Primates in Uganda. In zoology, a primate is any mammal of the group that includes lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans. The order Primates, with its 300 or more species, is the third most diverse order of mammals, after rodents and bats. When compared with body weight, the primate brain is larger than that of other terrestrial mammals, and it has a fissure unique to primates (the Calcarine sulcus) that separates the first and second visual areas on each side of the brain. Whereas all other mammals have claws or hooves on their digits, only primates have flat nails.
The most massive primate is the gorilla and one of the sub species known as the mountain gorilla is found in Uganda with its weight varying from 140 to 180 kg (about 300 to 400 pounds). Some primates in Uganda including the gorillas and chimpanzees share more than 95% of their DNA with human beings and have very amazing characters that interest tourist to want to see them.
The primates found in Uganda are 20 species. A total of 13 primates can be found in Kibale National Park which is the highest density of primates in all of Africa within a single destination. Primates in Uganda include the mountain gorilla, chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, I’Hoest’s monkey, blue monkey bush babies, potto, golden monkey and olive baboons.
Uganda is blessed to be a top destination for primate tracking or trekking in Africa with the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees on top of the list. Uganda has a big population of chimpanzees living within their natural habitat as well as half of the remaining mountain gorilla population still living within their natural habitat. Trekking and seeing the gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural habitats is such a unique experience worth having and therefore many would prefer to have a trip that makes it possible to see all of these. Trekking or hiking through the tropical rain forests is an awe inspiring experience and to very much explore these primates one can visit the different habitats.
Budongo forest is the closest spot from Kampala-Uganda’s capital for tourists to trek chimpanzees. The forest is part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. There are 2 habituated chimpanzee families that can be trekked by those interested in the activity. For Budongo forest chimpanzee trekking, a well-developed and extensive trail system with a length of 115km in total is found in the forest. The forest offers a great experience trekking chimpanzees in the reserve famous for the age-old mahogany trees which can grow up to 80 meters. Within the forest is also 465 plant species, all offering a great jungle experience which is a natural habitat to the chimps living in the forest.
Kibale Forest hosts the highest total population of chimpanzees. The park has over a thousand chimpanzees and is still home to over 13 primate species, that’s why it’s dubbed the primate capital of the world. Chimpanzee habituation is the process of making chimps used to the presence of human beings. The process takes about 2 years or more to fully get used to people.
The chimpanzee habituation experience enables tourists to accompany researchers and habituators (those that take the chimpanzees through the habituation process) into the forest. For chimpanzee habituation, the groups that are visited are less accustomed or used to the presence of human beings than those that are visited during chimpanzee trekking. During the habituation experience those involved follow and view the chimps as they exhibit their characters.
Kyambura Gorge is the only destination in Uganda where you will have to visit the chimps below sea level. The chimpanzees live in a gorge that is about 100m deep at its deepest spot. Unlike other chimpanzees, this population lives below within the gorge and make it an extra ordinary experience to trek them. However, the chimpanzees here are few and therefore sightings are not that marvelous. If you want to have a magical experience, then trek in Kyambura you may never find this experience anywhere else.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park just like its name portrays is a gorilla habitat, home to 1 habituated mountain gorilla family known as the Nyakagezi gorilla group. Tracking the Nyakagezi gorilla group is amazing with the fact that this group is big and social compared to many other habituated gorilla groups. Nyakagezi family is one of the easiest to track given the fact that it prefers a narrow home range for feeding, nesting, relaxing and recreation. In case you are not ready to hike for a long distance, Mgahinga is a better option since they can be found after a short time of trekker rather than those of Bwindi that may require a longer time to trek.
There’s no such an exhilarating way of learning about the elusive mountain gorillas than with a Gorilla habituation experience. Bwindi Forest in Uganda is the only national park where the gorilla habituation experience can be undertaken by tourists. It is an opportunity to meet a group of wild gorillas that haven’t been fully habituated and therefore behave like they would before getting familiar with humans. This is a better way of learning the lifestyle of the mountain gorillas within their natural habitat.
Have a chimpanzee trekking or Uganda gorilla safari with a well-planned primate tracking tour. Primate trekking in Uganda can also be planned and well-tailored with any other trips in East Africa including Kenya safaris, Tanzania tours and Rwanda gorilla tours.