Common Primates in Uganda

Chimpanzees in Uganda:

Chimpanzees are one of the greatest apes still living on earth with human beings, gorillas, oragutans, and bonobos.  Apes are said to be with more advanced brain than other animals in the world and have well defined digits at the end of their limbs. However, of all apes in the world chimpanzees are the closest relatives of mankind with 98.8% DNA similarity.

Despite being smaller than man, chimpanzees are up to 5 times stronger. The males weigh up to 150lbs whilst females often don’t exceed 110-115lbs. Chimpanzee group sizes can vary dramatically from 20 up to 100, you will often see (or probably hear them first) them in the trees building nests, playing and sleeping. They are omnivorous animals as they feed on both vegetable and meat. They main feed on fruits, tree shoots, leaves and branches and at times hunt down lower order primates like the red colobus and bush babies   These small apes also have special and intriguing ability that has made man have a keen interest in them. The chimpanzees have the ability to use tools like stone and sticks to build their shelter and also gather food.

The chimpanzees are endangered species red listed by the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN). This means these playful apes are in danger of getting extinct since their population is reducing at a rapid rate due to the loss of habitats, diseases, chimpanzee trade and also civil wars that happen in their locale.   The chimpanzees are only found in the forests of sub Saharan Africa and Uganda is regarded as the capital of the intelligent chimpanzees with a whooping population of 5000 individuals.

The chimpanzees in Uganda are found in Kibale forest national park in the west of the country regarded as the capital of small primates, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semliki wildlife reserve, Budongo and Kanyiyo Padidi forest adjacent to Murchison falls national park. They can also be found at Ngamba Island but these are normally orphaned chimpanzees that are got from the wild and then placed in the safer sanctuary to rejuvenate their life. The Ngamba Island is found at Lake Victoria and grabbing a boat leads the visitors to the wonderful Chimpanzee Island. The fore mentioned places are the gazzatted areas for chimpanzees where they are being monitored, protected and conserved and the results are very promising since their number is increasing. These places are also open to tourists who would love to hang out with the chimpanzees. Interaction with chimpanzees is so amazing due to the fact that these small apes are damn wise and therefore their social antics always leave a grin smile on the visitors.

Other Small Primates

Other than the chimpanzee, there are other small primates from the 14 different species of monkeys to the baboons and bush babies. These primates are also related to apes but they have tails at their ending of their back, are tree huggers and also have less developed brain.  These live in the same locale as the chimpanzees. They are live in the tropical rainforests of Uganda.

Some of the small primates found in Uganda include;

The golden monkeys: these are rare monkey that are only found in the tropical rainforest of Mgahinga national park in the kigezi region at the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Dr. Congo. These monkeys have a gold colour at their back which makes them beautiful to watch by the tourists. There are also endangered species red listed by the International Union of Conservation for Nature.


These derive their name from the colour on their bodies as they have white faces and white tails and also their main body is black. These can easily be encountered in the Kibale forest national park and mountain rwenzori


These species of monkeys are very common in the forests of east central Africa.  Dark-Blue-Grey in color, white throat and a white patch on chest. Tourists can track these species of primates in almost all national parks in Uganda except Kidepo, Murchison and Lake Mburo national parks.


They are thick in their setting, have a short tail, hairy, a white mustache and beard and a red brown patch on the outside of the eyes. They belong to the guenon family of monkeys and found in Semliki national park and mount. Elgon national park

Grey Cheeked Mangabeys;

These species are also called Ugandan mangabeys since they are mainly found in Uganda. They are grey and black in colour and act like baboons in behavior. These live in the low altitude tropical rain forests and in Uganda, they are found in Mabira forests, Kibale forest and Semliki.

L’hoest Monkeys:

These are rare species of monkeys and in East Africa, there are only found in Uganda. They tend to hide in dense forest and live on ground most of the time. They are also on two limbs. These species of monkeys are found in Kibale forests, Queen Elizabeth national park in Maramagambo forests and Bwindi impenetrable forests.

There also other species of monkeys like the red tailed monkeys, Angolan colobus, red colobus and patas monkeys to mention but a few. These species can also be spotted when you go primates trekking and on a nature walk in the tropical rain forests of Uganda.

Baboons- Uganda Baboons:

The baboons found in Uganda are called olive baboons and they are the only species found in Uganda. These live in large groups and their fierce dog like face could evoke nerve cracking moments to tourists on sight. These baboons are endemic to the montane region parks of Mgahinga, mountain rwenzori and mount. Elgon national parks. They can also be spotted along the road side while leading to Murchison falls national park at the Karuma Dam Bridge.

Uganda also has The Bush Babies that are found in Queen Elizabeth national park. These are nocturnal primates thus in context they are alive at night. During day, they are hardly seen. They have a distinctive sound and glittering eyes that glow in the dark. Those who take up night game drive in Queen Elizabeth national park get a chance to see the bush babies.