Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary: Prices, Costs, Best time to Visit, How to book and travel Guide
Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the few places sheltering chimpanzees in Uganda and is surrounded by the calm waters of Lake Victoria-largest freshwater Lake in Africa. This outstanding Sanctuary is a haven to at least 50 orphaned chimpanzees retrieved and rescued from poachers across East African region. Majority of the chimpanzee here were rescued by Uganda Wildlife Authority from wire snares with little hope of surviving and therefore found home at the Sanctuary and as it stands now, they are unlikely to survive reintroduction into the wild.
History of establishment of Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary was established in 1998 by the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (Chimpanzee Trust), a Non-Governmental Organization that is now in-charge of all aspects of the significant site. This Ecotourism Site was set up to care for the orphaned chimpanzees but also shelters other numerous wildlife and bird species as you will find out in this article.
Size of Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary
This Ecotourism site extends for over 100 acres of which 95 acres are typically natural rainforest and separated from the accommodation facilities by an electric fence, hence giving the Great Apes the opportunity of freely roaming and foraging in their natural environment without the feeling of being confined. They freely roam through the forest and only emerge twice a day-11am as well as 2:30pm for feeding hence visitors can view and also take part in feeding them at the raised platform.
The northern side of Ngamba Island is mainly flat but the altitude gently rises to 1158 meters above sea level in the southern part.
Much as these chimpanzees depend on the 50 vegetation types for food, their diet is usually supplemented and visitors get a chance to feed or observe them feeding at the viewing platform. 95% of the Island is forested with patches of grassland extending for about 5% of the entire Island.
This Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located within Ngamba Island, one of the Koome islands surrounded by Lake Victoria. Other smaller and semi-inhabited Islands that form part of the Koome group is Islands include Damba, Nsazi, Bulago and Kiimi Islands. It is approximately 23 kilometers/14 miles by boat south-east of the Town of Entebbe
Things to see in Ngamba Sanctuary
Chimpanzees are the main and most obvious attractions you will see in Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary but visitors should also expect to see otters, snakes, fruits bats, monitor lizards and sometimes crocodiles as well as Hippos.
There are over 120 bird species that call the verdant Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary home and these include weaver birds, African fish eagles, spotted wood kingfishers, cormorants, Egyptian goose, black-headed weavers, to mention but a few.
Things to do in Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Chimpanzee viewing and feeding
Chimpanzee viewing and feeding is normally done at the raised platform and the professional guides offer detailed information on chimpanzee behavior, individual personalities and history during this viewing process.
Bird watching in this Ecotourism Site is conducted through guided walks around the shores, boat cruises and guided forest walks with possibility of encountering the African fish eagles, spotted wood kingfishers and many others.
Half and full day fishing trips are organized for Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary visitors with professional fishing guides and commonly caught-species are Nile Perch- the largest fish species in Lake Victoria.
Besides the usual boat rides that connect visitors from Entebbe Dock to Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary, you can take part in awe-inspiring sunrise and sunset cruises with views of fishermen casting their nests, the raw fishing villages and a chance to cross on both northern and southern hemispheres.
Primate fanatics interested in volunteering can be offered the opportunity at Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary, conducted in form of one-week and four weeks program. Participants can offer a helping hand in health, care as well as welfare as a way of raising awareness on the significance of these Great Apes that are surprisingly our closest relatives.
Best time to visit
The Ecotourism Site is open throughout the year. Its always perfect time to visit this amazing place.
Where to stay at Ngamba Sanctuary
Ngamba Island Tented Camp is the main (only) place of stay within the Chimpanzee Sanctuary, boasting of four Safari Tents directly overlooking the calm waters of Lake Victoria. Each of these Tents sits on a raised wooden platform and offers en-suite bathrooms, is solar-powered for lighting and heating.
How to get to Ngamba
All visitors of the Sanctuary arrive by water transport-either speed boat that takes 45-50 minutes or the motorized canoes that takes up to one and a half hours from the Entebbe Dock (close to Uganda Wildlife Education Center).