A Visit To Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Island Chimp Sanctuary was established in 1998, and managed by CSWCT (Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust), Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary provides a safe haven for 44 confiscated orphaned chimps.
Situated 25kms offshore from Entebbe, in Lake Victoria, beautiful Ngamba Island is almost 100 acres in size and boasts over 50 different types of vegetation that the chimps utilize: the chimps are free to roam at their will, exploring their environment and foraging for food.
Visits offer a unique opportunity for close viewing of chimpanzees in their natural forested environment.
Pre-arranged supplementary feeding times bring the chimpanzees to within meters of the raised walkway specially designed for easy viewing. Excellent photographic opportunities are available as well as just enjoying being near to one of our closest animal relatives with much behaviour similar to ours.
If staying on the island, guests have the opportunity to have a morning forest walk with some of the juvenile chimps. This walk allows for direct contact with the animals. You will be walking through the lush forest giving a playful chimp a piggy back ride or playing ‘hide and seek’ or ‘catch me if you can’ with these mischievous individuals. Chimps share 98% of our DNA and these young ones definitely resemble human children in their demand for attention and play. Once you start tickling one belly be sure to realise that there will be a queue for the same attention. Forest walks last one hour and there is a maximum of 4 people allowed on each walk.
Care giver for a day
This is a unique program where by visitors get the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a chimpanzee caregiver. A day will include assisting the care givers with the preparation of the chimps’ food, assisting in the feeding and viewing the feeding. You will also have the chance to participate in the activities happening at the sanctuary on that day. This could include: medical checkups, research and monitoring, preparing the holding area for the chimps and administration work, where by you can to record the chimp stories for that day. This program is aimed at helping you to understand and appreciate what it takes to look after our orphaned cousins on Ngamba Island as well as rising 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. As a care giver you will get to meet and interact with all the chimps on the island, but direct contact is not guaranteed but is possible under the close supervision of a resident caregiver.
Infant Integration Program
On Ngamba the chimps are all living as one community, this means that any new animals need to be integrated into the group. The integration methods have been successful as most of the chimps have accepted each other and live similarly to their natural social system. The time it takes to integrate a chimp depends on a variety of factors, including: age, sex, level of trauma experienced and time spent in captivity before coming to the sanctuary.
The integration is done in 3 stages:
- getting the new individual used to the new environment in the indoor facility
- getting them integrated with others in smaller groups in the outside enclosure
- integrating them with the main group in the forest.
Visitors can participate in the outside enclosure integration. You will be part of the team going into the enclosure with the infants. You will be able to give them support by holding them and also help to teach them that the forest is a good and safe place to live. You will be in the company of several chimps aged up to 9 years and you will have direct contact with the animals.