Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary | Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda

The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the places that makes Uganda arguably the best place to observe chimpanzees. Learn more about the tour’s prices and volunteer opportunities here. One of the five great apes is the chimpanzee. They are more intelligent than the other five because they only have two sets of limbs and no tail. To harvest insects or defend themselves, chimpanzees can use tools in a variety of complex ways.

With a DNA match of approximately 98%, chimpanzees and bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) are the closest relatives of humans. Since it was discovered that their global population is now less than 300,000, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed them on the endangered species list. Poaching, pet trade, and habitat destruction all have a greater impact on chimpanzees.

Organizations like the Jane Goodall Institute and others have tirelessly protected chimpanzees’ last remaining habitats to save them. To educate communities living in wildlife reserves about the significance of coexisting peacefully with chimpanzees and other animals, the Jane Goodall institute collaborates closely with governments and other actors involved in wildlife conservation. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park is the subject of an interesting article.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris Tour in Uganda

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust

The Budongo forest, Kibale forest, Kalinzu forest, Toro – Semliki Wildlife Reserve, and Kyambura gorge are the primary locations in Uganda where habituated chimps can be observed. In addition, wild chimpanzees can be observed in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest, Bugoma forest, and other smaller areas of the country’s forests. At the Entebbe Wildlife Education Centre (Zoo), you can also see chimpanzees in captivity. Chimpanzees can also be seen at the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda, in addition to the national parks, reserves, and zoos. A 100-acre tropical rain forest on one of Uganda’s Ssese Islands serves as the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary.

The Ngamba Island sanctuary offices, lodging facilities, and other establishments are situated on the other half of the island, which contains a forest. In 1988, the Jane Goodall Institute, with assistance from the government and other donors, established the sanctuary as a new home for rescued and orphaned chimpanzees.

The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) staff take care of it every day. The Born Free Foundation, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), the Uganda Wildlife Society, and private donors all contribute generously to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a non-profit organization that accepts visitors to fill any funding gaps.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris Tour in Uganda

How to Get to Ngamba Island?

The chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island can be reached by boat, ferry, or airplane. Taking a ferry to the island, which departs from a waterfront beach close to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), is the most common and least expensive option. Additionally, the Entebbe sailing club and other Entebbe boat rental companies offer speed boat rentals to tourists. Because it is a more established business, tourists are advised to book a boat through the Ngamba Island reservation office. Group travelers will receive discounts from the reservation office.

Although there are more passengers on the ferry, it is slower and takes approximately one and a half hours to reach the island. Islands can be reached in about 40 minutes by speed boat. Booking a charter flight operated by Aerolink from Kampala’s Kajjansi airstrip directly to the island is another, more expensive option.

To enter the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary, you will need an entrance pass or ticket, regardless of how you get there. The pass is available at the Ngamba Island reservation office in Entebbe or upon arrival. You can get the ticket and make arrangements for the entire trip, including lodging in Entebbe or on the island, with a local tour operator. Read up on the tourist attractions in Entebbe town.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris Tour in Uganda

Tour of the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

One of the best things to do in Uganda is to visit the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary, especially if you are a chimpanzee lover or a cure. On a tour of the island, you can get up close and personal with the chimpanzees and learn a lot about what is being done to protect them worldwide. The rescuing and rehabilitating of the primates can also be indirectly supported by going to the Ngamba Island sanctuary. Additionally, caregivers’ and outreach participants’ allowances are paid out of a portion of the tourism revenue. In addition to observing the primates, visitors to the island can participate in a variety of other activities, including boat rides, sport fishing, swimming, and unwinding on the beach.

The morning, afternoon, and night visits to Ngamba Chimpanzee island are broken up into three sessions. The morning session begins at 9:00 a.m. and continues until 12:45 p.m., while the afternoon session begins at 1:00 p.m. and continues until 5:00 p.m. The most expensive tour, the night Ngamba Island tour, departs around 7:00 p.m.It costs more than $300 and includes time spent interacting with the chimps, dinner, and staying the night in self-contained luxury tents. No matter which session you choose, you can be sure to spend some quality time with the primates.

Chimpanzee Tracking on Ngamba Sanctuary Island

Visitors are typically greeted at the main offices and briefed on the Center during a typical visit. The Ngamba Island sanctuary’s history, chimpanzees in general, and each individual’s introduction at the Center will all be discussed by the staff. Most of the time, the chimpanzees are allowed to wander into the vast, fenced tropical forest only to eat or sleep. Before returning to the forest, tourists can observe them during mealtime.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris Tour in Uganda

Even though they are allowed to roam freely in the forest, they all return to their specially constructed homes to sleep. The caregivers at the Ngamba Island sanctuary are familiar with each of the approximately 49 chimpanzees by name. The caregivers will discuss each individual’s personality and temperament during feeding time. Controlling births with scientific methods ensures that their numbers remain manageable. It is interesting to note that the sanctuary still accepts babies from a few hardened individuals despite the existence of birth control measures.

How do the chimpanzees know when it’s time to feed?

When there is food to be distributed, the caregivers notify the chimpanzees. It’s interesting to go to the viewing platform and not see any chimpanzees, then to see them all suddenly emerge from the forest after receiving a signal for food. Since chimpanzees are primates with a high level of vocalization, you should be able to hear them hooting deep within the forest before you even see them.

The caregivers put food into their feeding areas when they get to the feeding point. The best time to observe chimpanzee behavior and mannerisms is now. Be on the lookout for those who beg for more or use sticks to free any fruit that gets stuck on the fence. It’s important to remember that the chimpanzees also get a nutritious breakfast or dinner of porridge.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris Tour in Uganda

The cost of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

The cost of going to and from the islands by speed boat or ferry is included in the admission price. The viewing fee and the sanctuary entrance fee are also included. It’s important to remember that the number of people visiting the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary will affect how much it costs overall.

A single traveler pays approximately $326, two travelers pay $168 each, three travelers pay $118 each, and four or more travelers pay $88 each. Travelers who opt for the morning or evening half-day viewing experience are subject to the fees. If you want to take the night tour, you’ll have to pay an additional $200 to stay in the luxury self-contained tent camp. The Ngamba Island reservation office can be paid for directly. Additionally, a tour operator can assist you in arranging all necessary reservations, including entrance fees.

Activities at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary as a caregiver:

Visitors who wish to spend more time with the chimpanzees, including one night on Ngamba Island, can take advantage of this unique experience. Those who opt for the Caregiver for the Day experience will help feed the primates, check on their health, and play with the youngest chimpanzees in close collaboration with the in-house staff. Because it lasts longer, participants also get to explore the island more, meeting other island residents like reptiles, butterflies, birds, and the various tropical forest tree species. Participants in this activity have the opportunity to stay in opulent, self-contained tented camps.

Visitors who decide to stay for more than a day to learn more about the sanctuary’s work have a similar experience to the caregiver for the day program. Visitors who stay for a longer period may also participate in cleaning the primates, preparing food, preparing their night nests, administering medication, recording chimpanzee data, and analyzing information. Visitors are taken to local fishing villages, sunset boat rides, and campfire retreats in between the chimp tasks.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris Tour in Uganda

Infant Chimpanzee Induction and Integration Program on Ngamba Island

When newly orphaned chimpanzees are brought to the Ngamba Island sanctuary, they must adjust to their surroundings and the other chimpanzees. The new chimpanzees need to be rehabilitated extensively to ensure a smooth start to life on the island. Visitors can sign up for this particular program and assist the sanctuary staff in adjusting the new chimpanzees to their new environment.

New chimpanzees are kept apart from the older ones at the Center after they are brought there to prevent bullying. The older residents are introduced gradually and in stages. If you sign up to help the newly introduced chimps, you’ll have to feed them, play with them, and take them on long walks deep in the forest to help them adjust to their new surroundings.

Forest Walk/Trail:

The dense tropical rainforest that covers half of Ngamba Island is ideal for nature walks and boasts incredible biodiversity. You can see birds, reptiles, butterflies, and smaller primates on a nature walk through the forests of Ngamba Island, which can be very rewarding.


Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater body, is home to Ngamba Island. The lake is a great place to fish, and the giant Nile perch and the flavorful tilapia are the most popular catches. This is one activity you should sign up for if you plan to spend more than a day on the island. Fishing trips can last all day or just part of the day.

Cruise at dusk:

When you stay at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary for more than a day, this is one of the most popular things to do. After spending the day working with primates, take a sunset cruise. You get to see the stunning sunset while exploring Lake Victoria. There is food, drinking, partying, and photography, just like on any boat cruise.

Volunteering at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

If you’re passionate about primatology, you should think about participating in the sanctuary’s volunteer program. The volunteer program is divided into two phases and lasts about four weeks. In the first phase, volunteers help with medication, cleaning the chimpanzees and their nests, feeding the chimps, and collecting scientific data. The volunteer will be able to get a very personal introduction to the chimpanzees during this first phase. Outreach activities are carried out by volunteers during the program’s second phase.

They are asked to get involved in the fight to save the chimpanzees by contacting organizations both inside and outside the country. Traveling to Kampala or Entebbe for meetings with organizations and businesses that are interested in providing support may be necessary. Accommodation, meals, and free internet are provided to volunteers at the sanctuary. They are also given time to do other things, like go on a safari or visit one of the nearby villages or places to hang out.

Nkima Forest in Mabamba Swamp

Nkima Forest in Mabamba Swamp

Accommodation in the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Only the Ngamba Island Eco-Lodge is a place to stay on Ngamba Island. It was constructed to provide high-quality services to tourists, volunteers, and other island visitors and is owned by the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Tented camps provide the accommodation, but there are also more expensive cottages. The cottages and tents are very secure, comfortable, and equipped with everything one would require.

There is electricity, a private deck, a bathroom with hot showers, and stunning lake views. The chimpanzees make beautiful sounds at night. The lodge has a restaurant that serves continental and local fare as well as a fully stocked bar. Disney resorts in Florida provided hospitality training for the lodge staff.

Uganda Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris Tour Experiences