Ngamba Islands is part of the Koome group of islands located on lake Victoria 23km south of Entebbe, Uganda. This is where Jane Goodall set up a chimpanzee sanctuary for orphaned and rescued chimpanzees.
The Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary consists of approximately 100acres. Of these 98 acres have been kept forested for the chimpanzees. These primates are separated from the visitors area by an electric fence.
Ngamba Islands officially opened to visitors in 1999 currently it is home to 40 orphaned chimpanzees almost half of which have been confiscated and brought to the islands since its opening.
The Chimpanzee Sanctuary
This island is surrounded by the peaceful waters of Lake Victoria. The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to 48 orphaned chimps rescued from throughout Uganda. For those who love primate tours, the sanctuary is the ultimate destination to see chimpanzees in Uganda.
Island facilities offer day and overnight visitors an exceptional opportunity to closely observe and interact with these fascinating great apes in this unique setting. So after securing your booking, set off for this island and make sure that by 9am, you are at water front waiting to go to Ngamba Island with a speed boat such that by 10 am you are already there. This island is known for chimpanzees which were rescued from poachers.
At the sanctuary, the chimpanzees are enclosed in the 95 acres with a fence and remaining five acres are for administration. According to the care taker, they started with 19 chimpanzees and now they are 47 chimpanzees. Females are injected implants to prevent them from breeding. This is because the land is small and food is not enough that’s why besides the natural food in the forest, they are fed on fruits and vegetables by cares takers like thrice a day.
You will participate in the feeding sessions of these primates where they come down from the forest and it is at this time that you will view them at length. Only 25 visitors are allowed per session, the first one starts at 11:00am and the second starts at 2:30 pm.
Besides chimpanzees, there are so many other attractions which make the place unique. The island is gifted with 120 species of birds like weaver birds, comerands, and Egyptian goose. On top of birds, there is a big monitor lizard around the compound, it comes and bask in the sun shine.
The island is small and the chimpanzees are increasing in number, so there is a plan of transferring some chimpanzees to Murchison falls National Park. Since these primates were rescued from poachers, every chimpanzee here at Ngamba Island has history of where it was rescued, and they are named according to such situations.
By this time you will have exhausted everything you would like to know about this island. You will jump on to the boat and return to the water front in Entebbe where you will jump on to your car and drive back. This will mark the end of this one day self-drive trip to Ngamba Island Island Chimpanzee sanctuary.
Activities at Chimpanzee island sanctuary:
Chimpanzee viewing – fenced and viewers stand on the raised plat form for clear seeing and excellent photographing.
Forest walks with the chimps – The Forest Walk experience offers you an opportunity to join a group of infant chimpanzees on a one hour walk through their forest habitat, either in the late afternoon or very early morning.
Life on the islands
You can view any or both of the two -day time chimpanzee feedings from the visitor’s platform, and enjoy unlimited use of the other island facilities. Optional activities includes opportunities to observe the islands 154 recorded birds, viewing of a local fishing village, a sunset cruise to be arranged in advance or simply relax at your tents private deck enjoying a memorable African sunset as thousands of bats make their flight around the Island.
Forest walks with the chimpanzees
The forest walk experience gives you an opportunity to join a group of infant chimpanzees on a one hour walk through their forest habitat, either in the late afternoon or early morning. Before you are allowed to join this primate safari experience, you must posses a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
This is a unique program where visitors get the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a chimpanzee caregiver by being care givers themselves! As a chimp care giver you will participate in preparing their food and feeding them. You can assist the staff with any activities happening at the sanctuary that day medical checkups, research and monitoring, preparing the holding areas for the chimps and other activities. The staff will work with you to show you what is involved in taking care of these animals, how individual they are and what makes them so special.
The forest walk and caregiver activities may only be done as an addition to the Ngamba Island overnight experience and has age restrictions and a special medical requirement that need to be adhered to.
Chimpanzee Care giving experience for the day – Care giving is a unique program where our visitors get the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a Chimpanzee Caregiver by being Caregivers themselves! As a chimp caregiver, you will get the exciting opportunity to not only view the chimps feeding, but to participate in preparing their food and feeding them.
Birding- the sanctuary is endowed with a variety of birds to see include common sand piper, water thicknee, Spur winged Lap wing, Hammer Kop, Black headed Heron among others.
Infant chimpanzees Integration Program -It is a unique program that provides opportunity for visitors to participate in the integration of the infant chimps to the bigger individuals and group at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Visit http://ngambaisland.org for more information and bookings to Ngamba Island.
Where to Stay
For those who wish to have an overnight experience, accommodation on the Island comprise of just 4 tents, all en suite, on wooden platforms with private tents decks overlooking lake Victoria.
The camp has been built with strict ecological guidelines of CSWCT with due care to the fragile nature of the environment, lighting is solar. Each tent has splendid view of the lake and is well appointed, featuring a bush shower and ecotoilet.
Meals are substantial with several tasty courses for dinner and local specialties such as fresh fish from the lake when possible, beverages and cold drinks are available at all times. Ngamba Islands is open all year round and is ideal to tag along on to the end of any Uganda safari.