Located 23km southeast of Entebbe in Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, or 'Chimp Island', is home to over 40 orphaned or rescued chimpanzees who are unable to return to the wild. Humans are confined to one of the 40 hectares while the chimps wander freely through the rest, emerging from the forest twice a day for feeding at 11am and 2.30pm. This coincides with visitor arrival times to the island, with viewings of the chimps via a raised platform.
While it can't compare to the experience of seeing chimps in the wild, especially due to the large electrified fence that separates chimp from human, it still makes for a worthwhile excursion to observe the animals' remarkable behaviour. Guides here are informative, and there are individual profiles for each chimp, detailing both their distinct personalities and history. There are also big monitor lizards in residence and abundant birdlife.
The island is a project of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust, which arranges bookings for day trips and accommodation.
Rates are based on a minimum group of two, though one individual can go at a higher rate. It's cheaper with larger group sizes. The half-day trip includes entry, guide and boat transport. Two trips depart from Entebbe per day: in the morning at 9am, returning at 12.45pm, or departing at 12.45pm and returning by 4.45pm.
The CSWCT also offers an overnight experience (first night/additional nights US$539/185) in a self-contained, solar-powered safari tent. Rates include lodging, full board, transport, activities and entry, based on two guests. Check the website for add-on activities.
Arrive via speed boat (50 minutes) or motorised canoe (90 minutes) from the Entebbe dock. Those who arrive via their own transport must pay an entry fee (adult/child US$35/15).