  • Foreign Non Resident: Adults: 100 USD; Children: 50 USD
  • Foreign Residents: Adults 50 USD; Children 25 USD
  • Ugandan: Adults 35,000 UGX; Children, 15,000 UGX

More Activities You Can Enjoy At The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre

  1. Keeper’s Guided Tour

On this Uganda Wildlife Education Centre tour experience, you are assigned a specific zoo keeper to guide you in the centre.

Before your tour begins, you are briefed about the history of the Education Centre, expectations from the tour, and some guidelines to follow.

On the start of the tour, you visit the main offices of UWEC, meet senior staff and then head off to the animal enclosures.

At the end of the tour, you would have encountered cheetahs, lions, rhinos, leopards, elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes, antelopes, shoebill, crested cranes, monkeys, and more.

As you tour, our guide will share without important information about the animal including their overall profile and behavior.  This three-hour experience costs $40.

  1. Forest Nature Walk

At Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, you can also enjoy one kilometer nature in a natural pristine forest. Here, you can see free ranging birds, mammals, butterflies and chameleons.

You can also learn about plants and their medicinal values in UWEC garden which contains more than 100 plants.

Activity Fees

  • Foreign Non Resident: Adults 15 USD, Children 5 USD
  • Foreign Residents: Adults 10 USD, Children 5 USD
  • Ugandans: Adults 10,000 UGX, Children 5,000 UGX
  1. Riding Camels & Donkeys

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre offers camel and donkey and camel rides.

These activities are very popular for families or visitors with children.

Children find riding on the back of a camel or donkey thrilling. Their parents and other visitors can join them in this fun activity.

  1. Boat ride

Since Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is situated on the shore of the largest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria, you also take a relaxing and exciting boat cruise.

You admire the natural beauty of the lake and its islands.

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre Volunteer Programs

UWEC accepts applications from those who are interested in volunteering.

All nationalities are welcome to submit applications.

Volunteering is aimed to teach you how to freely engage with animals and understand their emotions and behaviors.

You participate in tasks such as animal feeding, research, cleaning animal cages, and guiding visitors.The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre charges:

  • 2,500 USD for 1 month volunteer program
  • 650 USD for 1 week volunteer program

The cost covers accommodation, food, boat excursions to Islands around Lake Victoria and airport transfer.

You will be accommodated in one of the UWEC Bandas, and food will be served at the on-site restaurant. The cost of volunteering at UWEC does not include travel and personal insurance.

You must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the six killer diseases and Hepatitis A&B. You must also test for Tuberculosis.

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre Working Hours

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. We suggest visiting the centre early in the morning or late afternoon (around 4 pm).

The animals are most active in the early morning and late afternoon. This is also the time when the animals are fed by the caretakers.

You Can Donate To Uganda Wildlife Education Centre

As a conservationist or previous visitor, you may contribute to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in several ways.

The best way to support the Centre is to take a tour of the zoo and participate in the center’s various experiential activities we discussed earlier.

Most of the money collected at the entry is used for maintenance, development and conservation works.

You can also support the centre is by joining the Animal Parents Program. Under this program, you can opt to sponsor one of the animals for a period of time. You provide the funds required to feed and treat the animal.

Other Places You Can Visit In Entebbe City

  • Mabamba Swamp For Shoebills Bird Watching
  • Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Lake Victoria
  • Uganda Reptile Village
  • Entebbe Botanical Gardens
Best Places To Stay/Hotels Near Uganda Wildlife Education Center
  • Hotel No.5 Entebbe
  • The Boma Hotel Entebbe
  • Lake Victoria Serena Resort & Spa
  • 2 Friends Beach Hotel Entebbe
  • Airport Guest House
  • Karibu Guest House Entebbe
  • Protea Hotel By Marriot Entebbe
  • Papyrus Guest House Entebbe
  • Lake Victoria Hotel Entebbe
  • Lake Heights Hotel Entebbe

Frequently asked questions;