Visiting “Chimp Island” or formally Ngamba Island was a fascinating introduction to our visit in Uganda. A 45 minute boat ride takes you to a small island where there are over 40 chimpanzees. These chimps are orphaned or confiscated from illegal poaching or from the pet trade. You have your choice between a day trip or an overnight trip where you would get a more interactive experience with the chimps. We chose the day trip and we were both very happy with our time spent there.
Once we arrived we were quickly given some security instructions. We are separated from the chimps by an electrified fence, but they are known to have found ways to escape. We were told that if we hear a whistle blow that we are to run into the water. Chimps do not like the water. However, there are crocodiles in the water and we were told that we were better off taking our chances with the crocs than the chimps. “What are we doing here?” was a predominant thought running through our heads at this time! There were a couple of chimps in a special holding facility for those that figured it out. Luckily we did not hear a whistle blow…
Once our briefing was complete we walked over to the chimps where they were just getting their lunch fed to them. The sounds the chimp makes (especially when hungry!) was quite loud and such a cool thing to hear. It was a great experience to see them getting fed and watch the social interactions within the troops. Once they get fed they run off into the woods and our time viewing them is over. I do wish we had the time to have spent the night on the island as it was hard to leave. Maybe next time….