Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary has reduced rates for domestic tourists by about 30 percent ahead of its grand reopening to the public for business.
Operations at the Island, home of 50 chimpanzees, were suspended in March after President Museveni imposed a lockdown on Uganda as one of the ways of controlling the spread of Covid-19. But in a phased manner, the President recently lifted the suspension on most economic activities including tourism.
The sanctuary with now reopen on October 1, 2020.
“We wish to inform the public that after consultations with various stakeholders and putting in place Standard Operating Procedures for the containment of the possible spread of COVID-19 to chimpanzees, we are now open for tourism at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, starting October 1st 2020,” Dr Joshua Rukundo, the sanctuary’s Executive Director told the media this week at the sanctuary.
The function was graced by officials from Ministry of Tourism, Uganda Tourism Board, Chimpanzee Trust, sponsors and media among others.
Locals will now pay Shs180,000, down from Shs250,000 and according to Dr Rukundo, the fee shall cater for transfers to and from the Island, entrance to the sanctuary and guiding fees.
He added that tourism activities shall be undertaken in a manner that ensures all guidelines set by the Ministry of Health are followed.
These include mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infrared thermometers on all boats heading to Ngamba Island, hand washing/sanitizing at the entrances.
“Bags and equipment shall also be disinfected while wearing N95, surgical or double layered masks while on the boat and at the sanctuary at all times is a must. Above all, observing social distance at all times is a requirement,” management noted.
“Government guidelines of carrying half capacity to observe social distance shall apply to all boats transporting visitors to Ngamba Island sanctuary. Visitors going to the sanctuary are encouraged to carry their hand sanitizer for extra safety. However, the management of the sanctuary shall avail handwashing and hand sanitization facilities at designated points at the sanctuary.”
An isolation centre for case management of guests that may present with signs of illness has also been set up.
At the same function, African Gold Refinery promised to continue providing food for the chimps until such a time that the tourism at the sanctuary had normalized.
So far, they have supported the sanctuary with food stuff worth Shs40,000,000.
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