Primates are exceptionally well represented among the mammals found in Uganda and Rwanda.
Uganda’s apes include Mountain Gorillas, which can be tracked in Bwindi Impenetrable Nationa Park, and man’s closest cousin, the Chimpanzee, which is found in Semliki, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth and Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale has the largest population of Chimpanzees in the whole country (1450 at the last estimate) and boasts the highest diversity and density of primates in all of Africa. Seeing a mighty Silverback in his natural habitat, or watching infant Chimpanzees at play in the trees, is a highlight of any Uganda or Rwanda safari.
Uganda’s monkeys include Olive Baboons, Patas, Vervet, Golden, Blue, Red-tailed, De Brazza’s, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, as well as Black-and-white and Red Colobus. Nocturnal primates include Bushbabies (galagoes) and Potto, a sloth-like creature.
In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is one of the best places to track wild Mountain Gorillas and Golden monkeys, and further south, Nyungwe Forest National Park is a place rich in possibility for primate activities. Nyungwe has 13 resident primate species, including a population of Chimpanzees and 400-strong troops of Colobus monkeys—the largest tree-dwelling primate groups in Africa today. Neighbouring Cyamudongo Forest is a great place to track Chimpanzees as this forest is smaller than Nyungwe, making sightings more reliable.
Between Uganda and Rwanda, there are only twenty habituated gorilla families—not all of whom are available to track all of the time and the number of daily permits per group are strictly limited to protect the gorillas. This means permits are not necessarily available for requested dates, and early booking is recommended. We will always check availability for tracking permits at the time of quoting a safari, and make alternative recommendations if necessary, to avoid disappointment. The same is true for chimpanzee permits in certain popular locations, especially in peak season months. Please see the section on Gorilla Tracking Guidelines, which contains more information on permit booking procedures for primate tracking.