Uganda Travel Series Part 8-The End : )
The Island of Last Hope In Uganda
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Lake Mburo To Entebbe
Day 17 -19
Leaving Lake Mburo National Park we head back to Entebbe. Entebbe is where our journey in Uganda began. The road back to the city will be paved the entire way, passing over the equator line, before we stop in Kampala City for shopping at the local craft and jewelry shops.
Plan on bargaining with the local women, and this is the one place in all of Africa that felt a lot like Mexico. I travel so much that souvenirs have to be really special for me to want to take them home. I found the hand made jewelry a nice and compact present to take home for friends and family. I also bought a couple of the very small soap stone carvings of elephants. There were many shops and I bought one or two items from each store, and they seemed very happy with this arrangement. Once I had all my souvenirs bagged up I was back on the road to Entebbe.
We arrived at our quaint hotel in the inner city of Entebbe, and enjoyed catching up on email. Our tour company asked to visit with us at the hotel. Florance the owner of the agency is an oddity in Uganda where few women own business. We were happy to give her our tour business, and gave her thoughtful advice on improving her services. There really was not much to improve upon, as things went pretty smoothly considering the length of time we were traveling around Uganda.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Ngamba Island is a very nice place to visit. You will need to make reservations for the ferry or speed boat that crosses Lake Victoria. The tour of the island leaves from Entebbe pier. It is a wonderful place that many visitors to Uganda will never see, and it is to bad because Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary it the last hope for some chimpanzees. It is a lovely sanctuary on approximately 100 acres of land, with a few acres for the home base for operations. These few acres are separated by a very high electric fence.
The small island is home to about 48 orphaned chimps that have been rescued throughout Uganda’s country side. There are comfortable sleeping facilities on the island for visitors to say overnight. There is also the opportunity to closely observe and interact with the chips in a unique setting. Some of the island chimp interaction will need vaccinations, so before leaving home have yourself inoculated if you want close up interaction. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary is run by the Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT). I was very moved during our visit on how deeply committed the organization is to the conservation, education of local communities, the Ugandan government, and the wildlife authorities. They are very aware of the need to offer a safe place for orphaned and confiscated chimps.
Boat Trip To Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
After breakfast our guide Ben picked us up and deposited us at the Entebbe pier. We were taking the 9:30 speed boat across to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The boat is not a private boat, but we were the only guest this time of year. (February). The boat ride takes a little over an hour, and passes by a couple of fishing villages on the way. The water was a little rough when we took our tour, and it got a little cold. The boat supplied us with yellow rain jackets, but I’m not sure they have enough for everyone if the boat was filled to capacity. I suggest bringing your own rain poncho just in case.
We arrived at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where we were met by our personal guide. It was pretty much a private tour as there were only two of us. The guide is a volunteer that lives and works on the island. He would like a paid position, but the sanctuary does not have enough money to hire him, so he is gaining experience, and has room & board on the island. The guide gave us an overview of the island, and the day-to-day operations. They do not ask for donations directly, but it is implied. Your park fee is not enough to sustain the care of these beautiful animals. This is a Non Governmental Organization, so it’s donations must come from visitors to Ngamba Island, people who adopt chimps on-line, and other organizations who give donations.
After the overview and small tour, you get to meet the chimps. Standing behind a very high electrically wired fence, the chimps start coming out of the forest as the workers call them. It is feeding time at Ngamba Island. I had the best time watching the antics of these agile apes. They can catch flying food with one hand while running. Pretty amazing. There was lots of noise and commotion going on the entire time. Some fending off others for the food, others chasing each other around, and then suddenly it is over and everyone settles down either in groups or alone to enjoy the fruits provided by the caretakers. Slowly they saunter back into the forest. They will return again in the evening to be fed, sleep in the “cages” where they are monitored, and to be medicated.
I really enjoyed this trip to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and I wish more people took the time to come visit the orphaned and abused apes. They can use your donations, and support. This is the Island of last hope for most of these chimps….the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is worth your time, and donations.
End of the Journey
After our tour of the island, our driver Ben transferred us to the Entebee Airport, where we flew home. Ben provided us safe passage during our journey, a few laughs, and good advice on our 19 day journey in Uganda. We learned many things about the people, the culture, and the animals. I left Africa with a heavy heart, knowing that the burden of Africa’s burgeoning population will pay a heavy toll in the future, on the rest of the world, and on the wild animal populations in Africa.
I a very happy that I made the journey to Tanzania and Uganda. If I only had time for a short tour, I would visit Tanzania exclusively. Uganda has much to offer, but cannot match the concentration of animals that are available for viewing in Tanzania National Parks. Tanzania for me provided a true wild life adventure, Uganda was a bit of disappointment once we had visited Tanzania.
I look forward to exploring more of the African Continent in the future. Africa is an amazing adventure, and provided many once in a life time moments I will treasure.
In case you missed any part of 8 part journey below are the links to follow the complete 19 days in Uganda.
- Uganda Travel Series-Traveling to Uganda Gorilla Trekking and Game Drives
- Kidepo National Park- Solitude, Beauty, and Lion Country
- Enjoy Murchison Falls For Game Drives & Boat Tours
- Fort Portal Uganda-The Lush Heartland of Uganda
- Queen Elizabeth Park Uganda- Tree Lions, Elephants & More
- Not So Magical Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi
- Lake Mburo’s Wildlife Casualties of Africa’s Growing Population
- The Island of Last Hope-Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary