Exploring Uganda’s Top Primates – Gorillas, Chimps & Golden Monkeys

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Uganda is referred to as the primates capital of East Africa with a number travelers admitting that indeed the Pearl of Africa is the best country to see top renowned primates in the region.

Though there are many things to do on a Uganda Safari Adventure, Primates tracking can be way too far memorable than others once planned well. From the unique experiences to the excitement one gets, Primate safaris are worthy topping the bucket list for one planning a Uganda Safari trip.

The country has more than 13 different primates species to explore with Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzee taking the foremost positions in terms of attractions. Others include Golden Monkeys, L’Hoest Monkeys, Manga-beys, Blue Monkeys, Balck and White Colobus, Olive Baboons as well as nocturnal like Galagoes also known as Bush babies and pottos among others. Here are some of the top primates to look out for during your visit to Uganda.

Mountain Gorillas

This is the number one attraction of the ‘Pearl of Africa’ only found in the forested National parks of Bwindi and Mgahinga. Bwindi Forest alone is believed to harbor half of the world’s remaining total population of these endangered creatures only else found in Rwanda and DR Congo. The park now has 18 Gorilla Family/ Groups open for visitation from four sectors of Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija and Nkuringo.

Mother Mountain Gorilla with baby

Mgahinga National Park that is part of the renowned Virunga Conservation Area has one Gorilla group known as the Nyakagezi. Gorilla tracking is one of the most strenuous activities but very rewarding. Each Gorilla group is allowed to be visited by 8 people per day and only permitted with a maximum period of an hour in close contact with them.

Tracking Mountain Gorillas

152 tracking permits are now available on daily basis in Uganda but due to the high demand for the activity around the world, an early booking (3 months to.. ) is recommended to make it easy for you to find one.

Mountain Gorilla in Bwindi Forest

There are Locations that make Gorilla Safaris 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 among others to bend your adventure while in Uganda.

Prices for Gorilla Tracking

A Gorilla tracking permit currently costs $600 per person for Foreign Non Residents but starting the 1st of July 2020, it wil be at $700 as earlier announced by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Foreign residents with a valid East African working permit are subsidized by $100 from the normal price. Those looking at spending more hours with the Gorillas also go for an habituation experince at $1500 per person to spend up to four hours in close contact with them.

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees have been discovered to be our closest relatives, beleived to be sharing 98% DNA wit human kinds. Uganda has more than 5000 of these palyful creatures best known to be found in Kibale Forest National Park. This park alone has 13 kinds of primates even including nocturnal species such as the Galagoes, pottos and bush babies.

Chimpanzee in Kibale Forest
Young Chimpanzee in Uganda’s Kibale Forest appears to be taking orders from the elder in the colony.

Chimpanzees can also be spotted in other areas including Semliki National park which is also a rainforest Jungle down the fabulous Albertine Rift Escarpment, Budongo Mahogany Forest at Murchison Falls, Kalinzu and Kyambura Gorge at Queen Elizabeth Park.

Prices For Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda

Spending an hour with the chimpanzees of specifically Kibale Forest will be costing $200 (Foreign Residents) starting the 1st of July 2020 instead of the current $150 per person. Those looking at spending a day with these primates species on an Habituation Experience will have to pay $250 instead of the current $200.

In Kyambura, you can pay for a nature walk of $50 and from this, there is a chance to see these amaxing primates while in Budongo, to see chimpanzees is about $90.

Golden Monkeys

Golden Monkeys are rare and unique species of monkeys of the old world family found in the Virunga Conservation Area (foothills of the Virunga volcanoes) and some parts of Kahuzi Biega (no tracking sessions here). Just like its great ape relatives – the mountain gorillas, Golden monkeys can only be found in three countries DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda with the latter only represented by Mgahinga National Park.

A Golden Monkey

They inherit the name from their golden body and are also a sub-species of the blue monkey found in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Volcanoes.

Tracking Golden Monkeys

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.

In Uganda, Golden Monkeys can only be tracked in Mgahinga National Park

However, Golden Monkeys are a bit harder to catch on camera – but use of fast shutter speed and low light can work out right.

Prices For Golden Monkey Tracking in Uganda

Golden Monkey tracking now costs $90 per person for Foreign Non Residents but starting 1st July 2020, they will be costing $100 per person.

Other Primates in Uganda

Other Primates that you can see alongside mainly chimpanzees in Kibale Forest include;

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

Blue Monkeys that belongs to the Old world monkey family, De Brazza’s Monkeys that was named by French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza and generally known as ‘swamp monkeys mostly found in the areas of Mount Elgon National Park and Semliki National Park and Grey-Cheeked Mangabees/ Uganda Mangabeys that live in low and moderate altitude rain forests.

Black and white colobus

Uganda Mangabeys act in a baboon-like manner with shaggy appearance and are found in Uganda, in Semliki and Kibale Forest National Parks as well as Mabira Forest.

Others include L’Hoest’s Monkeys, Patas Monkey, Colobus Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkey, Bushbabies/ Galagoes, Pottos also called a bush bear, tree bear or slow-moving tropical African primate among others.

Where to book Tracking Permits

Permissions for Gorillas, golden monkeys and chimpanzees are only booked at Uganda Wildlife Authority. However, you can book hrough any travel agent or a tour company you trust that you can also find online. However, Golden monkey booking is not hectic as booking the other two since there is no maximum number required to track them.

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