NGAMBA ISLAND CHIMPANZEE VISITAncient
Chimpanzees are our closet relatives and we share a staggering 98 percent DNA. The chimpanzees are currently listed on the endangered species of animals around the world and they can only be found in Africa with the total population not exceeding 300,000. And of the remaining endangered chimpanzees, Uganda has the majority.
Chimpanzees have always fascinated many people because of the close lineage we are share with them. In Uganda there are few places where you can encounter these great primates and these are; Kibale National park which has the highest number of chimpanzees in Uganda, Budongo forest, Kalinzu forest, Semuliki National Park and in Bwindi National park, though if you want to get up close and personal with the chimpanzees then there is no better place than Ngamba Island where visitors are allowed to get very close to the chimpanzees.
Ancient Africa Safaris will be at hand to take you to this fascinating journey to visit the chimpanzees found in Ngamba Island. There are 49 in total, 29 females and 20 males and this project started in 1998 to rehabilitate the vulnerable chimpanzees which are from time to time rescued by Uganda Wild Life Authority. These Chimpanzees are brought to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT), which was established in 1998 and this sanctuary offers safe heaven to these rescued primates which normally find it a challenge to re integrate into the wild.
This sanctuary is approximately 100 acres, and these chimpanzees are enclosed in an electric fence though the area is large enough for them to feel like they are in their natural wild setting.
How to get there
Ngamba island is one of the many islands doted across Lake Victoria which is the largest fresh water lake in Africa. It is 23km from the main land and you need 45 minutes using a motorized boat to get to the chimpanzee island.
There are two feeding sessions for the chimpanzees and make sure you arrange your schedules to fit into these feeding times, alternatively you can arrange with the authorities of the sanctuary where you can actively participate in taking care of these vulnerable animals, this though needs prior arrangement before you visit. The visitors can help feed the chimpanzees, clean, prepare the food, and any other tasks which may be available.
The best time to view the chimpanzees is 9.00am -1.00pm and in the afternoon starting at 12.45pm- 2pm during this time is when the chimpanzees are feeding and the visitors spend some quality time viewing the chimpanzees from a platform.
What to carry along
You need light clothing and if possible sandals. Carry along hiking boots if you are staying overnight and going for the forest walk. You need a rain jacket incase it starts raining during the boat ride. Binoculars for those who love birds are a must. Visitor Health Checks are necessary for those going for the forest walks and those willing to participate in care giving.
Spend a day with the chimpanzees
If you love being very close to animals, but in this case wild animals then visiting this island might fulfill your dreams of being very close to the chimpanzees. The sanctuary allows visitors get this experience where you become a Chimpanzee caretaker for the day; you will be part of the team helping the chimpanzees from preparation to feeding. You will be part of the staff helping out on the daily activities at the sanctuary, these may include; medical care, data collection, observation and monitoring, and general administrative work. This experience is aimed at bringing you closer to these vulnerable chimpanzees and making you appreciate the hard work which goes on to make this sanctuary comfortable for it residents.