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Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

best places to see chimpanzees in Uganda
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Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

In 1998, Dr. Jane Goodall and a small group of pioneering leaders rescued 13 chimpanzees and started the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Ngamba is now recognized as one of the leading primate sanctuaries in all of Africa. The sanctuary currently supports over 50 chimpanzees and it is one of the best places to see chimps up-close during your Uganda safaris.

All the chimps at Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary have been rescued, some from poachers, others were ill or mistreated -none of them can ever go back to the wilds. However, here at Ngamba, they are cared for, allowed to roam freely, fed twice daily, and provided with medical care and love.

Their stories are fascinating and seeing them up-close as they happily enjoying each other’s company, within a semi-natural environment is fantastic.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

About Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are man’s closest living relatives.

However, human beings have been very cruel to them. Today, around 170,000 and 300,000 chimps are believed to exist in the wild, a decrease from over one million chimpanzees in the early 1900s!

Habitat loss, hunting for bushmeat, and the exotic pet trade are amongst the greatest threats facing chimpanzees.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one small hope that we, as a dominant species, are capable of compassion and can think of the well-being of our fellow creatures beyond the narrow confines of our self-interest.

About Ngamba Island

Ngamba Island is located on Lake Victoria – Africa’s largest lake – about 23 km by boat south-east of Entebbe, near the Equator in Uganda. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Entebbe (Uganda’s main entry point for travellers) and offers an easy and enjoyable half-day, full-day or overnight excursion.

The island consists of about 100 acres, of which 95 acres is forested and separated from the human camp by an electric fence. It is a special place to appreciate and help protect these extraordinary primates.

You will learn their names, their stories, and bring back special memories of your African safari experience.

How To Explore Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary? – Ngamba Island Activities

To explore Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary you can book a tour with Tulambule Uganda Safaris. We arrange boat trips, departing from either Banga Beach or Waterfront Beach in Entebbe close to the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (Entebbe zoo).

The boats are of different sizes. Some can take up to 25 people. The boats are equipped with life jackets and fire extinguishers. The price charged depends on the number of people and kind of boat.

Groups are charged less while solo travelers pay more.

You will view either a morning or afternoon feeding, of the chimpanzees from the visitors’ platform area along the edge of the sanctuary fence. You will hear an informative talk by sanctuary staff, enjoy lunch (if you are on a full day trip), swimming on the equator, viewing a neighbouring fishing village, bird watching, other wildlife encounters, or just sunbathe and relax.

Half Day Speedboat Excursions To Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Half day trips to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary cost from US $ 110 Per Person. The timings for these trips are morning chimpanzee viewing (9.00am -1.00pm), and afternoon viewing (12.45pm- 5.00pm).

The journey time is approximately 50-60 minutes each way depending on the weather conditions.

The price for these trips includes return boat transfers and island entrance fees and subject to minimum numbers on board and residence category.

Full Day Traditional Motorized Canoe Trips To Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

The full day traditional motorised canoe trips to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary cost from $US 91 per person.

The timings are morning viewing (08.00 am – 3.00 pm) and afternoon viewing (10.30 am – 5.00 pm). The journey time is approximately 90-120 minutes each way, depending on weather.

Life jackets and rain suites are provided for all on board our boat tours to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Please note that the above rates are a guideline and are subject to change and are only verified when reservations are confirmed.

Children below 5 years are free of charge. Children between 5 to 15 years pay half of the price. Prices include return boat transfers and island entrance fees- subject to minimum numbers on board and residence category.

Special discounted rates for school groups and East African Residents are available on request – please contact us if you need more information.

Caregiver For A Day Experience At Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary On Lake Victoria

The unique experience at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary costs around US$ 200.00 per person, per day. If offers you an opportunity to experience a day in the life of a Chimpanzee Caregiver by being Caregivers yourself!

As a chimp caregiver, you will get the exciting chance to not only view the chimps feeding, but to participate in preparing their food and feeding them.

You can assist the staff at Ngamba Island with any activities happening at the sanctuary that day. These may include:

  • Medical checkups
  • Research and monitoring
  • Preparing the holding areas for the chimps
  • Administrative work, whereby you can help to type in the chimp stories
  • And any other activities that your skills and experience can be used for

This is a program aimed at helping our visitors understand and appreciate what it takes to look after our orphaned cousins on Ngamba Island as well as raising funds for their wellbeing.

The staff will work with you to show you just what is involved in taking care of these animals, how individual they are, and what makes them so special.

As a caregiver, you get to meet and interact with all the chimps on the Island but DIRECT CONTACT with them is not guaranteed but possible under close supervision of a resident Caregiver.

Overnight Tour To Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

You can also stay from 1 to 3 nights at Ngamba Island Eco-lodge while enjoying several island activities. Highlights include Chimpanzee feeding, Challenge the chimp critical thinking, Chimp Nest preparation, Visiting the fishing villages, Sunset cruise, Community Cultural experience, local Fishing and Borne Fires.

Ngamba Island Accommodation Rates

The Accommodation Rates at Ngamba starts from USD 248- per person per night, full board depending upon numbers traveling and season.

Children at 50% of adults rates when aged between 5-11 years. Boat Transportation for over-night trips costs from $US 150- per person return on scheduled boats depending upon numbers travelling and season.

Nonscheduled and private boats available at additional costs – please enquire further for these options. Special discounted rates for school groups and East African Residents are available on request.

Accommodation At Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Volunteering At The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary has a volunteer program targeting primate lovers and those who are interested in learning more about chimpanzees. The program is for four weeks and is divided into two parts:

Part One

During the first part of the program, participants are actively involved in the daily activities in the Chimpanzee Sanctuary including;

  • Preparing chimpanzee food
  • Feeding them
  • Data collection/entry
  • Cleaning chimpanzee housing facilities
  • Taking part in medical treatments
  • Learning about general wildlife conservation

By the end of this part of the programme, you will have an in-depth understanding of chimpanzees and what is required to take care of them.

Part Two

The second part of the volunteer program involves working with field projects. These projects help in raising awareness about the dwindling number of chimpanzees, forest and general wildlife conservation.

This part of the program also allows the Volunteer to help in strengthening partnerships with local institutions and individuals who are key in the area of wildlife conservation. During the program volunteers live within the island.

Internet, electricity, hot showers and toilets are available throughout the day. All volunteers are entitled to 3 meals a day.

They are given a free day each week in which to visit surrounding communities, other nearby wildlife reserves or for leisure activities within Entebbe or Kampala. One needs to be very interested, dedicated and willing to sacrifice a lot of time while volunteering at the sanctuary.

Experience Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary with Tulambule

Sail with us to this unique wildlife haven for a memorable day getting to know the chimps. We will set up a personalized wildlife safari just for you. Tours leave daily from Entebbe to Ngamba and many other exciting parks in Uganda.

Discover More Chimpanzee Experiences In Uganda


What Is Ngamba Island Sanctuary Famous For?

Ngamba Island is a peaceful home for rescued and orphaned chimps. Surrounded by the peaceful waters of Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to 52 orphaned and rescued chimpanzees.

How Do I Get To Ngamba Island?

Speedboat travel from the dock in Entebbe to Ngamba Island is approximately 45-50 minutes; travel by traditional motorized canoe takes approximately 90 minutes.

What Other Wildlife is found at Ngamba Island?

Despite its small size, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary has a variety of other wildlife species. The sanctuary is home to over 150 species of Uganda birds including African fish eagles, African paradise-flycatchers, Great blue Turacos, Black-and-white casqued hornbills, and various other colorful species. Often there are also sightings of the large Nile Monitor lizards, fruits bats, marsh mongoose, and the endearing spotted-necked otter.

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