Set on Lake Victoria, 23km off-shore from Entebbe mainland is a sanctuary, home to over 52 chimpanzees. Each chimpanzee at this beautiful island has got a special story. Most of the lucky chimpanzees at the sanctuary were saved from being destined for life as pets or in labs by heartless individuals. The chimpanzees were rescued by authorities or local people and brought to the sanctuary for care and rehabilitation.
The forested tropical island is almost 100 acres in size and boasts over 50 different vegetation species. Here, the chimpanzees are free to roam the forest, exploring their surrounding environment and foraging for food at leisure.
Adventure Consults runs two trips to Ngamba island every day, with the morning schedule departing Entebbe mainland at 0845 hours and afternoon departure at 1245 hours.
A private guide will meet you at the hotel or residence (pick-up time depends on hotel/residence location), and transfer to the pier on the shores of Lake Victoria. The boat team will give you a detailed briefing about the water safari and island in general. You will go through registration and sign safety indemnity forms then after board and sail on the waters of Lake Victoria.
We have two boat options (traditional canoe or speedboat) but we recommend the speedboats. Depending on the day’s weather or time of the year, the lake can be calm, bumpy or both. Simply be ready to get wet at some points but you dry super-fast due to the direct African sun.
Interestingly, Uganda’s part of Lake Victoria is crossed by the equator line, so you will cruise from the Northern hemisphere to the south. The guide will alert you when crossing the line so that we can crosscheck with your GPS gadget.
When you get to the island, you will be directed to the visitor center for an introduction and educational orientation. The chimpanzee caretakers know all chimpanzees by their names, history, age and character. Walk to the raised platform area and view the chimp feeding session. Without any warning bell or call, Chimps have mastered their feeding time and always show up (1100 hours & 1400 hours). They stand along the brim of the sanctuary fence, raise their hands and ask for fruits just like any human being would do. You will be amazed by their character, behavior, emotions and general actions which is live experiment that Chimpanzees are genetically closest relatives to humans sharing about 99% of their DNA.
The chimpanzees upkeep costs are reasonably high, and this majorly for feeding, paying staff, maintaining the facility among others. The major source of such money is from donations and very small percentage from entry collections. After listening the touching stories about the chimpanzees, you may feel like giving back towards conservation and protection of chimpanzees. It’s therefore advisable to carry some lose cash (20-40$ per person) for donation. Note that donations are optional, so if not in position to give, it’s very understandable. Your visit has directly contributed towards the life of these beautiful creatures.
Ngamba Island has got a wonderful beach where you can enjoy a good swim, kayaks, beach volley ball, meals, drinks and a curio shop. You will also be treated to the sights of monitor lizards, a plethora of birds, and photography opportunities.
After the chimpanzee feeding experience, you will walk down to the pier in time for your boat ride back to Entebbe. You will see many other islands with fishing villages and homesteads. Proceed towards the mainland arriving not earlier than 1300 hours (if on a morning schedule) or 1700 hours if on an afternoon schedule.
Meet Adventure Consults’ guide at the pier and transfer to the hotel/residence.
Note: Overnight trips to Ngamba Island can also be arranged. Please check out short trips section.
What to wear or carry when visiting Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary; Lightweight trousers/pants or a pair of shorts, a rain jacket for protection from abrupt rains or splashing water while on the lake, a safari hat or cap, comfortable shoes (sneakers or sandals). Ensure you have sunscreen, sunglasses, suncream and a fully charged camera.