If you really love Chimpanzees regardless of where they are staying, then you need to have this brief introduction to man’s closest relatives in Uganda at Ngamba Island before you may embark on the main Chimpanzee tracking experience in Kibale forest National Park preferably. The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria may be called the nearby display of Uganda’s Chimps due to its closeness to the country’s main entry point of Entebbe International Airport. The Island is located just 23km from Entebbe and it takes you just 40 minutes to reach after setting off from water from Entebbe with a speedboat.
The Sanctuary was established in 1998 as a home to orphaned Chimpanzees rescued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority from poachers across East Africa and were unlikely to survive if reintroduced to the wild. For visitors who may not have all the time and other resources on their side to make it to Kibale to track the chimps, then Ngamba Island can help you to at least add a chimp story from your Uganda safari.
You will need to cruise in a boat to get to Ngamba Island as earlier mentioned though some short flights to the Island from Entebbe Airport are also available but a boat cruise is preferred due to the short distance and its experience also makes you enjoy the trip more. You will cruise while viewing and touching the clear and fresh waters of Lake Victoria and observing other surrounding Islands and fishing villages along your route to Ngamba while also enjoying the fresh breeze of the waters.
The trips are organized in a way that allows you to get in touch with your expected friends as soon as you reach. The morning and afternoon trips allow you to catch up with the feeding hours of the chimps and you are welcomed to meet them as they are being fed shortly after your arrival. Watching these amazing individuals as they receive food from their caretakers has been made so easy by the establishment of a viewing platform that stands at a high elevation that allows you to see all the chimps as they come from different corners of the forest to their feeding area and they come while making a unique sound of food excitement which may scare you before being told by the guide and the caretakers. It is breathtaking to see them catch the food from the air before it touches the ground and the males trying to command respect from the females and the young ones by chasing them around. The viewing platform gives you unlimited opportunities and no obstructions at all to photograph and video the chimps and they feed while singing in appreciation of the meal. Amazingly each chimp has got a unique local name and the caretakers often call out these names to get the attention of a chimp so as to throw the food directly to him or her and they individually respond to this. You can take part in the feeding of the chimps though this comes at an extra cost away from the initial one.
After the unforgettable moment with the chimps, you may be introduced to other exciting activities around the island depending on your choice. Monitor Lizards that loiter around the shore line enjoying the sunshine are some of the few other species away from the chimps that you can see together with a variety of birds that count up to 154 recorded species around this small Island together with numerous and colorful butterflies. A visit to a local fishing village is another supplementary activity, which allows you to interact with the local fishermen as you also taste or buy the fresh tilapia and the famous Nile Perch to taste this delicacy from Lake Victoria. The village has a lot more offer including learning the local methods of fishing and fish preservation as well as encountering a variety of other activities taking place in the fishing village.
A sunset cruise is organized for you to enjoy sailing on a calm and cool waters while passing near various fishing villages as guides tell you their names and their tradition related stories. Finally you can do the fishing to get the Lake’s commonest specie tilapia together with the experienced guiding fishermen and if its your lucky day you may even be rewarded by the giant Nile Perch which is a predator in these waters.
Chimpanzee trekking at Ngamba island complement other tourism activities and attractions such as gorilla tours in Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national parks, rhino tracking at Zziwa rhino sanctuary, cultural tours, mountain climbing, bird watching, golden monkey trekking and game viewing safaris which together make a complete Uganda safari package.
The experience at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary cannot be fully described just in a small briefing, you need to visit this naturally rich Island and explore for yourself what this magnificent place has got to offer and we can firmly assure you that that it will go down as one of the most thrilling places you have ever visited.