Everything To Know About Primate Safaris in Uganda

Thinking about embarking on a primate safari in Uganda? Then you’re close to one of the most unique experiences East Africa has to offer!

Deciding just what kind of adventure you’re going to go on is a big part of the planning process – and it can get overwhelming! That’s why we’re here to help you with all the details you need to know to make the most of your primate safaris in Uganda.

Today, we’re focusing on exactly what kinds of monkeys, gorillas, chimps and more you’ll see, along with example primate safari itineraries and permit costs.

What primates are in Uganda?

Uganda is home to 20 primate species, including 13 diurnal species and seven nocturnal ones. 

These primates love their home in Uganda’s tropical forests. In fact, Uganda happens to have the highest primate concentration in all of Africa!

Popular primates in Uganda include the mountain gorilla and the chimpanzee.

Still, that’s just the tip of the primate iceberg! There are so many more that you’ll discover when you’re here.

11 Of Uganda’s Most Popular Primates

While we could go on and on about all of Uganda’s primates, below we’re sharing about 11 of our favorites. 

1. Mountain Gorilla

Sharing over 98% of human DNA, the mountain gorilla is from the family of great apes. They live in two populations in Uganda, in forests Uganda shares with Rwanda and Congo. 

For more on the amazing mountain gorilla, we have a list of more than 30 mountain gorilla fun facts!

2. Chimpanzee

Another of our close cousins, chimpanzees are a delight to spend time around.

Some of the most popular spots to do chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation in Uganda include Budongo, Kibale, Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu, and Semuliki.

3. Golden monkey

If you want to see the golden monkey, you’ll have to come to the only place it lives in the world: the slopes of the Virunga in East Africa.

Known for its golden orange coat and cute face, meeting them is often a visitor’s favorite part of their primate safaris in Uganda. To see them, head to Mgahinga National Park.

4. De Brazza’s monkey

Another easily identifiable primate, the De Bebrazza’s monkey is known for its white mustache, blue scrotum, and reddish-brown brow.

To catch a glimpse of one, head either to Semuliki National Park on the western side of Uganda or Mount Elgon National Park on the eastern side.

5. Black-and-white colobus monkey

Though we may think all primates have thumbs, that’s not always the case. For proof, come for a primate safari in Uganda to see the black-and-white colobus monkey.

Instantly recognizable due to its black coat and white back, you can find them in Kibale National Park, Budongo, and Mabira. 

6. Red colobus

Similar to their black-and-white cousins, the red colobus stands out thanks to its striking colors. 

If you’re lucky, you’ll spot them in Semuliki National Park.

7. Bush baby

Beyond its large eyes that cause it to resemble a baby, the bush baby also sounds just ilke one, too.

To catch a glimpse of this unbelievably cute critter, head to Kibale Forest.

8. L’Hoest’s monkey

While not the easiest to find primate species in Uganda, L’Hoest’s monkey is certainly one of the most memorable thanks to that striking white bib against its brown coat.

To try your luck, head to Bwindi, Kibale Forest, or Maramagambo Forest.

9. Red-tailed monkey

Uganda seems to have a never-ending supply of cute primates. The red-tailed monkey stands out for, yes, its red tail, but also the heart-shaped spot on its nose.

As one of Uganda’s more common primates, you’ll have the chance to see them at many of its parks, including Bwindi, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Smuliki, and other tropical forests.

10. Patas monkey

As the world’s fastest primate, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled to see the Patas monkey.

Living mostly on the ground, the Patas is remarkable because it runs only on its fingertips – its feet never touch the ground!

Look out for them in Kidepo National Park or the plains of Murchison Falls National Park.

11. Baboon

Last but not least is the most common primate in Uganda: the baboon.

You’ll see these alongside the roads and in the forests throughout Uganda. These sociable, smart monkeys are sure to fill up your camera with their charming antics.

Example Tour Itineraries for Primate Safaris in Uganda

As you are searching for primate safaris in Uganda, it is often helpful to have some ideas to guide your research. Below are four of our favorite primate safaris, ranging in lengths to help give you an idea of how you can structure your time in the Pearl of Africa.

  • Explorers Primate Safari – When time is precious and you want to spend as much time as possible with Uganda’s incredible primates, this primate-centric safari is made for you. Take the quickest route to the beautiful southwestern area of Uganda by flying in for a 10-day adventure during which you’ll see chimps, gorillas and Golden Monkeys.
  • Primate Habituation – For the essential primate experience in Uganda, this 10-day safari will introduce you to amazing primates all throughout Uganda. With opportunities to experience a day each of chimp tracking, mountain gorilla tracking, and Golden Monkey habituation, you’re sure to take away some indelible memories, not to mention some great photos. A truly unique African safari experience!
  • The Grace of the Mountain Gorillas – As one of only three countries in the world where it’s possible to spend a moment with the mountain gorillas, Uganda offers travelers an incredible opportunity. As the lucky few who have come before you can attest, a look into the eyes of these majestic animals touches your soul. Experiencing the Grace of the Mountain Gorillas firsthand is a memory you’ll treasure for the rest of your life.

Custom Tour Itineraries for Primate Safaris in Uganda

If you need help planning your primate safari in Uganda, Kikooko Africa Safaris would be honored to help.

As boutique Uganda safari tour providers since 2013, we help to connect travelers both to the amazing wildlife and the warm people of Uganda. It would be a delight to help you plan your trip, too. Please get in touch with us today to begin!

Frequently Asked Questions About Primate Safaris in Uganda

Where are the best parks to see primates in Uganda?

If you’re planning a trip to see primates in Uganda, the two parks that need to be on your list are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Kibale National Park for mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, respectively.

Other top primate destinations in Uganda include:

Why visit primates in Uganda?

Because of Uganda’s size, it is easy to navigate between these parks and have a fruitful, fun wildlife photography safari

Likewise, naturalists love visiting Uganda because it’s possible to spend between an hour and four hours with families of gorillas and chimpanzees. These habituated families offer a chance to study their behaviors, their social structures, and more.

Plus, the whole trekking experience leads you through natural forest landscapes that are unlike any other you’ve visited before. Many times, the rangers will be blazing a new path through the untamed wilderness, meaning you’re the first group to ever set foot there!

How much does it cost to see mountain gorillas in Uganda?

The gorilla permit cost in Uganda is currently $700 for foreign non-residents (including tourists), $600 for foreign residents of East African countries, and 250,000 UGX for East African citizens. The gorilla permit allows you to spend one hour with the gorilla family.

The gorilla habituation permit costs $1,500 for foreign nonresidents, $1,000 for foreign residents in East Africa, and 750,000 UGX for East African Citizens.

There are no low season discounts.

Where can mountain gorillas be found in Uganda?

With more than half of the world’s mountain gorillas, Uganda is a great place to go visit them. Mountain gorillas live on the slopes of the Virunga Mountain in Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. 

How much does it cost to see chimps in Uganda? 

A chimpanzee trekking permit in Budongo Forest costs $130 for foreign non-residents, $120 for foreign residents, and $85 for East African Citizens.

Where can chimps be found in Uganda?

Chimp trekking is most often done in Kibale Forest National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

If you’re choosing just one, go with Kibale Forest. As they have the highest population, you’ll have the best luck at seeing a large number of chimps.

How many chimps are there in Uganda?

There are around 5,000 chimpanzees in Uganda. This population is spread through forest reserves like Budongo, Kibale, Kalinzu, Bwindi, Bugoma, and the Rwenzori Mountains.

What is primate trekking?

It is a physical activity which sees you trekking through the forest in search of habituated, yet wild living primates in their natural habitat.


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Warren Ankwasa

Founder, Kikooko Africa Safaris

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