The Primates – Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Uganda

Posted by on July 9, 2018

The Primates of Uganda – Best Place in Africa to see Gorillas – Chimpanzees and other Monkeys

The Primates – Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Uganda

The Primates – Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Uganda – Uganda has a diversity of Primates unlike any other East African Country – Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys and more – all found in the Pearl of Africa.

Uganda is the Primate Capital of East Africa, the best country to see Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys and many other primates.

 The Mountain Gorillas of Uganda:

The number one attraction in Uganda are Mountain Gorillas – located in both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and at Mgahinga Gorilla Park – there are now 14 Gorilla  Family Groups open for visitation – meaning that they are habituated and used to human beings.  80 permits are now available on daily basis in Uganda- which makes it a bit easier for you to find one.

Even if there are no permits available at Uganda Wildlife Authority – tour operators belonging to AUTO have a network with which they inform other members of AUTO and most often permits can be found.

Certainly the Gorillas of Uganda are not to be missed – their locations makes it easy to add-on other activities such as a visit to Lake Bunyonyi, the Batwa Forest Trail with the original people of the forest – the pygmies, Volcano Climbing, Golden Monkey Tracking, Wildlife viewing such as the Ishasha Tree Climbing Lions and Chimpanzee Tracking at Kyambura Gorge or Kibale Forest.

One of our best selling safaris is a 5 day Gorilla – Chimpanzee – Wildlife Safari that combines Bwindi Impenetrable Forest  and Queen Elizabeth Park with the Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha  – the Chimpanzees of the Kyambura Gorge – and other wildlife such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Antelopes, Hippos, Birds,  Crocodiles – a fabulous combination of some of Uganda’s finest offerings.

 The Chimpanzees of Uganda

Our closest relatives – the Chimpanzees – there are about 5000 plus of them in Uganda – the park best known for Chimpanzees is Kibale Forest  – a rainforest jungle, its sheer beauty is a reason to visit the park. 13 kinds of primates are found there – 1500 chimpanzees call Kibale Forest their home – you can track them, go on an all-day habituation experience, do a nocturnal walk in the jungle with spotlights and guides, simply amazing what you can experience in Kibale Rainforest Jungle.

Not only can you track Chimpanzees in the Kibale Rainforest Jungle, but you can do so at Semliki which is also a rainforest Jungle down the fabulous Albertine Rift Escarpment, Budongo Mahogany Forest at Murchison Falls, Kyambura Gorge at Queen Elizabeth Park.

There are various opportunities to see the chimpanzees of Uganda and combine them with the Mountain Gorillas of Uganda – Uganda offers you more primate and wildlife diversity than any other African country, and yet it is off the beaten path of the African Tourist Trek.

Spending an hour with both the chimpanzees of Uganda and the mountain gorillas alone, are worth the trip to this country.  You can also spend the day with chimpanzees by going on a Chimpanzee Habituation Experience.

 The Golden Monkeys of Uganda

The golden monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti) are rare and unique and like its great ape relatives-the mountain gorillas- the golden monkeys can only be found in three countries -Rwanda-Congo- and Uganda in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes.  They weigh 10 to 25 pounds, have a golden body, cheeks and tails with black limbs, crown on their heads and tail end. They are a sub-species of the blue monkey and are found in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Volcanoes.

The number of Golden Monkeys has never been established, yet researchers feel that they are in decline and in the protected areas are not on the increase like the Mountain Gorillas.  They face the same difficulties as mountain gorillas through encroachment by people, snares set for small antelopes, people entering their habitat for firewood and other things.

Most people come to Uganda to seek out the region’s famous gorillas.  But the little cousin – the Golden Monkey offers a Golden Opportunity since they are nearby.

Golden Monkey tracking costs a fraction of the price of Gorilla tracking but offers a most enjoyable time to with these delightful creatures.  Like Chimpanzees and mountain gorillas – the golden monkeys have been habituated – meaning that they are used to humans and will go about with their daily lives while you are there.

At Mgahinga Gorilla National Park you are escorted by guides in small groups and hike to the bamboo forest in the foothills of the majestic volcanoes where the golden monkeys are found.

Golden Monkeys are a bit harder to catch on camera – but use fast shutter speed and low light since you are in a dense forest and it should work out alright.

Primates – Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Uganda, more than any other East African county, one reason so many people choose to visit Uganda.

Monkeys found in Uganda:

 Olive Baboons:

The olive baboon (Papio Anubis), also called the Anubis baboon, is a member of the family Cercopithecidae (Old World monkeys). The species is the most wide-ranging of all baboons, being found in 25 countries throughout Africa, extending from Mali eastward to Ethiopia and Tanzania including throughout Uganda.

They live in savannahs, steppes, and forests. The common name is derived from its coat color, which is a shade of green-grey at a distance. A variety of communications, vocal and non-vocal, facilitate a complex social structure.

In Uganda, you can find them in all Parks with the exception of the three Montane region parks such as Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Rwenzori Mountains, and Mount Elgon.

They usually live in large troops and their dog-like heads make them look fierce and they love to show their menacing teeth.  They are also quite large.  Most safari visitors will see them along their journey in both parks and in the countryside’

 Black and White Colobus Monkeys:

The Black and White Colobus, colobus guereza, is probably the most common and widespread forest monkey in Uganda, occurring in the most sizeable forests, even in well developed riparian woodland.

This beautiful monkey with its black body, white face, white tail and white sides living in small groups can be found in most forests including in Entebbe Botanical Gardens and most National Park.  There is a Colobus Monkey unique to the Rwenzori Mountains. Black and White Colobus will be found in most National Parks in Uganda and also outside of the park.

In the Rwenzori Mountains and in the foothills you will find the Rwenzori species alongside the black and white colobus in the forested parts of the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon and outside of the Park.

 Blue Monkeys:

The Blue Monkey also referred to as the Cercopithecus mitis belong to the Old world monkey ancestry and thrives and are widespread in the sections of East and Central Africa.

They are Dark-Blue-Grey in color, white throat, and a white patch on the chest.  You can find this monkey belonging the guenon family in all of Uganda’s parks with the exception of Murchison Falls National Park and Lake Mburo National Park.

Blue Monkeys live in troops of four to twelve animals.  There are 20 kinds of guenon monkeys, three of them found in Uganda.

Like with other monkeys with the exception of Golden Monkey Treks in Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Uganda Mangabee Monkey Treks in Mabira Forest there are no Blue Monkey Treks, you come upon them while trekking other wildlife or primates.

 De Brazza’s Monkeys:

De Brazza’s Monkey (Cercopithecus neglectus) is an Old World monkey that was named by French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza. Generally known as ‘swamp monkeys.

De Brazza’s Monkey ranges across the swamps, bamboo and dry mountain forests of Uganda.

De Brazza’s Monkey has grey agouti fur with a reddish brown back, black limbs, and tail and a white rump. A white stripe runs down its thigh and an orange crescent-shaped marking appears on its forehead. Its white eyelids match its muzzle and beard. Both male and female De Brazza’s Monkeys have cheek pouches in which they carry food while they forage and males have a blue scrotum

This monkey can be found in the areas of Mount Elgon National Park and Semliki National Park. They are a very beautiful and exotic monkey that even found its way unto the cover of the current Bradt’s Guide to Uganda.

 Grey-Cheeked Mangabees-Uganda Mangabeys:

These monkeys are greyish and black.  They live in low and moderate altitude rainforests.  They act in a baboon-like manner.  Have a shaggy appearance and are found in Semliki and Kibale Forest National Parks and in Mabira Forest where you will be able to track them soon.

There are both Grey Cheeked Mangabey Monkeys and Ugandan Mangabee Monkeys in Uganda.

The Uganda mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae) is a species of Old World monkey found only in Uganda. This crested mangabey was previously thought to just be a population of the grey-cheeked mangabey (L. albigena).

This species is significantly smaller than the grey-cheeked mangabey, with a shorter skull and smaller face Uganda Mangabey Monkeys are now being habituated  and are ready for visitation.

 L’Hoest’s Monkeys:

The L’Hoest’s monkeys are also called the mountain monkeys or Cercopithecus lhoesti. They are guenon s commonly found in the montane forests in Albertine Rift regions which includes southwestern parts of Uganda

They prefer residing in the montane tropical rainforests, both the primary and secondary forests. So while in the secondary forests, normally they occupy those very thick underbrush which grows in places where the trees have fallen. L’Hoest’s monkeys mainly live in groups and in places with altitudes that range from 900- 2,500 meters.

This is a very attractive guenon and not too often seen since it loves to hide in the dense forest and is terrestrial. Its tail is always in an upright position.

In Uganda, you can find them Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Kibale Forest, Maragambo Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains Foothills.

 Patas Monkey:

The patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas), also known as the wadi monkey or hussar monkey, is a ground-dwelling monkey found in over semi-arid areas of West Africa, and into East Africa.

This is a terrestrial monkey found in the savannah parks of northern Uganda such as Murchison Falls Park, Kidepo Valley Park, and the Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve.

Some people may confuse them with the Vervet Monkeys, however, Patas are larger, have a light reddish coat and a black stripe above the eyes and are often found on the Savannas.

If you go to Murchison Falls Park – you will most likely see them. There one at least is picked

 Colobus Monkeys:

The Ugandan red colobus has a rust-red cap with a dark grey to blackface, although infants are born with completely black faces.

There is more variation amongst the coat colors of the Ugandan red colobus with back color ranging from black to dark grey through to a reddish brown.

The sides of the body and the arms and legs are a light grey. They have very long dark to light brown tails which they rely on for balancing when climbing and leaping through the canopy. The Ugandan red colobus has dark grey to black hands and feet and their feet are very long which helps them leap large distances[5]

The Ugandan red colobus, like all colobus monkeys, has thumbs which are so reduced in size they are almost absent. It is thought this feature may help them moving through the forest canopy.

In Uganda, you can find the Red Colobus Monkey in Kibale Forest and smaller numbers in Semliki National Park. Those who visit our parks with eyes wide open will fin all kinds of primates including the Red Colobus Monkey.

 Red Tailed Monkey:

The red-tailed monkey is named as it sounds, for its red coloration of the tail’s underside as well as the bi-coloration of the tail as the reddish color increases from the base to the tip. There are other features characteristic to this mammal as well such as the white nose and cheeks in the midst of black or dark grey body fur. Red-tailed monkeys also have very large, elastic cheeks which are used in gathering food and storing it in their mouths for safety

Very common monkey and in Uganda the red-tailed monkey and Blue Monkeys often interbreed in Kibale Forest. You can find red-tailed monkeys in Uganda in Kibale Forest, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Semiliki and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Kibale Forest is home to 13 primates and if you are a primate lover than you do not want to miss Kibale Forest.

Nocturnal Primates: Guided nocturnal walks in Kibale Forest Park allow you to see the nocturnal primates as spotlights are used to point them out by the UWA Ranger Guide.  Otherwise, they are seldom seen by most because of their nocturnal ways.


Galagos –ɡəˈlɡz, also known as bushbabies, bush babies, or nagapies (meaning “little night monkeys” in Afrikaans), are small nocturnal primates native to continental Africa, and make up the family Galagidae (also sometimes called Galagonidae). They are sometimes included as a subfamily within the Lorisidae or Loridae.

According to some accounts, the name “bushbaby” comes from either the animal’s cries or its appearance. The Afrikaans name nagapie is because they are almost exclusively seen at night, while the Ghanaian name aposor is given to them because of their firm grip on branches.[

The bushbaby’s night cry is one of the distinct African sounds.  As you shine your flashlight or torch into the tree where the cry is coming from, you will see the big eyes of the bushbaby.

They are found in most Ugandan parks and you can find them on night drives and also on nocturnal parks in various parks.


Potto, (Perodicticus potto), also called a bush bear, tree bear, or softly-softly, slow-moving tropical African primate. The potto is a nocturnal tree dweller found in rainforests from Sierra Leone eastward to Uganda. It has a strong grip and clings tightly to branches, but when necessary it can also move quickly through the branches with a smooth gliding gait that makes it quite inconspicuous. It feeds on fruit, small animals, and insects (especially larvae) and curls up to sleep by day in tree hollows. Its length is about 35 cm (14 inches), excluding its furry 5–10-cm (2–4-inch) tail.

It has large eyes, sturdy limbs, stublike second fingers and toes, and dense woolly fur, which is grizzled reddish in color. A ridge of short, blunt spines formed by the neck vertebrae runs down the nape. The spines are covered by thin, highly innervated skin and are thought to be sensitive to the movements of potential predators when the potto tucks its head between its arms in a defensive posture. Gestation is six months; single young are typical. Medium sized sloth like creature can be found on night walks in Kibale Forest, it can also be found at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Queen Elizabeth Park.

Primates – Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Monkeys found in Uganda – the Pearl of Africa known for its Primates such as Gorillas and Chimpanzees, however wherever you go you will encounter monkeys of all kinds having more species of primates than any other country in East Africa.

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