Have you ever wondered why people visit zoos or wildlife centers to see animals? I recently had a thought-provoking conversation with a colleague about this topic. We both agreed that while it might not be our first choice of activity, there’s something exciting about witnessing rare creatures up close in their natural habitat. This belief was reinforced when I stumbled upon an Instagram post of a couple /family having breakfast near a group of giraffes in Tanzania. The tranquility, the majestic animals, and the stunning scenery left me in awe.
A few months later, a close friend of mine visited the CTC conservation center that was taking shape, already home to some fascinating animals. I was curious about what it would be like to visit such a place. I started doing my research on what it would take me to get to this place and with the costs involved to get here.
In mid-September 2023, I decided to satisfy my curiosity by visiting this new found treasure known as CTC Conservation Center, nestled a few miles away from Kampala along the Masaka road in Mpigi. While the center wasn’t officially open to the public at that time, I managed to secure an appointment through the Director.
On the day of our visit, I invited a colleague to join me, and we embarked on a journey that took about one and a half hours by road. The journey was slightly rough, so we were advised to bring a comfortable vehicle or preferably a 4WD. As we arrived, we noticed that the place was still under construction, with new lodges and accommodation facilities taking shape.
Around 2:30 pm, we checked in and were greeted by our knowledgeable guide, who also happened to be an experienced wildlife handler. Our tour was estimated to last about 2 to 3 hours, during which we would encounter a variety of animals, including zebras, lions, crocodiles, and hyenas.
One of the highlights of our visit was the zebra feeding activity, set against the backdrop of breathtaking hillside views – such a truly captivating sight. The wildlife center is in the process of expanding its boundaries to accommodate more animals and visitors by the end of the year. We also had the unique opportunity to interact with lions, although close contact was only allowed with a friendly lion cub that had been trained to be around humans. The other lions remained at a safe distance – a reminder that they are, after all, wild animals.
Another unforgettable experience was encountering the largest Nile Crocodile, which had recently been relocated from a local village in Uganda after posing a threat to the villagers. This formidable creature was securely fenced in, with its young ones kept separately in their own space.
In summary, I was delighted to discover that our visit felt more like a VIP wildlife experience than a traditional zoo outing. We had the chance to interact with the animals, all while preserving the authenticity of the wildlife setting. If you’re considering a visit to this remarkable place, I recommend reaching out directly to CTC for an appointment. Keep in mind that it’s best to plan your visit on warmer days, as the roads are still undergoing maintenance. This hidden gem in Mpigi promises a unique wildlife adventure that you won’t soon forget.