Primates- Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Rwanda

Posted by on June 14, 2017

The Primates and Monkeys that one can find in Rwanda

Discover the Primates- Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Rwanda

The Primates- Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Rwanda – if you love Primates –  Rwanda is the place for you.  Rwanda has raised its Gorilla Permit Prices to 1500 USD, even Rwandans have to now pay that price.  The Permits were raised to their present level due to the conservation effort costs, support for local Community Infrastructure and as part of its marketing Rwanda as a Prime Upmarket Tourist Destination.

  Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda-Volcanoes National Park:

The main reason that people from around the world are the mountain gorillas found in the foothills and mountainsides of the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda.

Mountain Gorillas are only found in the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, besides there – Mountain Gorillas are present in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where there are presently 400 plus remaining Mountain Gorillas.

Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park provides the perfect scenic setting for Mountain Gorilla Tracking and many other things can be combined such as Volcano Hiking, Golden Monkey Tracking, Birding, even caving.

The Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park can only be seen in the wild – there are none found in any zoo in the world.

  Chimpanzees in Rwanda-Nyungwe Forest:

The best place to see the Chimpanzees of Rwanda is Nyungwe Forest – Chimpanzees are the only great apes found in the park.  In order to track means an early start such 5:30 am.  Daylight in Rwanda comes just before six.

Chimpanzees move each day and build new nests.  It is estimated that there are about 500 Chimpanzees in the park – tracking them does not mean you will see them but the chances of you seeing them have increased in recent times and more and more visitors spend a full hour with them while in the park on a chimpanzee trek.

Chimpanzees live for about 40 to 45 years – even as you track them you will soon learn that chimpanzees are quite intelligent.

Here in Nyungwe Forest you will find them mostly foraging for fruit, however, they will also hunt and eat smaller mammals including monkeys at times.

Chimpanzees – about 20 of them are also found in Gishwati Forest in Northwestern Uganda.

  Golden Monkeys of Rwanda – Volcanoes National Park:

The Golden Monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti) are best seen in the Bamboo Forests of the Virungas and in Rwanda that means tracking them in Volcanoes National Park.

They are also found in Gishwati Forest in Northwestern Rwanda.  They are also rumored to be in a patch of Bamboo Forest of Nyungwe Forest however that is unconfirmed.  The best place to see them is in Volcanoes National Park.

There are two groups that can be tracked in Volcanoes National Park The Musongga Golden Monkey group comprised of about 100 monkeys on the slopes of Mount Karisimbi and the Kabatwa Golden Monkey Group made up of about 70 monkeys in the Bamboo Forest on Mount Sabyinyo.

They are colorful and it is a delight to observe them as they scamper about in the thick Bamboo Forest while they feed on leaves and fruit.

 Angolan Colobus Monkeys of Rwanda – Nyungwe Forest:

The Angolan Colobus Monkeys are black with white ornaments – when you observe them in the forest while tracking them in Nyungwe Forest you will be amazed how large the group is – over 350 to 400 individuals in size – comprising the largest group of Angolan Colobus Monkeys in all of Africa.

The Angolan Colobus Trek is not as strenuous as the Chimpanzee Trek tends to be and the sheer number of them in the tree-tops, the chatter of this groups delights visitors including their sloppy eating habits which actually help spread the seed of the fruit that they are eating in the forest.

If you want to the Angolan (Ruwenzori) Colobus Monkeys in abundance than a Trek – actually it will be more like a nature walk is the perfect morning activity for you.

The Angolan Colobus walk has more in it than simply seeing the Colobus Monkeys but you will see other primates, birds and the vegetation of this montane forest.

 L’Hoest’s Monkeys of Rwanda – Nyungwe Forest:

L’Hoest Monkeys at times referred to as Mountain Monkeys are endemic to the Albertine Rift and you can find them the Rwenzori Mountains and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda and in Rwanda they are found in Nyungwe and Gishwati Forest – the latter is a forest that is in the process of being restored to a National Park.

They have dark black bodies and a fuzzy white beard – they move on all fours when on the ground as they forage for good.

The males weigh between 5 kilos, while females are smaller in size – they spend their times in various forest which are found in Nyungwe Forest.

Their small groups are dominated by females with normally only one make in the group they can be often seen from the main road that cuts through the forest near the Unwink Reception to the forest.

  Owl-Faced Monkeys of Rwanda – Nyungwe Forest:

Owl Faced Monkey unique in that it has a beak-like nose and the face resembles an owl.  This shy monkey is rarely seen but you just might be the lucky one as you hike along the many trails of Nyungwe Forest.

The Owl Faced is closely related to the L’Hoest’s Monkey and like it Owl Faced Monkey lives in small groups of one male and various female.  Because Owl Faced Monkeys are so elusive they have been hard to study

The Owl-Faced Monkey  gray and has a white stripe that goes from the top of the lip to the top of the nose give the owl monkey that owl face

In Rwanda, you find the Owl-Faced Money in Nyungwe Forest.

  Dent’s Mona Monkey:

 The Dent’s Mona Monkey is found in Nyungwe Forest. You often find the Dent’s Mona Monkey with other monkey’s such as Blue Monkeys or Gray-Cheeked Mangabeys, also the large groups of Ruwenzori Colobus Monkeys.

The Dent’s Mona Group is relatively small with one male surrounded by his harem, however once again as with other monkeys, it is females who rule the group.

Dent’s Mona Monkeys have a long black tail, a white rump, and a brown back. Their faces are quite furry and when they find food they carry it off with their large cheek pouches. They prefer fruit but at times will resort to leaves and even insects.

You can find Dent’s Mona Monkeys are found in Nyungwe Forest.

 Blue Monkey

The name Blue Monkey may be deceiving since, in reality, the Blue Monkey is not blue.  The real colors of a blue monkey is light grey and an olive fur that together gives off this kind of blue hue as they are in the tree-tops.

The Blue Monkeys live in the tree tops that make up the forest canopy in Nyungwe Forest meaning that you have to look up in order to spot them while on the trails in Nyungwe Forest.  They rarely come down to the forest floor but find food and shelter in the tree-tops.

They live in female-centric groups of 10 to 40 with only one male. All the females raise each others, infants.

These tree-dwelling monkeys can be found around Uwinka Visitors Center in Nyungwe Forest.

 Olive Baboon:

Olive Baboons can be found in various parts of Rwanda including on the Road at Nyungwe Forest and inside of Akagera National Park.

They are primarily a terrestrial primate and they live in large groups.  After the chimpanzees, this is the largest of primates and the stockiest.

They have an olive dark coat and a dog-like snout and threatening teeth.  The Olive Baboon is quite aggressive and they frequently raid crops.

They have been known to take things from vehicles with passengers inside and at Akagera Game Lodge – keep your door locked since they are known for raiding the rooms for food.

 Vervet Monkey:

This is grey Guenon that is very common all East Africa including in Rwanda in Nyungwe Forest they can be found around the Gisakura Guesthouse – the Vervet Monkey is often found n the savannah and open woodlands including in Akagera National Park.

They like the Baboons raid crops and again even enter homes to forage for food, not quite as brazen as baboons however they do their share of raiding.

They have a black face mask and the rest of the body is gray.  This is the most numerous monkey in the world and is quite common including all over Rwanda.

There are no Vervet Monkey Treks – you simple run into them wherever you go.


Most likely you will not see any pottos since they are creatures of the night and you have to take a nocturnal walk or game drive in Akagera National Park.

They are part of 4 nocturnal primates found in Nyungwe Forest. Pottos are closely related to the Lemurs of Madagascar.

The potto is small growing to 30 to 40 centimeters, it has a distinct odor that some liken to curry.

They are grey-brown in color with a wooly fur. The hands and toes are shaped in such a manner that they can grasp branches firmly without falling.

The neck has sharp point which they use to protect themselves.


Bushbaby – the name may come from their appearance or their cry.  They are found in various parts of East Africa and beyond including Zanzibar.

They are nocturnal creatures and can only be seen on night game drives or nocturnal Forest Walks.

They can leap quite a distance and move swiftly on the branches of trees.  They tend to live in dry woodlands and in Savannah areas.

They are very small with a wooly thick fur that ranges from silver-gray to dark-brown.  They have very large eyes that give them good night vision, have strong hind limbs for leaping and have keen ears that help them to hunt insects.  Their diet includes small birds. insects, fruit, seeds, flower, nuts and tree gums.

Enjoy the various Primates- Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Rwanda in Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes National Park and in Gishwati-Mukura National Park – the latter being a new park in Rwanda where both Golden Monkeys and Chimpanzees are found.


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