Primate Watching safaris in Uganda

Primate Watching in Uganda

Uganda is home to many unique primate species for Primate Watching safaris in Uganda and many of these are found in Kibale National Park which harbors the highest density of primate species. These most common species here include; chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, Red tailed monkeys, L’ Hoest, Olive baboons and Blue monkeys. The mountain gorillas can also be found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and in Mgahinga national park. The other primate specie is the golden monkey which can be spotted in many different national parks in Uganda.

The different primate species found in Uganda are described in detail below;

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

This is also known as the highlight of any safari in Uganda and they are found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and in Mgahinga national park. There are over 14 gorilla families which are open to tourists to visit. There are only 80 gorilla permits available to tourists on a daily basis in Uganda. This makes it easy for gorilla trackers to find permits to at least visit one of the gorilla families.

Gorilla permits to view these endangered species are given out by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and in case a client misses out on getting a permit, AUTO as an association takes the responsibility to always avail its members with important information about the availability of gorilla permits on specific dates.

Bwindi impenetrable has also got some chimpanzees and monkeys as part of its primate species. Primate Watching safaris in Uganda

There are also many other tourist activities that can be enjoyed apart from mountain gorilla trekking, some of these include; a visit to the pygmies, golden monkey tracking, game viewing, guided nature walks, volcano climbing as well as bird watching. The other species of mountain gorillas can be found in Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and also in Virunga national park of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda

These are our closest relatives and they are over 5000 plus situated in Uganda. The best tourist destination known for chimpanzee trekking is Kibale National Park which is a rain forest and has got over 13 primate species, these can be tracked at any day of the year and other tourists can decide to do Chimpanzee habituation experience which takes the whole day.

1 Day Ngamba Island Day Tour

These chimpanzee species can be tracked starting from 8:00am and the time of ending the track depends on when you locate them. Chimpanzees can be tracked in many different locations apart from Kibale National Park. These include Semliki National Park which is also a rainforest located in the Albertine Rift escarpments, Kyambura gorge in Maramagambo forest located in Queen Elizabeth National Park and in Budongo Forest which is located just near Murchison Falls National Park. The other place where chimpanzees are kept is the Zoo which is Uganda Wildlife Education Centre as well as in Ngamba Island Sanctuary where these orphaned primates are kept for tourism purposes.

Chimpanzee safari Uganda for Primate Watching safaris in Uganda

These chimpanzee tours go hand in hand with the mountain gorillas and it’s a great opportunity to have them on the same safari in Uganda. You will enjoy these primates as well as wildlife species found in many other national parks in Uganda.

It’s also been discovered the most common popular tourist activities in Kibale is the Kanyanchu primate walk and full-day chimpanzee Habituation Experience, this mostly works with the chimpanzee community which is to go under habituation. The early tourists can view the chimpanzees leave their overnight nests from 6:00- 6:30 am before copulating, feeding, breastfeeding, hunting, patrolling, resting as well as displaying until the time of building new nests for resting at around 7:00 pm.

Golden Monkey Tracking In Uganda

These are unique creatures and are relatives of both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. These species can be found in three countries including Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These also weigh between 10 to 25 pounds and have got a golden body, tails, cheeks, bodies and black limbs. They are also known as a subspecies of blue monkeys which are mainly found in bamboo forests in the Virunga Volcanoes of Congo.

Their number has never been put to paper but researchers recently found out that this specie of monkeys is greatly declining since they face many difficulties like the mountain gorillas like poaching, diseases, habitat loss, war and unrest and local community encroachments. Golden monkey can be done in Kibale National Park and also in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park during your gorilla trekking in Uganda.

Golden monkeys Uganda as part of Primate Watching safaris in Uganda

They have been habituated to human presence and these offer a wonderful experience to visitors like mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. The male golden monkeys have got a reddish color on the back with darker patches while the females are lighter in color and have fewer brown patches. These also live in groups of 30 to 80 individuals being led by an adult male. The female golden monkeys usually defend the territories and provide protection. They fed to about 20 to 30 plant species including the leaves, fruits, invertebrates as well as bamboo. This species of primates have a gestation period of 5 months and give birth to only one offspring.

They can as well be tracked in Mgahinga national park and usually, a guide will escort you when you are in small groups and start to hike the bamboo forests where these beautiful primates live. These playful species are hard to get on camera and tourists are advised to use low light in the dense forest.

Monkey Species Found in Uganda for Primate Watching safaris in Uganda


These are known as olive baboons and are found in Uganda. They can be viewed in three main national parks namely; Mgahinga national park, Mount Elgon national park, and Rwenzori national park. More so, these olive baboons can be found in almost 25 countries in Africa. These are known to live in large groups of about 150 individuals comprising of few male individuals, many females and their young ones, large in size and are fierce due to their dog-like faces and menacing teeth. These baboons are large enough to be viewed by all the visitors that come to visit the national parks where these beautiful primates are found.

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Mother olive baboon (Papio hamadryas anubis) with babies in a tree. Kibale National Park, Uganda.

They are interested in living in open woodland, savannah, rainforests, steppes, and in large plains of grasslands. Their name is derived from the coat color which is a shade of the green–grey that can be viewed at a distance. The female baboons are sexually active at the age of 7 or 8 and the male at 10 years old. They are also omnivorous species and mainly feed on invertebrates, plants, birds, and small mammals.

Black And White Colobus Monkeys

These are known as old monkeys of the genus colobus family and mainly live in Africa. These are greatly related to the brown colobus monkeys and mainly live in Riverine forests, wooded grasslands and forests. Their groups are made of nine individuals including a single male, many females and their young ones. Their bodies are black in color, with a white face as well as a tail. They can be viewed in Entebbe botanical gardens, and in many national parks of Uganda. You have a great opportunity of taking their photos at any time.

Blue Monkeys

There are many in East Africa and mainly found in Congo, Angola, Zambia, and Uganda. These have little hair on their faces and give a blue appearance most of the time but not really blue in color. These mainly live in montane, bamboo forests, ever green forests, and also in the forest canopy. They like humid and shady places with plenty of water. Mainly feed on leaves, invertebrates as well as fruits. Their groups are made of 4 to 12 individuals and mainly consist of one male, and many females with their young ones. These can easily be viewed from Murchison falls national park and Lake Mburo national park, their gestation period is usually 5 months with females giving birth every after two years.

De Brazza’s Monkeys

These are mostly found in central Africa and it’s widely spread in the forests of Africa. These are mainly known as swamp monkeys with grey fur and a reddish brown back with black tails and limbs. These mainly stay in swamps, dry mountain forests, and bamboo areas and are situated in countries including; Cameroon, Uganda, Congo, Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan.

They also have a life span of 22 years and live in small social groups of 5 to 30 individuals headed by a male whose main job is to provide protection to the group members. These also communicate through shaking tree branches, making booming sounds, and nodding. In Uganda, they can be found in Mount Elgon National Park and Semliki national park.

The Grey Cheeked Mangabey Monkey

It’s known to be specie of the World old monkey found in Uganda. These are mainly grey and black in color. These also live in moderate and low altitude rain forests. These pose features of the baboons and have got a shaggy appearance and mainly located in Kibale national Park and in Semliki national park. These can also be tracked in Mabira Forest which is considered to be the largest of forests in Uganda. In most of the parks above, these species of monkeys are being habituated and will be soon available for visitors to track.

L’ Hoest’s Monkeys

These are sometimes referred to as mountain monkeys and are most located in Uganda and in the Congo basin, Rwanda, and Burundi. These species mostly live in mountainous areas and dominate small groups. During your gorilla trekking Rwanda experience in Volcanoes National Park, u can see these creatures! These are short and have got dark brown coats across their bellies and back. The males weigh 6 kgs and the females weigh 3.5 kgs. These are also referred to as forest monkeys and like living in moist and primary forests. These monkey species are mostly found in lowland rainforests, wooded savannahs, and forest galleries of mountain slopes.

Their gestation period

They have a gestation period of 5 months and females give birth to the single young one. These are also herbivores and they mostly feed on fruits, mushrooms, roots, as well as roots, they also sometimes feed on lizards, eggs as well as small birds. In Uganda, they can be found in Bwindi impenetrable national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Kibale National park, and in Budongo Forest.

Patas Monkeys

These are sometimes known as wadi monkeys and are mostly found in semi-arid area in West Africa. These are also considered to be close relatives of the vervet Monkeys. The adult patas monkey is larger than the females and these are considered to be the fastest among all the primates. These species always live in a group of 60 individuals with one adult male, and many females.

These are mostly found in savannah, dense woodlands as well as semi deserts areas. They mostly feed on insects, seeds, gum, tubers as well as smaller primates. In Uganda, patas monkeys are mostly found in Murchison falls national park. Also, in Pian Upe wildlife reserve and Kidepo valley national park. You can also view the patas monkey when you visit Rwanda for safaris including Rwanda gorilla tours.

Patas Monkeys

Red Colobus Monkeys

These are closely related to the black and white colobus monkeys and are found in western, eastern and central Africa. These live in large groups of about 80 individuals and have many females within the group. Red Colobus monkeys live in humid forests with thickets and scrubs. Their diet mainly consists of flowers, young leaves, as well as fruits. They are usually social and mostly found in Kibale National Park and Semliki national park.

Red-Tailed Monkey

This is a very common monkey specie in Uganda and are usually in black, orange or red in color. Commonly located in Cameroon, Congo, Rwanda, Kenya Zambia, Uganda and Angola. These are relatively small primates since males weigh only 4.1 kgs and females weigh 2.9 kgs. Red tailed monkeys live in large variety of habitants mainly found in canopy tropical rain forests, swamps, riverine forests and many types of woodland.

These monkey species also feed on insects, leaves, flowers, buds and gums, they are generally herbivores animals. They use visual, auditory and tactile as a means of communication. This includes; raising eye brows, stretching of the face skin and bobbing of the head. Their life span is 30 years. Also, males usually reach their sexual maturity at 6 years and females at 5 years. In Uganda, they can be in Kibale national park, Bwindi impenetrable national park, Semliki and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Nocturnal Primates

These are mainly an ancient group of mammals with over 233 species dividing into different families. This poses large eyes to see during the darkness. These include night monkeys, tarsiers, Aye Aye, bush babies, Dwarf lemurs and the Mouse. Also there are the Lorises and the Pottos. These are mainly in Kibale national park and can be on guided walks within the forest.

Bush Babies

These are also known as the Galagos and are small in size measuring 37cm in length and weigh only 150g when fully grown. Primate Watching safaris in Uganda. These have also got large brown orange eyes which help them to see during the dark. These mostly live in sub-Saharan Africa in semi-arid areas, scrub forests and in savannah areas. They mostly feed on beetles, scorpions, grasshoppers, moths, small reptiles, as well as butterflies. These also give birth to only one offspring and their gestation period is 4 months. They are in most of Uganda’s national parks.


These are from the family of Lorisidae and are medium in size. These are in Kibale national park at night hours. They can also be in Bwindi impenetrable national park and also in Queen Elizabeth National park. Pottos are 39cm in length and weigh approximately between 600 to 1600 grams. They like living in canopy rain forests and can be in Kenya, Congo, Guinea, and Uganda. These species also move slowly with a careful mode and mostly feed on insects, leaves and scrubs.

Uganda has got many primate species and these can be on any safari to the pearl of Africa. These mainly include; mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees, monkey species as well as golden monkeys.

Top safari packages to see primates:

8 Days Uganda Gorillas, Chimps and wildlife safari


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