Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Ngamba Island
The Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary was established in October 1998 to care for orphaned chimpanzees that were rescued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Many chimpanzees have been rescued from poachers and are unlikely to survive if released back into the wild.
Today, 47 chimpanzee cubs live in the reserve, while the staff of the reserve is doing everything possible to save chimpanzees, namely, the neutralization of hunter traps, educational programs, ecotourism, projects to preserve the natural habitat.
Ngamba Island is about 40 hectares of rainforest, located a few minutes by boat (23 km) from Entebbe, near the equator, on Lake Victoria. The island has a wide variety of wild animals and plants and a wide variety of natural food for chimpanzees. These wonderful primates are absolutely safe here.
The island is a green project of sorts, with dry closets, rainwater harvesting, proper waste management practices, and using solar power to run electricity and hot water.
The sanctuary is managed by the CSWCT organization, whose name can be deciphered as “Monkey Sanctuary, as well as the Society for the Protection of Wild Animals” (Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust). Deeply committed to and involved in community conservation principles, CSWCT also works with the Ugandan government and wildlife agencies on rescue operations and orphaned or removed chimpanzees from their habitat.
The reserve is open year-round to visitors who pay a nominal entrance fee to view one or both chimpanzee feedings. Day visits and overnight visits are available, during which visitors stay in luxury tents. The island provides day and overnight visitors with an exceptional opportunity to observe and interact with stunning chimpanzees up close in a unique setting.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the far southwest of Uganda, about 15 km south of the town of Kisoro and about 55 km west of Kabale, the subregion’s largest city. The park is located high in the mountains, at an altitude of 2227 m to 4127 m. As the name of the national park suggests, it was created to protect the mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, as well as the endangered golden monkeys. Mgahinga is one of the two parks in Uganda where mountain gorillas live, so its importance is very high, although this park is the smallest in size in the country (about 33.7 sq. Km).
Gorilla visits are limited to 6 per day and must be booked in advance at the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala. The park has one group of gorillas that are used to the presence of humans, but sometimes they cross the border into Rwanda, which makes the park not the most reliable place to observe these amazing creatures.
In addition to the importance of the park for wildlife, the park also has important cultural significance, especially for the indigenous Batwa Pygmies. The people of this tribe of hunters and gatherers were the first people in this forest, and their ancient knowledge of it and its secrets is unparalleled.
Among the most prominent features of Mgahinga Park are its three conical extinct volcanoes, which are part of the Virunga Range, which stretches along the border of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. The slopes of the volcanoes are full of different ecosystems and have great biodiversity, and their peaks are the bright backdrop of this magnificent landscape. You can climb any of these extinct volcanoes – Mount Muhavura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabinho – in one day.
Mgahinga Park borders the Virunga National Park in the DRC to the west and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda to the south. These three parks together form the Virunga Protected Area (VCA), which covers an area of 434 sq. km. With an area of 33.7 sq. km, Mgahinga occupies only 8% of the territory of the VCA. Each country is responsible for protecting its own part of the VCA.
Each year, Mgahinga experiences two rainy seasons, from February to May and from September to December. The maximum amount of precipitation is 250 mm (in October) and the minimum is 10 mm (in July).