Schimpansen-Trekking in Uganda

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary is located on Ngamba Island which is one of the nine islands of the Koome group of islands found in Lake Victoria. The Koome islands also include Kiimi, Nsazi, Koome, Bulago and Damba Islands. It is approximately 23 kilometers south-east of Entebbe on the coast of Uganda and is managed by Chimpanzee sanctuary and wild Conservation Trust (CSWCT). In the management of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary, there are more 6 Organizations that work with CSWCT which include Uganda wildlife Education Centre, New South Wales Zoological Park, Uganda wildlife Society, International fund of Animal welfare, Jane Goodall Institute, Born free foundation, and Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda.

It is divided into two main areas by an electric fence that keeps chimpanzees from humans, and the northern part of the island is generally flat, while the southern half of the island reaches an altitude of about 3800 feet above sea level, which is the highest point of the island. Ngamba island is also known as Chimp  Island. Founded in 1998, Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing habitats that are safe for orphaned chimpanzees in their natural habitat, allowing them to live healthy life under its management. There are at the moment 49 Chimpanzees living on Ngamba Island which have been rescued from the illegal pet and bushmeat traders. One of the major benefits of Ngamba Island is that it provides the Chimpanzees with a safe and semi-natural environment in which to recover and eventually flourish.

Things to do on Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

Chimpanzee experience

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

A chimpanzee trekking experience is the most popular activity on Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary. This takes place in the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary, where there are over 49 chimpanzees residing on the island. As a result, tourists and travelers are able to enjoy chimpanzee day-care activities as well as chimpanzee activities on the island.

Birding at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

Ngamba island is one of the best birding spots around Entebbe. The island inhabits over 140 bird species including Green Cuckoo, Grey Heron, Grey-crowned Crane, Gull-billed Tern, Hadada Ibis, Harmerkop, Little Egret, Little Stilt, White-faced Whistling Ducks, White-throated Bee Eaters, White-winged Terns, Winding Cistocolas, Wood Sandpipers, Woodland Kingfishers, Yellow-billed Kites, Black-headed Weavers, Yellow-billed Ducks, African Fish Eagles, Purple Swamphes, African Green Pigeons, African Jacanas, African Marsh Harriers, African Pigmy Goose, Black Crake, Black Herons, Black Crake, Black Heron. Long-tailed Cormorant, Long-toed Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Pink-backed Pelican, Pin-tailed Whyda, Purple Heron, Red-eyed Dove, Red-headed Lovebird, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Speckled Mousebird, Spur-wing Goose, Spur-winged Lapwing, Swamp Flycatcher, Weavers’ Black Weavers, Village Weavers, Water Thicknee, Black-headed Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Blue Swallow, Blue-cheepwing, and Blue-bee eaters are some of the species we have seen in this area. The Ngamba trail offers a wide variety of these colorful flowers along the shores or in the forest.

Fishing in Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

Ngamba Island is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in Africa, and it is an ideal place for fishing with the most popular catches being the giant Nile perch, silverfish, and tilapia. It is a rewarding experience to fish in Lake Victoria and you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide and skilled fishermen who will provide you with all the relevant information about Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Lake Victoria as you are fishing. Additionally, you will get a number of rewarding experiences with your interaction with nature.

Volunteer Program at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

The volunteer program at Ngamba island can be either a one-week volunteer program or a four-week volunteer program where tourists directly contribute to the conservation of Chimpanzees.

One-week Vounteer Program at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

During the one-week volunteer program, you will have a chance to get experience with chimpanzee behaviour whereby you will learn in-depth about the threats of chimpanzees.

During the one week of volunteer activities at Ngamba Island, you will take part in the following activities: collecting behavioral data, entering the data, maintaining the island facilities, watching island wildlife, assisting with medical procedures, feeding chimpanzees, and preparing food for the chimpanzees.

Four-week Vounteer Program at Ngamba

This is a more comprehensive program than the one-week volunteer program at Ngamba where you will engage in a number of activities as part of your participation in this program.

Nature walks with Chimpanzees

As part of the Forest Walk experience, you will have the opportunity to join a group of infant chimpanzees in their forest habitat during their one-hour walk, either late in the afternoon or very early in the morning. Each walk in the forest is limited to a maximum of 4 guests, and all of them must be accompanied by trained staff in order to ensure your safety and enjoyment.

You will have direct contact with several chimpanzees ranging in age from 1 year to 8 years of age while in the company of several chimpanzees ranging in age from 1 year to 8 years of age. The instructions regarding clothing, cameras, glasses, and behaviour are very specific when signing up for this unique opportunity. There are chimpanzees that are very familiar with humans and will play-bite, climb on you, grab your glasses, and pull your hair, or even walk along holding your hand as they are used to human contact.

In order to participate in the forest, walk and caregiver activities on Ngamba Island, one must stay over on the island overnight as a supplement to the Ngamba Island overnight experience described above. Age restrictions and special medical requirements will apply, so those who participate must meet these requirements.

Sunset cruise on Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuaryIn order to take advantage of this unique experience, you can enjoy the unique sight of fishermen casting their nets, fishing villages winding down their day and of course the golden circular sight of nature’s eye. It is thrilling to know that you are crossing the globe from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere on the equator while you sip on cold drinks with your loved one in the midst of romantic bliss

Infant Integration Program

The infant integration program at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is an exciting program that offers visitors the chance to take part in the integration of infant chimpanzees into the bigger individuals and groups there. The Ngamba Island chimpanzees have been integrated into one community and it is a continuous process, so every time they receive a new chimpanzee, they undergo a process of integrating them to the group and integrating them into the community.

Currently, there are two infants that have come into the holding facility and are integrated into the holding area. They have only recently been introduced to the larger chimpanzees, and are slowly introducing the other smaller chimps to them as they slowly begin their integration from outside enclosures. In your role as a member of the team that goes out with the infants in the enclosure, you will be able to give them support by holding them as necessary, as they are introduced to the juveniles as they are introduced to them. After this stage of integration, they will be taken for a walk in the main forest in order to complete their integration.

In order to participate in the integration program, visitors will be allowed to attend two sessions a day, one each in the morning and one in the evening, each lasting one hour.

Boat Cruise on Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

After spending a long day at the Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary, you can take a boat cruise on Lake Victoria and see how chimpanzees interact with each other and the environment, then take a relaxing boat cruise on Lake Victoria where you will get to see a number of breath-taking views, such as the different bird species, mainly the water birds as they try to catch fish from the lake, as well as the different species of birds.

Chimpanzee Caregiving in Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary

As a participant in this unique program, tourists will be given the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a chimpanzee caregiver by being the caregivers themselves. As a chimp caregiver, you will be able to get the exciting experience of not only watching the chimps feeding but also helping to prepare their food and feed them yourself.

During your time at the sanctuary, you are welcome to assist the staff with any activities going on that day, such as medical checks, research and monitoring, preparing the holding areas for the chimps, etc. This is a new program designed to help our visitors understand and appreciate the amount of work involved in caring for our orphaned cousins on Ngamba Island, as well as raising funds for their welfare. In addition to showing, you all the things that are involved in taking care of these animals, the staff will also show you what makes them so special and what makes them so individual.

Getting to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Ngamba island can be reached by either taking a speed boat, Air or a ferry

By Speed Boat: One can take on a speed boat or a motorise canoe ride. It is a 45-minute speed boat ride from Entebbe to Ngamba Island, or a 90-minute motorized canoe ride from Nakiwogo Dock, and the chimpanzee sanctuary arranges the transfers for guests.

By Ferry: On can choose to board a ferry from Entebbe to Bugala and after reaching Bugala which is the main island. Then take on a taxi to Ngamba Island.

By Air: Getting to Ngamba Island by Air, one can book a charter flight by either Aerolink or Bar Aviation from Kajansi airstrip direct to Ngamba Island.

You must have a ticket to get into Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary, whichever method you use to enter, depending on which method you choose to take. You can either purchase the tickets at the Ngamba Island reservation office in Entebbe, or you can purchase them on-site at the island, or you can find a local tour operator who will assist you with the purchase.

Best Time to Visit Ngamba Island

The best time to visit Ngamba Chimpanzee Island is during the dry months of June to late October. In these months, there is much less chance of rain interrupting planned activities and there are more opportunities to observe wildlife around the island than during other months

Where to stay on Ngamba Island

Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary has one of the most recommended lodges in the area, the Ngamba Eco Lodge. This lodge is strategically located at the extreme edge of Lake Victoria, with stunning views of the lake, providing the ideal setting to relax after a day spent with the Chimpanzees at the Sanctuary. There are 4 beautiful and luxurious cottages at Ngamba Eco lodge, 5 single tents and 10 double tents, all of them well equipped with the top amenities, including electricity and clean bathrooms with hot water and cold water. A 3-course dinner is always served in the dining room at the Ngamba Eco lodge.

As far as the tents and cottages are concerned, they are very comfortable and safe. They come with everything one would need at night. There is a fully-stocked bar and restaurant which serves local and continental dishes. All staff members are trained in hospitality, and the lodge has a fully-stocked bar and restaurant.

The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary can be combined with a visit to Ssese Island excursion, a boat cruise on Lake Victoria, swimming, fishing, or visiting the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, amongst many other things.

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