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Uganda is one of three countries where golden monkeys are found. Kwezi Outdoors runs golden monkey tracking safaris in Mgahinga

Primates of Uganda

Uganda is home to a rich diversity of primates, making it a popular destination for primate enthusiasts and wildlife enthusiasts in general. The country's varied ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, savannas, and mountains, provide habitats for several primate species. Seen here is a golden monkey - Uganda is one of only three countries in the world you will find this monkey.

Uganda boasts an impressive diversity of primates. Uganda’s diverse primate population, combined with its lush landscapes and conservation efforts, makes it a premier destination for primate lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Visitors can engage in primate tracking and gorilla trekking experiences to witness these incredible creatures up close in their natural habitats.

In addition to mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, you can encounter other species such as golden monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, and olive baboons. This richness of primate species makes Uganda an ideal destination for primate lovers.

Responsible and sustainable tourism practices are crucial when visiting primate habitats to minimize disturbance and prioritize the well-being of the animals. We share with your some of the many primates that call Uganda home:

The mountain gorilla, magnificent being gentle apes, inhabit the mountain forests of Uganda. In a manner reminiscent of many human families, mountain gorillas live in patriarchal groups led by a dominant male known as a silverback. Within these family units, they display remarkable social structures and intriguing behaviors. One of the most captivating aspects of mountain gorillas is their unique nose print, akin to a human's thumbprint. This distinct feature allows for individual identification and provides valuable insights into their behavior and conservation efforts.

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and witness the captivating world of mountain gorillas up close in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda. 3-Day Gorilla Trek and Explore Bunyonyi

The chimpanzee, our closest cousin in the animal kingdom, has captivated our curiosity and fueled extensive research. This remarkable primate species has made significant contributions to fields such as human medicine and psychology. Chimpanzees share about 98% of our DNA. They are highly intelligent and social animals known for their tool use, complex social structures, and communication abilities. Kibale National Park is home to one of the largest populations of wild chimpanzees in Uganda with other locations being Budongo Forest, Kalinzu Forest, Kyambura Gorge, and Semuliki Forest. Discover: 7-Day of Gorillas, Chimps and Golden Monkeys Safari

The golden monkey, an extraordinary species of Old World Monkey, calls the bamboo-forested slopes of the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park its exclusive home. This captivating primate showcases a small yet vibrant body, adorned with a radiant golden-orange coat and an irresistibly cute face. To witness the beauty of these endangered primates, join the daily golden monkey trekking adventures that lead you deep into the enchanting bamboo jungles, where these magnificent creatures thrive. As you embark on this remarkable journey, prepare to be mesmerized by the playful antics and endearing nature of the golden monkeys.

L'Hoest's monkey, also known as the mountain monkey is a species of Old World monkey that is are primarily found in the montane forests of western Uganda, such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Maramagambo (Queen Elizabeth National Park) and Kibale National Park. It belongs to the genus Cercopithecus, which includes several other guenon species. They prefer altitudes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 meters (3,300 to 13,100 feet) above sea level. L'Hoest's monkeys have a distinctive appearance. They have a dark, almost black, coat of fur with a white ruff of fur around their necks. The males have a striking white beard and long, white cheek tufts, while the females have shorter, less prominent facial hair.

De Brazza's monkeys can be found in Uganda's Kibale National Park and Semuliki National Park, primarily in swampy areas and forest edges. De Brazza's monkeys have a distinctive appearance. They have a grayish-brown or olive-colored fur on their back and sides, with a lighter underside. They have a white beard and a reddish-brown cap on their head. The face is marked with a white stripe above the eyes and cheek pouches.

Black-and-white colobus monkeys can be found in several Ugandan national parks, including Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. As the name suggests, the black-and-white colobus monkey has a distinct black and white coloration. Its fur is long and shaggy, with black hair covering most of its body, except for a white mantle of hair around its face, shoulders, and upper back. They have a long, bushy tail, which lacks the ability to grasp like other monkeys. Black-and-white colobus monkeys live in small to medium-sized groups known as troops. Females tend to stay in the same troop their entire lives, while males usually leave their natal troop when they reach maturity.

These colorful monkeys are native to Uganda and can be observed in the Kibale National Park, among other forested areas. Red-tailed Monkeys have a distinct appearance with a dark coat and a bright red tail. Their fur is predominantly black, and they have white or light gray fur on their face, throat, and chest. They have a white stripe running down their nose and cheeks, and their large, round eyes are surrounded by a dark mask-like pattern. Red-tailed Monkeys communicate with a variety of vocalizations and also use facial expressions and body postures to convey information within their group.

The Uganda mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae) is a remarkable Old World monkey species that exists solely within Uganda. Previously mistaken as a population of the grey-cheeked mangabey, this crested mangabey is now recognized as a distinct and captivating primate. Mabira forest is a sanctuary for the Uganda mangabey, boasting one of the largest remaining populations. To bolster the conservation efforts of the Uganda mangabey, groups have undergone habituation in the scenic Mabira Central Forest Reserve. This crucial initiative aims to facilitate tourism and raise awareness about the species' conservation needs. By habituating these groups, there is promotion of tourism, which not only protects the forest but also provides income for the local community.

This arboreal monkey species can be found in several Ugandan national parks, including Kibale National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Blue monkeys have a medium-sized body with a distinct bluish-gray coat, which gives them their common name. Their face is black, and they have a white throat and chest. The males are generally larger than the females. They live in social groups called troops, typically consisting of several adult females, their offspring, and a dominant male. Within the troop, they communicate using a combination of vocalizations, facial expressions, and body postures.

Grey-cheeked mangabeys are primarily found in Uganda's Kibale National Park and Semuliki National Park. Grey-cheeked Mangabeys have a distinctive appearance. They have a grayish-brown fur color with a lighter underbelly. Their cheeks are pale gray, which gives them their name. They have a long tail that is usually held in a slight curve. They are social animals that live in large groups called troops, which can consist of up to 100 individuals. Within these groups, they have a complex social structure with a dominant male leading the troop. Their diet mainly consists of fruits, leaves, seeds, and insects. They have strong jaws and specialized teeth for cracking open hard nuts and seeds.

Patas monkeys are the fastest primates on land and are distributed across Uganda, particularly in the Kidepo Valley National Park and Murchison Falls National Park. The Patas monkey is also known as the red monkey or hussar monkey.  Patas monkeys have a reddish-brown or sandy coat, which helps them blend in with their dry habitat. They have long, slender limbs, a short tail, and a relatively small head compared to their body size. Patas monkeys live in social groups known as troops, which typically consist of one adult male, several adult females, and their offspring. The troop size can vary but is usually smaller compared to other monkey species. Female Patas monkeys usually give birth to a single offspring after a gestation period of about 160-170 days.

This endemic colobus monkey species is found in the forests of western Uganda, including Kibale National Park. It is considered one of the most endangered primates in Africa. The Ugandan red colobus has a distinctive appearance with its long, red-colored fur, which covers most of its body. It has a black face, dark limbs, and a long tail. Ugandan red colobus monkeys live in troops usually consisting of one or more adult males, multiple females, and their offspring. The groups communicate through vocalizations and maintain strong social bonds. The diet of the Ugandan red colobus mainly consists of leaves, young shoots, fruits, flowers, and seeds. They have specialized stomachs that allow them to digest their fibrous plant-based diet efficiently.

Vervet monkeys are widespread throughout Uganda and can be found in various habitats, including forests, savannahs, and urban areas. The vervet monkey, widely recognized for its small stature and distinctive black face, is a common sight throughout East Africa. While there are multiple subspecies of vervet monkeys, they generally exhibit a body coloration ranging from greenish-olive to silvery-gray. Their striking black facial features include the face itself, ears, hands, feet, and the tip of the tail. Male vervet monkeys display a turquoise-blue scrotum and a red penis, allowing for easy identification. Vervet Monkeys are highly social animals and live in troops ranging in size from a few individuals to over 50 composed of related females and their offspring. Infants are of great interest to the other monkeys in the troop; subadult females do everything possible to be allowed to groom or hold a new infant.

Olive baboons are widespread across Uganda and can be found in various habitats, including national parks like Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth. Olive baboons are medium to large-sized primates, with males being larger than females. Males typically weigh around 20-30 kilograms (44-66 pounds), while females are slightly smaller. They have a muscular body with a long, dog-like snout and a prominent muzzle. Their fur is generally olive or grayish-brown in color, and they have a hairless face. Females typically form strong bonds with each other and collectively care for the young. Males, on the other hand, compete for dominance and mating opportunities.

The term "bush baby" typically refers to a small, nocturnal primate that belongs to the family Galagidae. These primates are also known as galagos or nagapies. Bush babies are named for their distinctive vocalizations, which sound similar to the cries of human infants. They have specialized adaptations for nocturnal life, including large eyes that provide excellent night vision and ears capable of detecting high-frequency sounds. They primarily feed on a diet consisting of insects, fruits, gums, and tree sap. Bush babies are known for their vocal abilities. They produce a wide range of vocalizations, including loud, piercing calls that can be heard over long distances. They use vocalizations to communicate with other members of their group, establish territories, and locate each other in the dark. Most bush babies live in small family groups consisting of an adult pair and their offspring. These groups are territorial, defending their home range against other bush babies. Some species of bush babies exhibit monogamous mating systems, while others are polygamous.

Uganda is a treasure trove of wildlife, but its primate inhabitants are truly a spectacle to behold. From the dense forests to the misty mountains, this country is home to a remarkable variety of primates, each with its unique charm and characteristics. 

For further information on your primate safari:

  1. What to expect on gorilla trekking or primate tracking safari. 
  2. About the Mountain Gorillas
  3. Why Uganda is the Ideal Destination to Track Chimpanzees
  4. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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