Primates in Uganda- Primate Tracking Safaris in Uganda.

Primates in Uganda- Primate Tracking Safaris in Uganda : Uganda is home to many different primate species; with Kibale National Park containing the highest population in Africa. Commonly sighted primates in Uganda include chimpanzees, Mountain gorillas, the black and white colobus monkey, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest and blue monkeys and Olive baboons which can be seen during a primate tracking safari in Uganda.

Primates in Uganda- Primate Tracking Safaris in Uganda.
Primates in Uganda- Primate Tracking Safaris in Uganda.

Primates in Uganda can also be seen during game drives, launch trips or nature walks, along with smaller nocturnal species such as the bush baby and potto. Mgahinga National Park also contains one of the remaining habitats of the endangered golden monkeys. Black and White colobus monkeys are among some of the most frequently spotted primate species in Uganda. The word ‘colobus’ actually means ‘mutilated’ in Greek- and as unlike other primate species, the colobus primate species are missing thumbs. These particular species of black and white colobus monkeys live in troops of 5 to 10 individuals and can easily be seen in tree branches as a result of their striking coloring (black with long white hair running down from their shoulders to rump, and white tufts at the ends of their long tails). Their infants are born pure white and develop black hair as they become juveniles.

Olive Baboons

Olive baboons are also some of the commonly sighted primates in Uganda. They live in large groups and are regularly sighted along roadsides where they wait to ambush cars in search for food. Karuma falls in Pakwach is one of the popular hotspots for sighting these naughty creatures.

Olive baboons spend most their time on the ground than most other primate species, but sleep in trees at night. In cases where there is scarcity of water, they can survive for long periods by licking the dew from their fur.

Olive Baboons
Olive Baboons

Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are by far the most sought after primates in Uganda and the world at large. Uganda’s dense forests are home to over half the world’s population of mountain gorillas. The rest are split between Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As they do not survive in captivity, preservation of these fragile habitats is essential for their survival.

Sharing over 98% of their DNA with humans, gorillas display uncanny human characteristics. The close-knit family group are headed by a silverback, a mature male with white hair on his back and usually leads the group in search for food and new nesting grounds. The silverback has the right to feed first in the group and to mate with all the females in his group.

Gorillas in general are considered as a gentle species and are highly intelligent. They have been observed using tools like other great apes, and communicate using a variety of vocal sounds. The name ‘gorilla’ is derived from a Greek word ‘gorillai’ which means hairy women.

In Uganda, mountain gorillas can be found in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is one of the highest revenue earning activities in the tourism industry, attracting a lot of foreign tourists from different parts of the world.

A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs $700 for Foreign Non-Residents, $600 for Foreign Residents and UGX 250,000 for East African Citizens. A gorilla trekking safari in Uganda can cost a minimum of $1278 per person for a 3 day gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.


After gorillas, chimpanzees are the second most sought after primate species in Uganda. Chimpanzees share at least 94% of their DNA with humans. They are sociable, intelligent and communicative; and have the ability to use tools such as rocks for smashing nuts, empty pods for scooping water and sticks for drawing termites from their nests.

As these skills are passed from generation, it has been observed that different troops are specialists in different tasks, depending on their habitat and diet. Chimpanzees live in communities consisting of 10 to 100 individuals.

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzees kiss, groom each other and babysit for each other’s’ offspring. Young chimpanzees do not become independent until around the age of four. Their diet consists of leaves, fruit, flowers and seeds. Although they spend a lot of time on the ground, chimpanzees usually make their nests in trees.

Top chimpanzee trekking destinations in Uganda include; Kibale National Park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park or in Kalenzu forest adjacent to the park, Budongo forest near Murchison Falls National Park, and in Toro- Semuliki Wildlife Reserve adjacent to Semuliki National Park.

A chimpanzee trekking permit in Uganda costs $ 200 for Foreign Non-Residents, $ 150 for Foreign Residents and UGX 150,000 for East African citizens tracking chimpanzees in Kibale National Park. In Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park, a chimpanzee trekking permit costs $50 for both Foreign Residents and Non- Residents alike; while East African Citizens are charged UGX 30,000 per person. Tracking chimpanzees in Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve costs $30 per person for both Foreign Residents and Non-Residents alike and UGX 20,000 for East African Citizens.

Primates in Uganda are one of the top tourist attractions in the country. Primate tracking in Uganda can be done by tourists aged 16 years and above. Primate tracking in Uganda gives trackers an opportunity to learn more about primates and also appreciate the importance of conserving these majestic and inquisitive creatures for the future generations.

Book your next gorilla trekking safari or chimpanzee tracking safari in Uganda using Explore Rwanda Tours and stand a chance to win yourself great discounts on gorilla trekking or chimpanzee trekking permits.

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