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Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary establishment in 1998 was a timely rescue to the lives of the Chimpanzees that were so threatened by rampant poaching and deforestation then. Chimpanzees were not only an item in the pets’ markets but were also hunted for meat while many were left homeless due to human encroachment on their habitat. This left a great toll on their overall population not only in Uganda but also in the neighboring countries of DR Congo, Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary was opened as a collection and recovering center for the orphaned chimpanzees that were rescued from the poachers and those that were left with no habitat after numerous incidences of human-wildlife conflicts. A day trip to see these Chimpanzees at the island can be arranged.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is found in Lake Victoria close to Entebbe International airport and is home to over 49 Chimpanzees. It lies on 100 acres of which 90% is forest and the remaining 10% is some patch of grassland at its periphery/outskirts. It is such a suitable environment for the Chimpanzees’ survival although it is not large enough to allow their multiplication. The Chimpanzees at Ngamba Island live a semi-wild life as they spend most of the day in the forest, where they are free to remain at night or sleep in an enclosure located away from it.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary is a non-profit project run by Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust(CSWCT). Initially, it was all about the care and protection of the rescued Chimpanzees but it has since expanded to include Chimpanzee conservation and other wildlife management for sustainable development. Community education out reaches and an elaborative educational experience for visitors about the lives of Chimpanzees and their conservation have been pioneered.
Although it can’t be matched with a Chimpanzee trekking adventure in the wild, seeing Chimpanzees at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary for the first time is nonetheless a fascinating and memorable experience. You will certainly love the way the caregivers passionately talk about these Chimpanzees, their ecology and behaviors. The care givers are a dedicated team of highly trained local and international staff in charge of the daily monitoring of these Chimpanzees. From the daily interactions, they have developed a strong bond with these animals and can individually identify with them.
Viewing Chimpanzees at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
At Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Chimpanzees are viewed from the comfort of a viewing platform but not necessarily walking into their forest. Viewing times have to correspond with the feeding sessions. Chimpanzees spend most of their time in the forest and they will only come out to the grassland area(their feeding area) during times for feeding so it might be difficult to see them outside the feeding times. Watching these chimpanzees feed is so intriguing and with such an up-close encounter, you are able to easily notice the human nature in them. Remember they share 98.7% DNA as humans. They tend to stand/walk on 2 limbs, clap to attract the attention of the caregivers or even raise up the hands while begging for more food/fruits and many other amazing acts.
Why you should visit Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Your tour to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is viewed as a nice gesture and so much appreciated. Take one of our tours to Ngamba Chimpanzee Island and you will have contributed to the welfare of our cousins – the Chimpanzees with whom we share 98.7% DNA. The biggest percentage of a fee paid to visit these Chimpanzees goes to their well-being and protection. Ngamba Island is basically visited to witness/experience the caregiving of these orphaned and rescued Chimpanzees. Alongside the caregiving ceremony/activity, you will enjoy the boat cruise, the serenity of Lake Victoria, spectacular scenery, the lively birds and other wildlife at the lake shores some of which include the monitor lizards, otters, fruit bats, fish eagles and the spiders. The visits can be half day, full day or more days. You might want to check on our Day Tour to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
Chimpanzee feeding sessions at Ngamba Island
The Chimpanzees’ forest diet is supplemented by fruits and vegetables every day. There are 2 Chimpanzee feeding sessions at Ngamba Sanctuary which run in the morning at 9.am and in the afternoon at 3.pm. All half day tours to the island align with the respective feeding sessions. It therefore requires all visitors for the respective feeding sessions to leave Entebbe an hour before the scheduled feeding times. With the half day tour, a visitor is free to choose the morning or the afternoon session both of which are subject to availability. For the morning session, we have to be at Entebbe beach at 7.45am, the boat leaves at 8.00am and returns at 12.pm. The afternoon boat leaves at 12.pm and returns at 5.30pm or 6.pm. For all our tours to Ngamba Island (Half day tour or Full day tour), we make pick-up arrangements from your preferred location or hotel if you have no means of reaching Entebbe to catch the boat to the island.
Is there an age limit for visits to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary?
There is no age limit. Even families with children below 12 years can visit Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary unlike in the known Chimpanzee trekking spots of Kibale forest park, Kalinzu forest, Kyambura Gorge and Budongo Forest Reserve where the visitor’s minimum age is strictly 12. Here at Ngamba and the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, it is safe to have children since there are well established viewing platforms outside the fenced areas.
How to reach Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
The cheapest and most recommended way to reach Ngamba island is by boat though charter flights from Kajjansi airstrip can also be arranged. On a boat, it takes between 45 minutes and an hour to reach Ngamba Island. The main departure point is at waterfront beach, Entebbe near the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre(UWEC). Depending on one’s budget and the number of people, there are boats of different capacities. The higher the number of people, the lower the transportation costs and vice versa.
Other things to do at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Apart from the viewing of Chimpanzees during their complementary feeding sessions, there are numerous activities to engage in at Ngamba Island. They are the forest walk with the chimpanzees, Chimpanzee caregiving for the day experience and infant chimpanzee integration experience. Others are bird watching, sunset cruises, sport fishing and cultural experience from the local fishermen at the neighboring fishing villages.
Accommodation at Ngamba Island
If not camping with own tent, the only accommodation facility at the sanctuary is Ngamba Eco-lodge located right facing the lake. You can enjoy the splendor of Lake Victoria even from the comfort of your room.
Other Chimpanzee encounters and experiences in Uganda/Rwanda
• Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda
• Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda
• Kyambura Gorge Chimp trekking experience
• Kalinzu forest Chimpanzee trekking
• Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest
• Chimpanzee habituation experience
Our Chimpanzee tours in Uganda/Rwanda
• 1 Day Ngamba Island Chimpanzee excursion
. Full day tour of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
• 2 Days Kibale Chimpanzee trekking
• 3 Days Kibale forest Chimpanzees
• 3 Days Queen Elizabeth Chimpanzees and wildlife safari
• 3 Days Kibale Chimpanzees and Queen Elizabeth tour
. 3 Days Kibale Chimpanzees and Semliki hot springs tour
• 3 Days Murchison falls and Budongo forest Chimps
• 2 Days Budongo Chimps and top of Murchison falls tour
• 2 Days Chimps and canopy walk in Nyungwe forest, Rwanda
• 5 Days Uganda Gorillas and Chimpanzees.
Note: Our longer trips too, are tailored to include Chimpanzee tour experiences.