Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary – Uganda

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary was established in October 1998 to care for orphaned chimpanzees that have been rescued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

Many of the chimpanzees were rescued from poachers and are victims of illegal poaching for bushmeat and the pet trade. It’s, for this reason, that encroachment on their habitat that they are at a blink of extinction if nothing is done in the next 5-10 years.

These chimps and others are taken from the wild and endure incredible hardship and terror before reaching Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Surrounded by the peaceful waters of Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to 49 orphaned chimps rescued from throughout Uganda.

 Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) – an NGO, is responsible for all aspects of the sanctuary at Ngamba Island.

Deeply committed to and involved in the conservation education of local communities, CSWCT also works with the Ugandan government and wildlife authorities in their rescue operations of orphaned and confiscated chimps.

Things to do on Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

1. Day Trips

You will view either morning, or afternoon feeding, of the chimpanzees from the visitor’s platform area along the edge of the sanctuary fence, hear an informative talk by the sanctuary staff, and enjoy lunch, kayaking, swimming on the equator, viewing a neighboring fishing village, fantastic bird-watching and other wildlife encounters, or just sunbathe and relax.

2. Overnight Excursions

An excursion over two days, staying in an East African-style tented camp on the island with each of the four tents overlooking the lake and accommodating two persons (twin beds) in comfort with, en-suite bathroom facilities and solar lighting.

All meals are prepared and provided by friendly camp staff in either the relaxed covered dining area or open dining area beside the lake when conditions allow.

Meals are substantial with several courses for dinner and local specialties such as fish served whenever possible. Hot beverages including tea and coffee plus a basic selection of wines and spirits are available at all times on a self-serve basis.

3. Ngamba Trail

Get to have a walk in the forest to learn about the rich ecosystems and abundant life on the Ngamba Island 95 acres of rainforest jungle. Learn more about chimpanzees – how they spend their days, what they eat in the wild, how they hunt- by following their trails in the Ngamba forest.

You will also be treated to sights of fruit bats, over 75,000 sighted over 120 bird species, geological features like caves, different spider species, and plants and trees from our knowledgeable staff. While at it, you will have an opportunity to glimpse a chimpanzee or two up in the trees as they go about their daily routines and take closer pictures.

4. Fishing

This exciting activity is available for either a half or full day on Lake Victoria. Also available are the UK Certified trained skippers who know the lake intimately and will give you an amazing experience.

Our experience in fishing the famed Nile Perch has grown. Whether you choose one day or one week of guided fishing, you won’t miss getting the famed Nile Perch.

Fishing adventures feature from 4 to 8 full hours of incredible fishing, and can cater to a personalized experience that you’ll never forget!

5. Sunset Cruises

As the day ends and the evening sets in, join us for an exclusive sunset cruise. Enjoy the unique view of fishermen casting their nets, fishing villages as they wind down the day, and of course the golden circular site of nature’s eye going to sleep.

The thrill comes from knowing that you are crossing the globe from the southern to the northern hemisphere on the equator as you sip – away on cold drinks in romantic bliss.

6. Caregiver for the day

This program offers visitors the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a chimpanzee caregiver by being caregivers themselves.

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

You can assist the staff with any activities happening at the sanctuary that day: medical checkups, research, and monitoring, preparing the holding areas for the chimps, and other activities.

This program is aimed at helping visitors understand and appreciate what it takes to look after orphaned chimps on Ngamba Island, as well as being a vehicle for raising funds for their well-being. 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.

7. Long-stay visitor program

By participating in this program, you will join a dedicated team devoted to the ongoing health and welfare of Ngamba Island’s resident wildlife and in turn, help them achieve their mission to educate the public about the importance of chimpanzees – our closest living relatives.

There is so much you can get involved in: from cleaning cages to preparing food, assisting in medical procedures, carrying out enrichment, typing chimp diaries, selling in the Island Shop, collecting observational/behavioral data, helping in the construction/maintenance of island facilities to simply relax, reading, Bird watching, chimp watching, or waiting for the 50,000 fruit bats to fly overhead in the evening on their nightly forage.