List of some of the commonly seen primates species in Uganda and Rwanda

List of some of the commonly seen primates species in Uganda and Rwanda  : Primates’ safaris are one of the main tourist attractions in both Uganda and Rwanda. These two countries have about 13 primates species found in the forests of where they are found. Primates trekking is best done early mornings and late afternoon and in Uganda, primates can mainly be seen in the Kibale national park, Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Mgahinga national park and other forests like the Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest reserve near Queen Elizabeth national park, Mabira forest, Karuma forest reserve, Semuliki national park, Budongo forest, Bugoma forest and many other forests while in Rwanda primates are best spotted in Nyungwe forest national park and Volcanoes national park. Below are some of the primates commonly found in Uganda and Rwanda.


The Chimpanzees also known scientifically as the Pan troglodytes are the primate species that are said to share 98% DNA with human beings thus together with the guerrillas, they are the closest living relatives with human beings. The chimpanzees are prominent great apes which live in Africa’s tropical forests and wet savannah areas. They are very intelligent and have advanced long arms, with shorter legs and no tail. Chimpanzees have their body covered with dark brown hair, except for the face, fingers, and toes, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Their diet is mainly fruits and leaves although they also eat ants and meat to mention a few. They also hunt the red-tailed & blue monkeys.

They live in troops of 30 to 80 individuals and each adult chimpanzee constructs a primitive nest of tree branches and leaves where they spend a night. The chimpanzees reach sexual maturity at 8 – 10 years and live up to 50 years and their Gestation period is 8 months. Kibale national park in Uganda is the best destination in Africa where to find the Chimpanzees. The chimpanzees in Kibale forest are habituated so visitors are guaranteed 99% to see them in their wild. Other destinations where to see the chimpanzees in Uganda include Kyambura Gorge forest, Kalinzu forest, Budongo forest and Semiliki national park. While in Rwanda, they can only be spotted in Nyungwe forest national park.

Black and white colobus monkey

The Black and white colobus monkeys also scientifically known as Colobus Geureza are a species of monkeys beautifully marked with black and white body markings usually on their faces, sides and at the end of their long tails. The colobus monkeys are commonly found in forested areas and unlike the Olive Baboons, Colobus monkeys live in smaller groups. Their white tails flowing behind them makes them attractive and more spectacular while they jump highly on the tree branches. The infants are born in all white colours however later as they grow, they turn black and white. They feed on nuts, seeds, insects, small vertebrates, leaves, stems, barks, flowers, buds, shoots and some aquatic plants.

List of some of the commonly seen primates species in Uganda and Rwanda

Olive Baboons

The Baboons, scientifically called Papio Anubis are one of the most adaptable of the ground dwelling primates that feed on primarily grass, seeds, leaves, roots and fruits. The most common ones are the Olive baboons usually found in the savannah and forested areas. These long and pointed muzzled monkeys sleep, travel, and feed and socialize together in groups of over 50 individuals consisting of Males, females and their young ones. Because of their large size, Baboons spend most of their time on the ground while carefully grooming to remove insects and climbing trees to look for food or avoid predators.

The Olive baboons have a gestation period of about six months after which an infant baboon is born. The Male baboons usually compete to copulate with females. It’s also known that the baboons can live up to 30 years. Baboon can be spotted in all Uganda and Rwanda national parks and forest reserves.

Red-tailed monkey

The Red-tailed monkey is yet another primate’s species scientifically called Cercopithecus ascarius. The Red-tailed monkeys are also forest species with a distinctive nose patch, elaborate cheek fur and a red tail. They usually move in small pairs of 5 to 30 individuals and they associate with other primates. They feed on flowers, fruits, flower buds, shoots, sap and leaves, trees but also include insects and ants.

They are also active in the morning and late evening hours and can live up to 16 years. A new one can be born after 5 months. They are usually seen Kibale forest, Bwindi forest, Mpanga forest reserve, Budongo Royal Mile, Semliki and Queen Elizabeth National Park while in Rwanda, Nyungwe forest national park

Blue Monkey

The Blue Monkeys, also scientifically known as the Cercopithecus Mitis, these forest dwellers are not noticeably blue in colour but with a little hair on the face giving it a blue appearance. The blue monkeys are about 50 to 60 centimetres in length and weight up to 4 Kilograms for the females and 8 Kilograms for the males. The Blue Monkeys live in groups of about 10 to 40 individuals containing a single adult male. The females normally defend their territories from other groups.

The blue monkeys prefer to live in tall trees which provide both food and shelter. Their diet is made up of mainly fruits and leaves. These primates are commonly found in rain-forests & montane bamboo forests where they can live up to 20 years. Both the male & female monkeys reach sexual maturity at 3 years and the gestation period for the female blue monkey is 5 months. In Uganda, they can be found in Mgahinga national park and Kibale forest national park while in Rwanda they are found in Nyungwe forest national park

De brazza’s Monkey

De brazza’s Monkeys with a scientific name Cercopithecus neglectus are monkeys with hairy faces, red-dish-brown patch around their eyes, white band across their brow, white moustache and beard with a relatively short tail. The De brazza’s monkeys are very active during the morning and afternoon. Their diet is mainly leaves, shoots, fruits, roots, lizards, insects and geckos. They are known to be very good swimmers and climbers living up to 20 years. They have a gestation period of about 5 and half months. Best places to see while in Uganda include; Semuliki national park and Mount Elgon national parks

List of some of the commonly seen primates species in Uganda and Rwanda

Grey cheeked Mangabey

The Grey cheeked Mangabeys, also scientifically called Lophocebus albigena are Uganda’s only endemic primates mainly found in Kibale forest. They are characterized by their large cheeks and short furry tail that are stiff and held to an angle. The Grey cheeked Mangabeys weigh up to 12 Kilograms and have a length of about 70 Centimetres. These large tree dwelling primates live in groups of about 30 individuals and can live up to 32 years while in captivity. These monkeys reach sexual maturity at 5 – 7 years and their gestation period is about 5 and half months.

L’hoest’s monkey

The L’hoest’s monkeys also scientifically called Cercopithecus L’hoesti are forest monkeys characterized by having black faces with backward projecting white whiskers partially covering their ears and carries. Their tails in an upright position, they mainly feed on fruit, herbs, roots, flowers and leaves. They live in small troops of about 12 individuals and have a lifespan of about 16 and half years in captivity. The L’hoest’s monkeys are hard to see since they stay in dense forests.

The Males weigh 6 kilograms and females 3.5 kilograms and they are considered vulnerable with a risk of extinction. One of the activities by these monkeys is mutual grooming of fur particularly on the chain, cheeks and nape. To get an offspring, the monkeys take about 5 month’s gestation period. They can be seen in Maramagambo forest, Bwindi forest, Kibale forest and Queen Elizabeth national park.

Patas Monkey

The Patas Monkeys are also scientifically called Erythrocebus Patas, they are a type of monkeys which are lanker built with light reddish brown coat and black stripes above their eyes. They are easily confused with the Vervet Monkeys. During the midday heat, they rest and their main activity is in the morning and late afternoon. These monkeys are almost terrestrial, sleeping in trees only at night. Their diet consists of fruit, seeds, leaves, root, ground nuts, birds, eggs and mineral impregnated earth. Their lifespan is 8 years and gestation period is 5 – 6 months. The Pata Monkeys can only be found in the dry Savannah of Kidepo national park, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve and woodlands of northern Uganda.

Red Colobus monkey

The Red Colobus monkeys, also scientifically called Procobus badius, are arboreal monkeys with a slightly tufted crown, small head and long back closely related to the black and white Colobus monkeys. They are referred to as the most threatened taxonomic group of primates in Africa.

These monkeys are very sociable and live in scattered groups of about 50 or more individuals. They feed on flowers, soft fruits (unripe fruit), shoots and leaves mainly in the morning & afternoon. They are highly sensitive to hunting and habitat destruction and their lifespan is 20 years. The gestation period is of 5 – 7 months until a new one is born. They are mainly found in the Bigodi wetland sanctuary of Kibale national park and Semliki national park in Uganda.

Vervet monkey

The Vervet monkey, also called Cercopithecus aethiops, are greenish-olive or silvery-grey monkeys with a black face with very distinctive blue male genitals. They commonly live in troops more than 20 individuals. The male ververt monkeys move freely in and out of these groups while close bonds with female relatives begin to develop in Infancy. They sleep and eat from the trees where they go to look for food.

Their diet is mainly Leaves, young shoots, bark flowers, fruit, bulbs, root, grass seeds, insects. They live up to 24 years and gestation period is 5 and half months. The Vervet monkeys can be seen in Mount Elgon and Lake Mburo National parks of Uganda and Nyungwe forest of Rwanda

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