Ngamba Island

Ngamba Island is an island sanctuary situated on Lake Victoria dedicated to the care of orphaned chimpanzees that were rescued from poachers, illegal pet and bush meat trade by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. This Island is part of the Koome group of Islands in northwestern Lake Victoria separated form Ssese Islands by Koome channel. Other Islands in this group include Damba Island, Lwaje Island, Kayaga Island, Bulago Island and many others. Ngamba Island consists of approximately 100 acres of rainforests near the Equator in Lake Victoria 23 kilometers southeast of Entebbe city. This Island supports a rich diversity of natural wildlife and known for providing a variety of natural foods and habitat to the chimpanzees. Ngamba Island was gazetted in 1998 to protect and take care of the orphaned chimpanzees that were rescued from various parts of East Africa and it’s a home to over 52 orphaned chimpanzees. The Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary is managed by a non-profit organization known as the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) which is responsible for raising extensive funds needed to operate and take care of these long-lived and highly complex social animals usually referred to as our close relatives. This non-profit organization works in partnership with six other organizations committed to the welfare and conservation of wildlife. These include the Born free foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center, Uganda Wildlife Society, Jane Goodall Institute and Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda. Ngamba Island is not only a home to the orphaned chimpanzees but also several other wildlife species for example spotted necked otters, mongoose, bird species, monitor lizards and many more.

Things to do at Ngamba Island

Chimpanzee experience

This is the Island’s major tourist activity where people have the opportunity to delve into the world of lively and magical chimpanzees. With the chimpanzee experience one has the opportunity to partake in activities like chimpanzee viewing, feeding them by carrying big cans full of fruits to their feeding areas and throwing fruits and vegetables from a raised platform, maintenance of the facility, involving in environmental enrichment programs, data entry that plays part to their ongoing research, closely monitoring the chimpanzee behaviors and many other activities that stimulate the wellbeing of these rescued chimpanzees.

Sunset cruise on Lake Victoria

Sunset cruises along the world’s second largest lake are arranged in the evening while one has the opportunity to sip a glass of wine or coffee as you enjoy breezes. While on the cruise one has the opportunity to spot fishermen cast their fishing nets in the nearby fishing villages. The most captivating and charming moment is when you realize that you are crossing the Equator line in Lake Victoria from the southern hemisphere to the northern and cruising around the two halves of the world.

Volunteering experience

Primate lovers have the opportunity to interact with the chimpanzees through participating in volunteering programs where they can as well learn more about their behaviors. During volunteering programs participants actively get involved in activities at the chimpanzee sanctuary for example taking part in chimpanzee medical treatments, preparing chimpanzee food, cleaning their housing facilities, feeding them and helping in data collection and entry. This activity fosters in-depth understanding of the chimpanzees and what it takes to take care of them. With this program, volunteers are able to work with field projects that help in raising awareness about the increasing number of chimpanzees dwelling in the forests and the entire wildlife conservation. This strengthens partnerships with individuals and local institutions that are key players in chimpanzee and wildlife conservation.

Fishing trip

Fishing trips can be organized for half day and a whole fishing experience where one tries out his or her fishing tricks as you hook fish species like the tilapia and Nile perch from Lake Victoria. This experience is so magical and interesting since one is guided by skippers who are certified from the UK and are well conversant with the places where to catch big fish. Fishing gears and equipment are provided for those interested in fishing and one can as well come with their own fishing equipment.

Forest walk

This forest trail in Ngamba Island offers one the opportunity to learn about the vast wildlife species and plant species on the Island. During the forest walk, visitors have the opportunity to interact and get into contact with the chimpanzees that are allowed to freely move with in the forest and along the trails. Wildlife species that can be encountered include the monitor lizards, bats, bird species, spotted necked otters, mongoose to mention but a few.

Cultural performances

Captivating cultural performances are usually arranged during bonfires in the evenings which give opportunities to tourists to immerse themselves in local traditions and culture as well as interact and engage with local communities. This portrays a clear picture of the true African culture, its people, and core cultural values. Cultural performances are surely entertaining that will attract you to physically participate by playing some musical instruments and dance to the African music tunes.

Team building activity

This Island provides an ideal environment and setting for team building activities such as sports games that create bondage and fun amongst individuals. Unforgettable and everlasting memories are created with your team on the Island as you participate in competitions like soccer, rope pulling, athletics to mention but a few while having a sight at the playful chimpanzees.

How to get to Ngamba Island

For one to get to Ngamba Island, he/she has to take a speed boat or motorized boat from Entebbe at the waterfront beach to the Island which takes to about 45 minutes while a local canoe can take up to an hour and a half to reach the Island. These boats can be booked through your trip organizers such as Glory Summit tours and travel that will ensure your safety. The charges entirely depend on the number of people and the type of the boat for example large groups are charged less while solo travelers are charged highly. This Island can as well be accessed by air for example one can take a chartered flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airstrip to the Island which lasts for about 20 minutes.

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