The term primate refers to any mammal of the biological order- primates, a group that contains species related to monkeys, lemurs, and apes. In this article, my point of focus will be on mainly three primate species- mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys. These unique primates usually impress many visitors while on their wildlife adventures.
Mountain Gorilla trekking –
Of all adventures, gorilla Safaris in Uganda are the leading primate safari experience adorned incredible must try adventures only achieved from the south western part of the country. Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park are the only two places where mountain gorilla trekking is done in the country. Bwindi impenetrable national park alongside gorilla trekking is the only destination in Uganda that offers mountain gorilla habituation experiences. The two national parks reward visitors with a stunning view of these gentle endangered apes not to mention an incredible photographic moment. The opportunity of being around half of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas alongside other magnificent forest species such as; forest elephants and antelopes is incomparable to any other safari in the country.
Golden monkey trekking
Mgahinga national park is the best safari destination to track golden monkeys in Uganda. The park rewards trekkers with a thrilling experience where they watch golden monkeys jump from one bamboo branch to another. Just like gorilla tracking, golden monkey trekking starts with guests being briefed at the park about the dos and don’ts when tracking the monkeys.
Tracking golden monkeys is not so strenuous like tracking mountain gorillas since golden monkeys live in lower areas. Visitors are allowed one hour in the midst of a golden monkey family where they are able to spot their bright orange- gold body, cheeks and tail. Although golden monkey safaris are not as popular as those for mountain gorillas, I would recommend a blend of gold and silver experiences in cases where visitors tour Mgahinga Gorilla national park.
Kibale forest national park is has the highest diversity of primates including over 1500 chimpanzee population. The park is Uganda’s leading chimpanzee tracking destination. Popularly, Kibale forest national park rewards guests with incredible chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation experiences. The stunning encounter with man’s closest relative is an unforgettably once in a life time experience that you need to explore on your safari to Uganda.
Other places to track chimps in the country include Budongo forest, Kyambura gorge, Kalinzu forest reserve, Toro- Semuliki wildlife reserve, Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary and Uganda wildlife conservation education centre.
They are famously known as olive baboons and found in Uganda. They can be viewed in three main national parks namely; Mgahinga national park, Mount Elgon national park and Rwenzori national park. Other few Baboons can be sighted in Ishasha sector, Busitema district among others.
Black and White colobus Monkeys – are known as the old monkeys of the genus colobus family and mainly live in Africa. These are greatly related to the brown colobus monkeys and mainly live in Riverine forests, wooded grasslands and forests. Their groups are made of nine individuals including a single male, many females and their young ones. Their bodies are black in color, with a white face as well as a tail. They can be viewed in Entebbe botanical gardens, and in many national parks of Uganda.
Blue Monkeys – They are found in Uganda but also in other African countries like Congo, Angola, Zambia, and Uganda. These have little hair on their faces and gives a blue appearance most of the times but not really blue in color. These mainly live in montane, bamboo forests, ever green forests, and also in forest canopy. They move in groups made of 4 to 12 individuals and mainly consist of one male, many females with their young ones. They can be easily be seen in Murchison falls national park and Lake Mburo national park, their gestation period is usually 5 months with females giving birth every after two years.
De Brazza’s Monkeys – They are found in Uganda but also in central Africa. These are mainly known as swamp monkeys with grey fur and a reddish – brown back with black tail and limbs. They also have a life span of 22 years and live in small social groups of 5 to 30 individuals headed by a male whose main job is to provide protection to the group members. These also communicate through shaking tree branches, making booming sounds, and nodding. They can be easily seen in Mountain Elgon National Park and Semuliki national park.
The Grey Cheeked Mangabee Monkey – found in Uganda are mainly grey and black in color. These also live in moderate and low altitude rain forests. These pose features of the baboons and have got a shaggy appearance and mainly located in Kibale national Park and in Semuliki national park. These can also be tracked in Mabira Forest which is considered to be the largest of forests in Uganda.
L’ Hoest’s Monkeys – These are sometimes referred to as mountain monkeys and most located in Uganda and in the Congo basin, Rwanda and Burundi. You can meet them on the way to meet Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. These are also referred to as forest monkeys and like living in moist and primary forests. In Uganda, they can be found in Bwindi impenetrable national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Kibale National park, and in Budongo Forest.
Patas Monkeys – sometimes called wadi monkeys and are mostly found in semi- arid area in West Africa. These are also considered to be close relatives of the vervet Monkeys. The adult patas monkey is larger than the females and these are considered to be the fastest among all the primates. These species always live in a group of 60 individuals with one adult male, and many females.
Red Colobus Monkeys – They are close to the black and white colobus monkeys and are found in western, eastern and central Africa. These live-in large groups of about 80 individuals and have many females within the group. Red Colobus monkeys live in humid forests with thickets and scrubs. Their diet mainly consists of flowers, young leaves, as well as fruits. Found are social and mostly found in Kibale National Park and Semuliki national park.
Red Tailed Monkey – This is a very common monkey specie in Uganda and are usually in black, orange or red in color. These are relatively small primates since males weigh only 4.1 kgs and females weigh 2.9 kgs. Red tailed monkeys live in large variety of habitants mainly found in canopy tropical rain forests, swamps, riverine forests and many types of woodland.
Nocturnal Primates – They are found in Kibale national park and can be enjoyed on guided walks within the forest.
Bush Babies – These are also known as the Galagos and are small in size measuring 37cm in length and weigh only 150g when fully grown. These have also got large brown orange eyes which help them to see during the dark. These mostly live-in sub-Saharan Africa in semi-arid areas, scrub forests and in savannah areas. They mostly feed on bettles, scorpions, grasshoppers, moths, small reptiles, as well as butterflies. These also give birth to only one off spring and their gestation period is 4 months. They are found in most of Uganda’s national parks.
Pottos – They are from the family of Lorisidae and medium in size, these can be spotted in kibale national park on night walk. They can also be found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and also in Queen Elizabeth National park. They are 39cm in length and weigh approximately between 600 to 1600 grams.