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Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Introduction to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Tucked away in Lake Victoria’s northwestern corner, in the Ssese Islands lies Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

The sanctuary was set up in 1998 to rescue orphaned and confiscated chimpanzees from the illegal pet and bushmeat trades across East Africa.

Today, 49 chimpanzees live at the sanctuary and are free to roam the 95 acres of thick forest covering the island. The aim is to help them recover from their initial trauma and eventually thrive over their long lives of up to 60 years.

The chimps have the liberty to stay in the forest at night or return to night-time enclosures, where they can construct nests and receive their dinner. 

What to Expect

Upon arrival at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, you will have the chance to learn about their history, conservation efforts and residents in the visitors centre.

You will then be given a personal tour by a chimpanzee caregiver and view a feeding from a raised deck on the enclosure edge (full day visitors will observe two feedings).

If you join the feeding team, you can throw food down to the chimps and watch as they excitedly vie for your attention, all seeking the delicious piece of fruit in your hand.

A tasty lunch is provided on the island and usually costs between $10 and $15.

If staying overnight at the Ngamba Eco Lodge, you can observe the chimps making their nests and then take to Lake Victoria’s calming waters for a sunset cruise, and look for some of the other animals and birdlife that inhabit the island and surrounding lake.

Staying overnight also offers more one on one time with the chimpanzees, as you can take part in the chimp enrichment program, where you will be involved in challenging the chimps critical thinking.


You have an excellent chance of seeing chimps in Kibale.


The sanctuary offers one and four-week volunteering programs where you can directly contribute to the conservation efforts of the chimps. 

While volunteering, you will gain hands-on experience by preparing their food, feeding them, cleaning their sleeping area and taking part in enrichment activities and behavioural observations.

You can stay in their volunteer dormitories or the Ngamba Eco Lodge.

Where to Stay

Ngamba Eco Lodge

Situated on the water’s edge with uninterrupted views of Lake Victoria, Ngamba Eco Lodge is a tranquil sanctuary of your own, perfect for unwinding after a day spent with the chimps.

They offer four permanent luxury cottages, ten double standard camping tents and five single standard tents.

Full amenities are provided, including hot water for showers, electricity, bathrooms and a private deck.

Swap stories around the evening campfire, while you listen to the distant chimp hoots and enjoy a freshly prepared 3-course dinner in the thatched-roof dining area. Fall asleep to the sound of the crashing waves of Lake Victoria.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Luxury cottage interior.

When to Go

The best time to visit the Ssese Islands is during the cooler dry seasons from late June to October.

There is a much smaller chance of rain curtailing planned activities during these months, and wildlife viewing opportunities around the island are better.

Baby chimpanzee swinging through the trees of Kibale Forest.

Baby chimp swinging through the Kibale Forest.

Getting There

Entebbe to Ngamba Island is a 45-minute speed boat or 90-minutes by motorised canoe ride from Nakiwogo Dock, and the chimpanzee sanctuary organises the transfers. Prices range from $336 for one person to $73 per person if there are eight or more people.

A cheaper alternative would be to take the ferry from Entebbe to Buggala,  the main island in the Ssese Islands, and then a lake taxi to Ngamba.

If you are already staying in the Ssese Islands, lake taxis connect the islands and transport to Ngamba Island can be arranged by your accommodation.


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Customer Reviews

Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Michael T 06/June/2021

Above & Beyond
Review of: 3-Day Gorillas trekking and Batwa Experience
Sedrick went above and beyond to accomodate our request for an itinerary alteration due to our compressed time in Uganda. He also compeltely took care of scheduling our covid 19 testing and drove us to the site on arrival.

Our driver/guide Ben was also outstanding!

**We highly recommend using a porter during gorilla trekking as their are some complex parts to the trail/terrain. This also benefits the local people by providing them work.**

David 24/June/2021

Seeing Lots of Animals and Uganda
The schedule suited my time in Uganda exactly and was a great opportunity to view some of the top wildlife and natural wonders of the country. Lodgings range from mid-range to near upscale and are in beautiful locations. Food is good and ample. My driver, Stanley, was expert at spotting wildlife and, very importantly on the Ugandan roads, a careful and skilled driver. You see various parts of the country on this tour, and due to distances, be aware you'll spend quite a few hours on the road. One thing they might add is an itinerary going into more detail ahead of time on each day's activity and suggested things to bring. I was concerned about the needed COVID test for return home, but they took care of arranging that, and it turned out successfully. Overall the tour was a real highlight and is highly recommended.

Justo Nov 18, 2019

I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .