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7 Best Primate Tracking Destinations In Uganda & Rwanda

7 Best Primate Tracking Destinations In Uganda & Rwanda

From the wide plains to the forested nature reserves, safaris around the naturally beautiful East African region come in with great adventure and impressive experience. With an array of impressive attractions in the gifted countries of this part of the continent, tourists have a lot to delight in ranging, from primate tracking, wildlife viewing in the savannah grasslands to hiking on the legendary mountains like the Rwenzori ranges.

Today, Rwanda and Uganda rank among the top and incredible African safari destinations because of their numerous primate tracking natural reserves which harbor some of the most sought out primates in the world; mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys. If you plan on doing a primate tracking safari in Uganda or Rwanda this season, then the parks below should not miss out on your itinerary.

Gorillas in Africa

Bwindi Impenetrable national park

The so called “impenetrable forest” is situated near the edge of the Great Rift Valley in the southwestern part of Uganda. About 500 mountain gorillas call this misty rain forest home. Although gorilla tracking is the highlight for visits to the park, you can also spot other primates in this intact jungle; chimps although rarely sighted, black and white colobus monkeys and baboons. The gorillas tracking adventure starts at the park offices, tourists hit trails into the forest and look out for the apes. The park has over 25 gorilla families and you go searching for the family you have been allocated to. The moment of amazement is when the gorillas are sighted and trekkers have an hour to stay with them, watch how they get around, play, feed and protect their young ones.

A gorilla permit in Bwindi impenetrable national park costs $700 and you are reminded to book your Bwindi gorilla safari permit as early as possible.

Volcanoes National park

This is Rwanda’s only destination where you can see mountain gorillas. The nature reserve located on the base and lower slopes of the Virunga volcanoes harbors a population of healthy mountain gorillas and golden monkeys which are tracked all year round. The beautiful Volcanoes national park is located about 105km from the capital of Rwanda and this is an advantage for adventurers who wish go for a 1 day gorilla trekking tour starting from Kigali. Rwanda is well known over the world for her luxury gorilla tracking adventures where a permit costs $1,500 for an individual. Golden monkey tracking is also an incredible adventure to do in the rainforest of the park and this requires you to acquire a permit that costs $100.

Mgahinga Gorilla national Park

Uganda’s smallest national park located in the far most southwestern corner of the country is also one of the most gifted hidden gems; boasting a relatively small population of incredible mountain gorillas and the pretty golden monkeys. This is the alternative park to do gorilla trekking in Uganda. Mgahinga national park offers a quite more strenuous experience of trekking compared to Bwindi because the park is situated on the lower slopes of the Virunga ranges. It has one incredible habituated gorilla family that is currently always available for trekking and a gorilla permit goes for $700 for each individual just like in Bwindi Impenetrable national park.

Kibale National park

Named among the best chimpanzee tracking destinations in Africa, Kibale national park is home to over 1,400 chimps and offers a high chance to spot these apes. The national park protects a tropical forest that also harbors 11 more primate species besides the chimps including red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, grey cheeked monkeys, red colobus monkeys and vervet monkeys among others. Some of these can be sighted during chimpanzee tracking. The adventure starts at Kanyanchu Visitors Centre where visitors meet the ranger guides to take them through the forested jungle to search for chimpanzees. A chimpanzee permit to track chimps in Kibale national park costs $200.

Nyungwe forest national park  

Looking for a natural setting to track chimps in Rwanda? Nyungwe forest national park is the destination for your adventure dreams to come true. This nature reserve sits on 237km in the southwestern part of Rwanda. The rainforest is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, features about 15 trails for exploring the forest and boasts incredible primate species; the common chimpanzees, Hamlyn’s monkey, Dent’s mona monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Ruwenzori colobus and the L’Hoest monkey. Chimpanzee tracking could be the main activity at Nyungwe Forest national park but it as well features other enjoyable adventure including the canopy walk, hiking and nature walk and bird watching.

Budongo forest                  

Budongo forest is the largest forest in Uganda today and is part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area which protects a wonderful range of wildlife. The rain forest is home to over 700 chimpanzees alongside other primates; blue monkey, red tailed monkey, baboons and many others plus nocturnal primates; the galago and pottos. Chimp tracking safaris in Budongo are arranged through Uganda lodges. Unlike in most primate destinations in the region, tracking in Budongo forest doesn’t require a high level of fitness since the terrain is relatively flat.

Kalinzu forest

Adjacent to Queen Elizabeth national park is Kalinzu forest reserve, a home to about 300 chimps. A group of about 40 chimps have been habituated for tourism activities including chimpanzee tracking. The forest is situated on an altitude between 1,000 and 1,500 meters above sea level hence requiring trekkers to pack enough energy giving snacks and drinking water. Primate tracking in Kalinzu forest offers a chance to see other wildlife in the forest such as forest elephants, forest buffaloes, and forest pigs plus capture scenic views of the surrounding including tea plantations, Rwenzori Mountains and other landscapes.

Kalinzu forest reserve is a good option for chimp tracking for travelers on a very tight budget; the permit costs $50.

If you are planning for a safari to Uganda and Rwanda and looking for something to spice up your tour, you will not go wrong with primate tracking in the above destinations. For more information about primate tracking and the best destinations to track the primates, contact us today by sending an email to  or call our travel consultants on +256-700135510/ +256-414699459.


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