Primates are some of the most amazing attractions tourists on Uganda safaris come to explore. Uganda alone has more than 20 species of primates living in various locations, making it one of the treasured destinations for primate watching. The primates in Uganda dwell in the country’s verdant tropical forests/forest-dominated parks and reserves.

The 20 species of primates in Uganda include 13 diurnal and 7 nocturnal species. The most sought-for primates in Africa are concentrated in Uganda, and they include the endangered mountain gorillas, blue monkeys, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, mangabeys, pottos, olive baboons, red colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, bush babies, vervet monkeys, Patas monkeys, De Brazza’s monkeys, and others.

On a primate trekking expedition with Friends Nature Safaris Ltd, we take you deep into the African jungles in Uganda to search for interesting primates, explore their daily behaviors, and take pictures while they are in their natural habitat. Our primate safaris are led are carried out with the lead of experienced guides, and visits are conducted in already habituated primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, Uganda mangabeys, etc.

The must-see primates in Uganda

Mountain gorillas

The highest population of mountain gorillas that are left on earth lives in Uganda. A total of 1063 endangered mountain gorillas still exist in the world, and they can only be viewed while on a gorilla tour in Uganda, DRC, or Rwanda. Uganda hosts half of the total mountain gorilla population left on earth, and these occupy two of the country’s 10 parks- that is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Visiting a habituated gorilla group in Uganda requires you to have a valid gorilla permit, and each permit costs USD700 per person for foreign nonresidents and USD600 per visitor for foreign residents and shs. 250,000 per tourist for East African citizens. These rates apply to guests visiting Uganda for gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience, permits cost USD1500 per person for foreign nonresidents. The foreign residents visiting Uganda for a gorilla habituation experience pay USD1000 and East African citizens shs.750,000.

Golden monkeys

In Uganda, golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis Kandti) live in only Mgahinga National Park. These primates occupy mostly the Virunga Region and Albertine rift area in Africa. They feature a golden patch on their bodies, a reason why they are referred to as golden monkeys.


Chimpanzees are humans’ closest cousins in the wild, and over 5000 of them live in Uganda alone. They are among the most looked-for primates on Uganda safaris, and often, our guests combine chimpanzee tracking and mountain gorilla trekking. Chimps share over 98.7% of their DNA with humans, and they are listed among the endangered species due to threats like habitat loss, hunting/poaching, the spread of infectious diseases, and other factors.

Blue monkeys

The blue monkeys are almost similar to the golden monkeys. Unlike the golden monkeys, the blue monkeys exist in most forests in Uganda and national parks with exception of Murchison Falls Park and Lake Mburo National Park.

Black & white colobus monkeys

These beautiful primates do not have thumbs, but their bodies have contrasting with the long white mantle on its back, bushy tails, whiskers, and beards on their faces. The black and white colobus monkeys can be spotted in most of riparian woodland and forest-protected areas.

Red colobus monkeys

The red colobus monkeys have beautiful big eyes, and tufted crowns with contrasting brick-red, grey and white-colored coats. These make them a few exceptional primate species tourists in the wild. These are commonly spotted in Kibale Forest National Park and Semuliki National Park.

L’hoest monkeys

The L’hoest monkey features a white bib which contrasts with the dark brown and chestnut-colored coat. It is not famous like most primates, and it is one of the hard-find species. It can be sighted around Kibale Forest Park, Maramagambo, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park.

Challenges primates in Uganda face

Although primates have become some of the most sought attractions on Uganda safaris, they still encounter several challenges. Most primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and others feature on the list of endangered species. The numerous challenges these creature encounters include habitat loss, diseases, and more.