Primates You Shouldn’t Miss When You Visit Uganda
Uganda is gifted by nature, the land of beautiful topography, wonderful drainage, dense and light forests, and suitable climate among others. Such endowment sustains the lives of 13 primate species which you shouldn’t miss when you visit Uganda. Most of the primates we are going to look at are found in forested areas where access to them is recommended to use a 4wd car. Credit to 4×4 Uganda for offering excellent 4×4 cars for hire in Kampala at the best price on the market.
In brief, Uganda primates include chimpanzee, gorilla, the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and olive baboons can be seen during game drives, launch trips or nature walks, along with smaller nocturnal species such as the bush baby and potto and Golden monkeys.
- The Mountain Gorillas
The recently released 2018 census shows that the number of gorillas in Uganda has increased to 459 counted in 50 groups; with 13 solitary individuals bringing the total number of mountain gorillas in the world to 1063. In Uganda, mountain Gorillas are found in Bwindi impenetrable National park with 18 habituated Gorilla groups. On the other hand, Mgahinga National Park hosts the only Nyakagezi Gorilla family which used to be mobile in the past years but now has stabilized to stay in Mgahinga National Park.
Mountain gorilla trekking is the chief tourist attraction in Uganda and earns the country the largest percentage of foreign exchange.
In Uganda, chimpanzees are found in Kibale National Park with the best chimpanzee trekking and habituation experience in Africa! Other palaces hosting chimpanzees include Budongo Forest, Kalinzu Forest, and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National park and Toro-Semliki game reserve. All the four destinations operate Chimpanzee trekking and it’s believed to be the second tourist activity liked by visitors.
- Golden monkeys
When you visit Mgahinga National Park, after gorilla trekking in Uganda, think of Golden Monkey trekking. It’s amazing to look into the eyes of the romantic Golden monkeys with beautiful hairy skin. Golden monkeys feed on plant shoots and prefer staying in flowing plants which makes it easier for the ranger guides to detect where golden monkeys. Official golden monkey trekking is currently done in Mgahinga National Park but you can find some few unhabituated golden monkeys in other forests like Kibale, Kyambura Gorge among others.
- Black and white colobus monkeys
There is no official trekking of black and white colobus monkeys in Uganda but can be sighted while walking through forested areas like the Ishasha sector, Kyambura Gorge, Kanio Pabidi Forest Reserve, Kibale Forest among others. They look beautiful but spend most of their time jumping from one tree to another. You must be with powerful camera lenses to be able to take clear photos of black and white colobus monkeys because they stay on top of the trees.
- Olive Baboons
Uganda protects baboons which are locally known as “enkobe”, they are the most destructive animals to human crops in Africa. Baboons and mangabeys have dog-like snouts, though baboons prefer to move on the ground while mangabeys stay up high in the tree branches. The dog-like baboons live in large groups and are regularly seen along roadsides where they wait to ambush cars in search of food. They spend more time on the ground than most other primate species but sleep in trees at night. If water is scarce, they can survive for long periods by licking the dew from their fur.
- Red-tailed monkey
They are among the smallest monkeys in the family, with white hairy cheeks and a white heart-shaped nose. Red-tailed monkey can be sighted in Kibale forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Parks. The blue monkeys are not necessarily blue, but mostly black with a blue-grey or silver-grey back.
Also called a bush bear, tree bear, or softly-softly, slow-moving tropical African primate. The potto is a nocturnal tree dweller found in rainforests from Sierra Leone eastward to Uganda. It has a strong grip and clings tightly to branches, but when necessary it can also move quickly through the branches with a smooth gliding gait that makes it quite inconspicuous. It feeds on fruit, small animals, and insects (especially larvae) and curls up to sleep by day in tree hollows. Its length is about 35 cm (14 inches), excluding its furry 5–10-cm (2–4-inch) tail.
It has large eyes, sturdy limbs, stublike second fingers and toes, and dense woolly fur, which is grizzled reddish in color. A ridge of short, blunt spines formed by the neck vertebrae runs down the nape. The spines are covered by thin, highly innervated skin and are thought to be sensitive to the movements of potential predators when the potto tucks its head between its arms in a defensive posture. Gestation is six months; single young are typical. A medium-sized sloth-like creature can be found on night walks in Kibale Forest and can also be sighted at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Queen Elizabeth Park.
- Patas monkey
They leave in big troupes of between 30 to 50 individuals. There are more chances of seeing these monkeys during game drives in Murchison Falls National Park.
- L’Hoest’s monkey
L’Hoest’s monkey breeds seasonally depending on the area. They give birth to a single young one after a 5 month gestation period. Birth usually occurs at the end of the dry season, which allows lactation when rainfall is highest. The other females in the group will show much interest in the newborn and will try to hold it. It’s common to find group members bonding with the young and grooming each other along forest trails in Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest Park.
- Grey – Cheeked Mangabey
In Uganda, they are commonly sighted at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, Kibale Forest, Semliki Wildlife Reserve, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. They do communicate by slapping lips. This species is significantly smaller than the grey-cheeked mangabey, with a shorter skull and smaller face.
They are a very dark monkey that looks much more like a small and hairy baboon. The think brown fur on its body is almost unnoticeable. They possess a small golden color around its necks. The males are a bit bigger than females. The grey-cheeked Mangabey feeds on plant shoot, fruits, figs, and insects but majorly survive on fruits and others come as food supplements.