Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary: Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is safe haven for rescued chimpanzees in Uganda. The sanctuary is located on Ngamba Island within Lake Victoria. It is approximately 23 kilometers south-east of Entebbe city. The northern part of the island is mainly flat and rises gently to an altitude of approximately 3800 feet above sea level to the south. 10% of  Ngamba island is covered by a large forest.

A trail system was built prior to the arrival of chimpanzees on the island in October 1998. The trails span from east to west and north to south thus creating 50 by 50 blocks. The island provides a perfect secondary forest habitat for the chimpanzees and other wildlife species that inhabit the island such as; fruit bats, spiders, monitor lizards, otters and fish eagles to mention but a few.

Tourists visiting Ngamba Island have the opportunity to spend an entire day with chimpanzees at the sanctuary. You will get to watch them play, feed them and learn more about chimpanzees.

The sanctuary is 100 acres of land out of which 98 acres are a forested part of the sanctuary set aside for the chimpanzees to roam throughout the day. It is a perfect destination to visit upon your arrival at Entebbe international airport. Visitors can also combine a visit to Ngamba Island Sanctuary with a short tour at the zoo given that you can always take a boat from the docking area at the zoo to the sanctuary.

Ngamba Island sanctuary was gazetted as a wildlife sanctuary in 1998 to protect chimpanzees that have been rescued from poachers. The chimpanzees are taken in by the sanctuary and treated especially for those that have been hurt/ wounded.

The chimpanzee sanctuary is the only one of its kind in Uganda. It is a non-government organization and is under the management of the Chimpanzees Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) in partnership with Uganda Tourism Board and Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.

Ngamba Island Sanctuary is home to about 50 orphaned Chimpanzees that have been rescued from illegal pet and bush meat trade. Although the rescued chimpanzees are brought to the sanctuary traumatized, they 60 years.

The chimpanzees at the sanctuary are fed regularly and their diet is supplemented multiple times per day much to the delight of visitors who get a chance to observe the feeding process from a viewing platform.

What is really interesting about Ngamba Island sanctuary is that the chimpanzees also have the freedom to stay in the nearby forests or return to nighttime shelters where they can build their nests and receive an evening meal.

The main goals of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary are;

  • To provide a safe home for rescued chimpanzees while also caring for the environment and other wildlife on the island.
  • To provide high quality educational experience for visitors.
  • To benefit local communities living on the island.

The sanctuary employees 22 care takers, veterinarians, volunteers and island staff who look after the chimpanzees all around the clock. The sanctuary heavily relies on the donations from visitors and wildlife conservation agencies in order to run its day to day operations smoothly.

Activities offered at the Sanctuary.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary offers visitors half and full day tours. Visitors will have to take a speedboat or motorized canoe to the sanctuary and get a chance to view chimpanzees feeding. The sanctuary provides boat transfers to the sanctuary and these leave the dock at Entebbe zoo by 9am every morning and 12:45pm every evening.

Upon arrival at the sanctuary, visitors are taken to the visitor’s center where you will be introduced to the project, island and sanctuary’s history as well as the challenges they are facing. Visitors are then taken to the viewing platform where you will get to watch the care givers feed the chimpanzees.

Besides spending the day with chimpanzees at the sanctuary, visitors can also engage in other activities like birding, swimming, wildlife viewing, shopping at the island gift shop and visit a neighboring fishing village.

The sanctuary also offers sunset cruises for overnight guests. You will enjoy the unique view of fishermen casting their nets in the lake and other birdlife within and the lake.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Accommodation at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Tourists visiting the sanctuary can spend an overnight at Ngamba Eco Lodge. The lodge comes with full amenities including electricity, bathrooms, hot water showers and a private deck. The sanctuary also has a student camp which is suitable for student visitors.

Getting to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary can be accessed from Entebbe International airport or even from Kampala capital city. The sanctuary is situated approximately 23 kilometers from Entebbe and about 51 kilometers from Kampala. Once you arrive at the docking area which is next to Entebbe zoo, you can take a speedboat to Ngamba Island which takes about 45-50 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a traditional motorized canoe which takes approximately 90 minutes. The sanctuary can also accessed by air which is approximately 20 minutes from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi air strip.

Conclusion: Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary is a place worth visiting during your safari in Uganda.

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