The Primates of Uganda – Best Place in Africa to see Primates
Here are the Primates found in Uganda-the Premier Primate Destination
There are over twenty species of Primates found in Uganda. Kibale Forest National Park, with 13 species, has the highest density of primates in all of Africa.
Among the Primates found in Uganda are two great apes, the Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees. They are the ones that make Uganda the Premier Primate Destination in East Africa.
Beyond the great apes, you can track the very rare and endangered Golden Monkeys. You might see black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, olive baboons, and others on a primate wildlife safari in Uganda.
Those that love Primates will find Uganda the best country to see them in abundance. Beyond Gorillas and Chimpanzees, various species can be found in each of the National Parks, Wildlife Reserves, and National Forests.
The purpose of our List of Primates found in Uganda is to provide information for visitors about the great apes and monkeys that can be seen on a Safari in Uganda. Since most visitors to Uganda are not primate-specialists and may not know what they are looking at. A qualifies, a knowledgeable ranger is with you to explain which primate you are looking at.
The Primates you can track in Uganda.
Most Visitors come to track the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Many also track the Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest, Kalinzu Forest, Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge, and the Semliki Valley.
Many visitors are unaware that you can also track the rare Golden Monkeys found in Mgahinga Gorilla Park in the Volcanoes’ shadows. Doing it is an excellent addition to Gorilla Trekking in either Mgahinga Gorilla Park or the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
\On the relatively unknown nocturnal Forest Walk, the goal is to see the creatures of the night found in Kibale Forest. This is a rare opportunity to see nocturnal primates such as Bushbabies, Pottos, and Galagos. Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers lead the nocturnal forest walk. Powerful spotlights are used to illuminate the night, and you can see the creatures of the night that includes nocturnal primates.
The least known about Primate Trek is the one in search of Uganda Mangabeys in Mabira Forest, near Kampala. The forest has the largest number of Uganda Mangabeys guided treks can be done here.
In Uganda, you can track more primates than any other East African country.
The Primates found in Uganda
- Mountain Gorillas
- Golden Monkeys
- Olive Baboons
- Black and White Colobus Monkeys
- Blue Monkeys
- De Brazza’s Monkeys
- Grey-Cheeked Mangabey Monkeys
- Uganda Mangabey Monkeys
- L’Hoest’s Monkeys
- Red-tailed Monkeys.
- Patas Monkey
- Red-Colobus Monkeys
- Dent’s Monkeys
- Owl-Faced Monkeys
- Mona Monkeys
- Bush Babies including Dwarf Galagos
- Vervet Monkeys, also called Savanna Monkeys
The Primates found in Uganda in Detail
There are Two Great Apes you can see on a Safari in the Pearl of Africa
The Mountain Gorillas found in Uganda
The Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are the number one attraction for primate lovers who flock to Uganda. Here, the forest’s gentle giants are found in two very distinct habitats, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. One is an ancient jungle, the other in parts of the Virunga Volcanoes Chain.
Over half of the remaining Mountain Gorillas are found in Uganda, primarily in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A portion of the gorilla families is habituated, which means that they are used to humans.
There are three reasons that Uganda is not only the premier primate destination but the premier Mountain Gorilla destination. The first reason is affordability. The second reason is more gorilla trekking permits in Uganda. The third reason is safe gorilla trekking.
While visiting the gentle giants of the forest, you not only see them but learn about their habits and ways, making the once-in-a-lifetime encounters quite special.
COVID-19 Protocols are in place to protect the mountain Gorillas. The two major rules affecting trekkers are the wearing of Masks during the trek and the ten-meter distance rule. Rangers strictly enforce those two to protect the closely related to humans’ gorillas. Further Gorilla Trekking Information can be found here.
The Chimpanzees are found in Uganda.
Our closest relatives with a DNA of 98.9 are Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). There are about 5,000 of them in Uganda.
1,500 are in Kibale Forest National Park, which is a primate-rich national park with 13 primate species.
The park has the distinction of having the highest density of primates in all of Africa, including 1,500 Chimpanzees.
Seeing them is an almost sure thing while you are tracking them. The Chimpanzee trek takes much less effort than a mountain gorilla trek, and you are one hour with a chimpanzee troop and see five to six other primates species.
Chimpanzees can also be trekked in Kalinzu Forest, in the Kyambura Gorge, Budongo Forest, and in the Semliki National Park. Chimpanzees are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest but not tracked there.
There are COVID-19 Protocols in place for chimpanzee trekkers for the protection of the chimpanzees. Facial Masks are required, and a distance rule is enforced.
Here are the Monkeys found in Uganda
The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti) is endangered, rare, and unique.
Like its magnificent 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 and have a golden body, cheeks, and tails with black limbs, crowns on their heads, and tail end. They are a sub-species of the blue monkey and are found in the Virunga Volcanoes’ bamboo forests.
Golden Monkey tracking costs a lot less than gorilla tracking but is not a lesser experience. Golden Monkeys are beautiful, lively, almost humorous, and a delight to observe.
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.
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, a shade of green-grey at a distance. A variety of communications, vocal and non-vocal, facilitate a complex social structure.
You will see the Olive Baboon on a safari, whether in a car or on foot on a nature walk. When approaching the road, it is good to roll up your car windows since the brazen baboons have been known to jump in and steal whatever they find, mostly food items.
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.
They can become dangerous when they feel threatened or when they’re socialized to associate humans with food. Large male baboons will defend the others in their troop. There have been no reports of visitors being harmed by baboons.
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, whitetail, and white sides living in small groups can be found in most forests, including in Entebbe Botanical Gardens and most National Park.
There are several sub-species found in Uganda, such as the Rwenzori Black and White Colobus Monkey.
Black and White Colobus will be found in most National Parks in Uganda and also outside of parks.
In the Rwenzori Mountains and the foothills, you will find the Rwenzori species alongside the black and white colobus.
The Blue Monkey, also referred to as the Cercopithecus mitis, belongs to the Old World monkey ancestry and thrives and is widespread in 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 to the guenon family in all of Uganda’s parks, except for 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 other monkeys, except for Golden Monkey Treks in Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Uganda Mangabey 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 French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza named. 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, 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 lovely and exotic monkeys that even found their way unto the cover of the past Bradt’s Guide to Uganda.
Grey-Cheeked Mangabey Monkeys and 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 hairy appearance and are found in Semliki and Kibale Forest National Parks and
There are both Grey Cheeked Mangabey Monkeys and Ugandan Mangabey 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 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 lower face. You will find large numbers of them in Mabira Forest near Kampala. There many Uganda Mangabey Monkeys have been habituated and can be tracked.
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. In the secondary forests, they usually occupy that very thick underbrush, which grows in places where the trees have fallen. L’Hoest’s monkeys mainly live in groups and areas with altitudes ranging 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 the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Kibale Forest, Maragambo Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and the Rwenzori Mountains Foothills. In some nearby countries, they are hunted for meat. Chimpanzees will also hunt them and eat them.
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.
It is a terrestrial monkey found in northern Uganda’s savannah parks, such as Murchison Falls Park, Kidepo Valley Park, and the Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve.
Patas monkeys can sprint from zero to 53 kilometers an hour (33 miles) in just three seconds. They have been known to reach 55 kilometers (34 miles) an hour, making them the fastest primates.
Patas monkeys are omnivorous. The diet consists mainly of fruits and insects but also includes leaves, roots, and bird eggs.
Some people may confuse them with Vervet Monkeys. However, Patas are larger, have a light reddish coat, a black stripe above the eyes, and are often found on the Savannas.
Red 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 colors 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 balance when climbing and leaping through the canopy. The Ugandan red colobus has a dark grey to black hands and feet, and their feet are very long, which helps them leap vast distances[
Like all colobus monkeys, the Ugandan red colobus has thumbs that 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 find all kinds of primates, including the Red Colobus Monkey.
The red-tailed monkey, also known as the black-cheeked white-nosed monkey, red-tailed guenon, redtail monkey, or Schmidt’s guenon, is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae.
The red-tailed monkey is named as it sounds for its red coloration of the tail. The tail’s underside and the tail’s bi-coloration as the reddish color increases from the base to the tip. Other features are characteristic of this mammal, such as the white noise and cheeks amid black or dark grey body fur. Red-tailed monkeys also have enormous, elastic cheeks used in gathering food and storing it in their mouths for safety.
It is a ubiquitous 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.
Owl-faced monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni), also called Hamlyn’s monkey, arboreal guenon found in tropical forests.
Owl Faced Monkey is unique in that it has a beak-like nose, and the face resembles an owl. This shy monkey is rarely seen, but you might be the lucky one as you hike along the many trails In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
The Owl Faced Mo is closely related to L’Hoest’s Monkey, and like it, Owl Faced Monkey lives in small groups of one male and various females. 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 Uganda, you might see them in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
Dent’s Mona Monkey:
The Dent’s Mona Monkey is found in Western Uganda. You might see the Dent’s Mona Monkey with other monkeys such as Blue Monkeys or Gray-Cheeked Mangabeys, also with groups of 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 might find Dent’s Mona Monkeys in Semliki Park, Bwindi Forest, and Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
You need to know that there is no guarantee that you will see them in those parks, but there is a chance that you will.
Vervet monkeys can be found all over Uganda. You might even see it while having lunch at a restaurant with a garden in Kampala. They travel in big groups called troops. They spend their days foraging for food and finding comfortable and safe resting spots. High up in the trees, they’re interesting to look at.
They tend to have a green tint to their fur, white eyebrows, and black faces! Due to their attractive color, they are sometimes called “green monkeys.”
Vervet monkeys can be identified by their yellow to greenish-brown coat of hair. Their bellies are white, and they also have white fur on their brows and cheeks. Vervet monkeys are also easily recognized by their black-skinned faces, hands, and feet.
Vervet monkeys are relatively small and are on the menu for many larger, carnivorous (meat-eating) animals. Large cats like leopards and hyenas, eagles, and snakes are just some animals that prey on primates. In the West Indies, domestic dogs are a severe threat to vervets, as humans hunt the monkeys either for meat or in persecution. To stay safe, vervet monkeys travel in groups and head for the trees if there are signs of danger.
Nocturnal Primates: Guided nightly 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 –, 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 nocturnal parks in various parks such as Kibale Forest. Dwarf Galagos are also found in Kibale Forest and might be spotted on a Nocturnal Forest Walk there.
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 firm 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, 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, stub-like second fingers and toes, and dense woolly fur, which is grizzled reddish. 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 potential predators’ movements when the potto tucks its head between its arms in a defensive posture. Gestation is six months; single young are typical. The medium-sized sloth-like creature can be found on nocturnal walks in Kibale Forest. It can also be found at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Queen Elizabeth Park.
More Time with Primates
Only in Uganda can you find the Unique One-of-a-kind Primate Habituation Experiences with the Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and Golden Monkeys. More time with the primates’ experiences is only offered in Uganda.
The Habituation Experiences give you more time on an Incredible Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Golden Monkey Encounter with fewer Participants.
The Primate Habituation Experiences are a preferred choice due to more time with Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and Golden Monkeys.
The added plus is that there are fewer participants and that you are not just an observer but a participant in the Habituation Process.
They Authentic Hands-on experiences where you gain insights and learn about the primates rather than only being observers.
The drawback is that there are fewer permits than with normal treks. You must plan if you want more time with the primates.
If you have Questions about the Primates found in Uganda – please contact us.
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