Do you enjoy interacting with chimpanzees? Would you like to do something different on your next safari in Uganda? Why not visit Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, a renowned project of Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, a body of national and international conservation personalities led by famous Jane Goodall. The project is intended to develop and implement a long term strategy for chimpanzee conservation and their habitat, with the immediate purpose of establishing a chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria. The Island ensures care and welfare of entrusted chimpanzees while conserving the eco system of Island.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is situated about 23 kilometers on Lake Victoria away from Entebbe and it is a 45 minute boat ride. Ngamba Island offers refuge to almost 49 orphaned chimpanzees, not just from Uganda but also across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Island covers about 100 acres of land with much of it being dedicated to the orphaned chimps. The unfortunate bit of it, these chimpanzees can not easily be taken back to the natural habitat. They are now acclimatized to the conditions within Ngamba Island, they know where to eat from and even return to place where they spend their night from and tourists can view them while they are fed in the course of the day. For tourists, there is probably no comparison to view the chimps in the natural habitat like Kibale where they still roam freely. Despite that, Ngamba Island remains a worthwhile experience for tourists since they can explore their daily behavior till that time when they are fed.
Tourism activities in Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary
Ngamba trail/chimpanzee walk: This trail takes you through the forest where you will explore several species of wildlife like chimpanzees. The trail involves exploring the daily behaviors of the chimpanzee-the way they hunt, eat and others. It is an incredible moment to encounter these orphaned chimpanzees with their care takers. They have freedom to go back into the island rain forest just after being fed and they know the time of going back for the second part of their feeding in the course of the day. Some of them sleep in the forest as others choose to stay in cages. Before setting off for the trail walk, a short briefing will be conducted for visitors concerning the sanctuary, chimpanzees and reasons why the island sanctuary was founded for the orphaned chimpanzees.
This Chimpanzee walk requires tourists to take vaccination against Hepatitis A and B, Measles, Meningococcal meningitis, polio, tetanus, yellow fever and TB test. Only persons above 18 years are allowed to go for chimpanzee walk and the maximum is 65 years. The walk costs $400 per tourist. You are also required to have a T-shirt, sweater, hats, light shoes, rain jackets, sunglasses and camera.
Care giver for a day: This is one of the rare programs where tourists are given a chance to experience the process of chimpanzee life in a full day with Chimpanzee caregiver. It involves helping the care givers with preparation of the chimpanzees’ food and feeding. You will also engage in medical check ups, research and monitoring, preparing the holding area for the chimps and administration work where you will take note of chimpanzee records especially the stories for that particular day. The program is intended to help assist visitors to understand and embrace what it means by looking after the orphaned chimpanzees as well as raising money for their well fare. As a care giver of the day, you have high chances of meeting face to face with the chimpanzees of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
Infant integration program: The chimpanzees at Ngamba Island Sanctuary stay in one community and therefore the new ones also need to be integrated into the group. The integration methods have been successful as many chimpanzees have accepted to live harmoniously in the same habitat. The integration process depends on several factors like age, sex, level of trauma experienced and the time spent in captivity prior joining the sanctuary. The integration involves three stages;
- Familiarizing the new chimpanzee to the new habitat in the indoor facility.
- Getting them integrated with others in smaller groups in the out side enclosure.
- Integrating the chimpanzees with the major group in the forest.
Visitors who get into Ngamba get opportunity to engage in the outside enclosure integration. Come and be part of the team going into the enclosure with infants, while there you will be in position to offer them support by holding them and nurture them to forest life. There will be groups of chimpanzees aged 9 and you will have a close contact with them.
Fishing: While at Ngamba Island, never miss one of the exciting moments during half or full day on Lake Victoria. There are well trained skippers who will take through this experience and you will really enjoy your safari to this fresh water body. The sport fishing experience on Nile perch has widely increased and tourists are free to choose either a day or week’s time guided lecture on fishing adventures. The adventure takes about four to eight hours of remarkable personalized experiences in life.
In conclusion, Ngamba Island Sanctuary offers refuge to orphaned chimpanzees and your visit to this area is worth appreciating as it is one way of supporting their conservation. Come and participate in one or two activities in the island and have memorable experiences in your life.