The Entebbe Zoo is the indigenous name that it has continued to be called from time immemorial. Open in 1952 by the colonial government, as a centre for the wild animals that were found; sick, orphaned, injured or recovered from illegal trade. The zoo has stood the taste of time.
By 1956, it had advanced into an animal orphanage, hand raising orphaned animals. And With time as the collection grew bigger, coupled with growing public interest in the animals, a zoo was created.
In the 1960s, the zoo gradually continued to evolve into a profound traditional zoo after taking on extra roles - particularly keeping the animals as attractions, and became famously known as the Entebbe Zoo. Non-indigenous species, including bears and tigers were introduced at the time.
Come the '70s, Entebbe zoo was no exception to mismanagement, destruction and neglect through the turbulent times of Ugandan history. There was solemn infrastructure damage and loss of animals which went on through the '80s to the early '90s.
A timely saviour - a new government at the time, transformed it into an institution to educate Ugandans about the benefits of conserving the country's fauna and flora.
In 1994, It took on a new name; the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), under new management and has since been transformed into one of Uganda's lively tourist attractions and one of the best facilities in Africa for environmental education and tourism.
It is under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and taken care of by the UWEC Trust.
I will carefully continue to refer to it as the 'Entebbe zoo' since it's easy to remember, short and the name that many still identify it with.
Seated at the shores of Lake Victoria, near Entebbe town, its landscape characterised by the beauty of the flora and fauna. Entebbe zoo offers that experience of fascination in the wilderness with a natural realistic splendour. It truly and hastily defines Uganda - 'gifted by nature!
The tropical ambience beside the lake, the Rhinos, the zebras, the lions, the giraffes, the elephants, the buffalos, the collection of snakes and other reptiles (many you will not have seen before), the Nile crocodiles ... - At UWEC you will unearth a wonderful collection of animals and birds, well into their hundreds, and all well cared for in the best interest of world conservation.
Other highlights consist of; the giant forest hog, Eland, water buck, impala, the Ugandan kob, bush pig, white rhino, spotted hyena, olive monkey, red tailed monkey, grey checked mangabey - all of which are kept in naturalistic out door enclosures and animal houses with secure designs for your safety.
You will also have chance to see just some ...and I say 'just some' of Uganda's over 1050 bird species - remember Uganda is home to nearly 11% of the entire world bird collection. At 1061 species, It has more birds than the whole of Europe (1000 species).
With all these to see, you will certainly have a busy morning ... and which you could also quite easily combine with a visit to the chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria to see these wonderful creatures and giving you chance to experience the natural feel of a thrilling Ugandan boat ride.
Entebbe zoo exceptionally offers numerous activities addressing all ages - The kids will certainly love it!
The beauty is; you don't even have to worry about which day of the week the zoo is open. It is open 7 days a week (9am to 6pm) including public holidays. Be sure to be there - latest 5:30pm for the last admission.
The paths and trails are clearly well marked for your guidance and as a plus, if you have always wanted to ride the 'ships of the desert', this is your prospect to try out a ride on the camel. The donkeys are usually on standby too...
With good facilities, the centre exhibits attractive displays combined with comprehensive tourist information. The restaurant at the zoo will take care of your quick meal in time for your tour. Don't forget to carry some loose cash; the crafts at the crafts shop are amazing!
They also have exciting programs on offer; the long stay volunteer program, behind the scenes program, keeper for the day program, Veterinarian for a day program and the chimpanzee close-up program, which programs are inspiring to all ages.
Entebbe zoo is excitingly full of mystery for you to explore and discover. Make it part of your Ugandan Vacation and you will love it.
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