Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the most prominent and arguably the best place in Africa which offers the best opportunity to observe Chimpanzee behavior and interaction up close. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a rainforest Island sanctuary situated on Lake Victoria and it is part of the Koome group of islands located in Lake Victoria, approximately 23km southeast of the city of Entebbe near the Equator in Uganda.
This Sanctuary was founded in 1998 and dedicated to the care of orphaned Eastern chimpanzees which were rescued from various parts of East Africa by the Uganda Wildlife Authority from poachers who used to earn money by selling the chimps as pets it is managed by a non-profit organization known as the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust along with other few organizations. Ngamba Island chimpanzee Sanctuary is as well-known as Chimp Island covers an area of approximately 100 Acres which acts as a natural environment and source of food for the chimpanzees. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is the top chimpanzee viewing destination mainly because all chimpanzees in this sanctuary are habituated to visitors and human interaction and the sanctuary is habited with over 52 human-friendly chimpanzees. This offers an amazing experience where tourists get to learn more about chimpanzees.
How to get to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary can easily be accessed by both water transport and air transport from Entebbe;
By water Transport
One needs to take a speed boat from the dock in Entebbe at the Riverfront beach near the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and this takes approximately 1 hour.
Tourists can as well using a traditional motorized Canoe which takes approximately 2 hours.
By Air Transport
In case one prefers using scheduled chartered flights by Aerolink, you can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip which takes approximately 20 minutes. Using domestic flights is very expensive compared to using a speed boat.
In order to avoid any problems, it is better to consult a trusted tour company like Enjoy Safaris Africa to make boat reservations or directly contact Ngamba Reservation offices.
Tourist attractions in Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary is home to over 52 habituated and rescued chimpanzees which are extremely nice and human-friendly because they are well-trained. Chimpanzees are amazing great apes that live in tropical rainforests, these great apes share 98.5% DNA with humans that’s why they are referred to as human’s closest cousins. Chimpanzees live in communities of about 18 and above members led by a dominant Alpha male. Chimpanzees in this island sanctuary are protected behind a wire fence and they are fascinating to watch as they come out of the forest for their feeding session.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary hosts a vast number of over 150 recorded water and forest bird species including spotted neck Kingfisher, shoe bill stork, Comrades, African eagles, Eaglets, and weaver birds. Other notable birds include goose, grey crested cranes, Shelley’s crimson wing, great blue Turaco, marabou stork and African green broadbill.
Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary to a vast number of wildlife that inhabits the rain forest including mammals like fruit bats, spiders, fish eagles, spotted necked otters, marsh mongoose, and genet cats. This chimp island also hosts reptiles like the Nile monitor lizards which can be observed during forest nature walks in the sanctuary.
Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary boosts Lake Victoria which is famously known as Africa’s largest lake and one of the greatest lakes in the whole world. This sanctuary is situated on Lake Victoria which is renowned for its striking beauty. Tourists can explore Lake Victoria on a boat cruise where they can have photographic opportunities of the lake.
There are cultural performances organized in the night by the bonfire at Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary where tourists are entertained by the local people through performing African traditional songs and dances, drumming, storytelling as well as interacting with the locals around the sanctuary which offers a memorable cultural experience.
Activities done at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Chimpanzee caregiving experience
This experience lasts for several weeks and it is designed for tourists who are interested learning more about the chimpanzees however before encountering the chimpanzees, tourist undergo through different medical tests and clearance to be qualified for this program. This program involves gathering scientific data about the chimpanzees, preparing food for the chimpanzees, feeding them, cleaning their sleeping facilities, providing medical care to the chimps and monitoring their behavior which a wonderful wildlife experience as you get to know about the chimpanzees.
Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary hosts a variety of over 150 bird species including water birds which can be observed on the shores of Lake Victoria and forest birds which can be observed in the rain forest. Some of the notable birds include spotted neck King fisher, shoe bill stork, Comrades, African eagle, Eaglets, weaver bird, grey crested cranes, Shelley’s crimson wing, great blue Turaco, marabou stork and African green broadbill.
Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary offers an amazing cultural experience where tourist get to know more about the traditional life style of the Ugandans through cultural performances organized in the night by the bonfire which involves performing African traditional songs and dances, drumming, storytelling as well as interacting with the locals around the sanctuary which offers a memorable cultural experience.
There is a forest trail in this Chimp Island which tourists follow during their walk and it offers an opportunity for the tourist to encounter juvenile chimpanzees which you are allowed to play with as well as carrying them, view a few wildlife including spot necked otters, marsh mongoose and reptiles like the Nile monitor lizards. Through nature walks, tourists can learn more about the flora and fauna found in the rainforest on this sanctuary.
In the evening, tourists can go for a sunset cruise on Lake Victoria while in Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary. Sunset cruises offer you an opportunity to explore Lake Victoria as you witness the sunset and observe the fishing villages and fishermen casting their nets into the lake.
Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary is strategically located on Lake Victoria which offers exceptional fishing expeditions for a full day or half day and some of the most common fish species caught include Tilapia and Nile perch.
Accommodations in Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary has excellent accommodation options with good services, employees, and modest restaurants are in a safe natural environment, comfortable tents and cottages are build close to the shores of Lake Victoria. Below are the accommodations;
Ngamba Eco Lodge, Ngamba Island Tented Camp, One Minute South, Cwezi by the Lake, Le Feve Beach Hotel and Safaris Uganda, Pineapple Bay Resort, ViaVia Entebbe, Garuga Resort Beach Hotel, Country Lake Resort Limited, Kaz Garden Cottages and many more.
Best time to visit Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is open for tourist whole year round however the best time to visit this chimp island is during the dry season between June to August and December to February which increases the wildlife viewing and birding opportunities.
Cost of a tour at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
The cost of touring Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is determined by the number of tourists and the cost covers a round trip boat ride, entrance fee, and chimpanzee viewing fee. All payments can be cleared at the Ngamba reservation office or through a trusted tour company. Below are the standard costs of a tour of the Chimp Island
- When it is one person, he/she pays $365
- When they are two people, they pay $188 each
- However, children below 5 years do not pay