Africa is blessed by nature with favorable climate that allows different privates to survive in the continent. You can choose to visit any of these different destinations and visit your favorite primate.
A primate is any member of the biological order Primates. The primates of Africa are diverse and magnificent animals disappearing in the wild due to human activity. Primates are a group of mammals that include our closest relatives: great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and humans), monkeys, and prosimians (which includes lemurs and lorises).
Chimpanzees, which share more than 98% of their DNA with us, are extremely intelligent animals known for their sophisticated use of tools for obtaining food. Although chimps have so much in common with humans, man-made problems threaten their existence.
Gorillas spend their days foraging for food and relaxing, playing and socializing in their family groups. Though these animals are capable of living peacefully in coexistence with their human neighbors, they are endangered by illegal hunting and habitat loss.
Bonobos, also sharing close genetic ties to humans, are a peaceful and resourceful species. Due to a number of factors, including political and civil unrest in surrounding human populations, illegal poaching and habitat loss, these great apes are facing a major decline in numbers.
There are various places in Africa where you can see these primates.
- Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda
Bwindi impenetrable national park covers an area of 331 square kilometers and is located in south western Uganda. The park is a home to about 400 mountain gorillas. It is also a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees. The park supports an assortment of jumbled vegetation, steep landscape, high slippery valleys, drought ridges and thick forest with under growth vegetation. This topography makes the trek a bit challenging, but all the effort is worthwhile when you get an hour with a gorilla family in their natural environment.
The park has 4 sectors and all have at least 2 habituated gorilla families. All these families are open for trekking by visitors to the park. Gorilla trekking starts at 8am and children below 14 years are not allowed to do the activity.
2. Kibale National Park, Uganda
Kibale forest national park situated in western Uganda covers an area of 296 square kilometers. The park is majorly a tropical forest at an altitude ranging from 1100 meters and 1600 meters above sea level. There are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee, as well as several species of Central African monkey including the Uganda mangabey, the Ugandan red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates that are found in the park include the black-and-white colobus and the blue monkey.
With almost 1500 chimps living in the park, the habituated groups are open for tracking by tourists to the park. The activity takes between 3-6 hours depending on the location of chimps that day and the fitness of the trekkers.
Other places to see chimps in Uganda include; Kyambura gorge, Kalinzu forest and Budongo forest.
3. Virunga Mountains
The Virunga Mountains are a chain of volcanoes in East Africa, along the northern border of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Uganda. The mountain range is a branch of the Albertine Rift Mountains, which border the western branch of the East African Rift.
The Virunga Mountains are home of the critically endangered mountain gorilla. The vegetation on these volcanoes is also a home to golden monkeys.
4. Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
The Semien Mountains are located in northern Ethiopia, north east of Gondar in Amhara region, are part of the Ethiopian Highlands. They are a World Heritage Site and include the Simien Mountains National Park.
The park is a hone to gelada baboon which are sociable creatures that live in large family groups on the high grasslands in Central Ethiopia between 1800 and 4400 metres above sea level. Alone among the true primates, geladas are purely vegetarian, eating mostly grass, and some seeds. They are relaxed with each other and in the presence of humans, and relatively easy to photograph as a result, and their preferred habitat is spectacular too.
5. Mahale Mountains, Tanzania
Mahale Mountains National Park lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma Region, Tanzania. These mountains are a home to chimpanzees. While Mahale Mountain chimps are typically found on the ground, this doesn’t always make them easier to watch as they can be very active. You might find them happily sitting and grooming each other peacefully, or there might be a battle for supremacy going on between two males, leading to various groups rushing through the forest. Accompanied by the crash of branches, loud hoots and perhaps even rocks being thrown, it is all tremendously exciting. You’ll be grateful for a return to the shore of Lake Tanganyika and an afternoon snoozing on the beach.
6. Kahuzi biega national park
Kahuzi biega national park is a protected area that lies west of the Bukavu town in South Kivu Province. It cover an area of 6,000 square kilometers. The park is named after two dormant volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega, which are within the park boundaries. The park has a rich diversity of flora and fauna and provides protection to 1,178 plant species in the mountainous region of the park, with some 136 species of mammals 349 species of birds.
The mountainous and lowland terrain of the park is a home to the rare eastern lowland gorillas. The park is famously known for being a refuge for these gorillas. It is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies. It has jet black coats like the mountain gorilla, although the hair is shorter on the head and body. The male’s coat, like that of other gorillas, greys as the animal matures, resulting in the designation “silverback”.
7. Lola ya bonobo
Lola ya Bonobo is the world’s only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos, it was founded in 1994 by Claudine Andre. It is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The sanctuary is home to about 60 bonobos who live in 30 hectares of primary forest. Although the bonobos are captive, they live in an environment similar to the wild. They can forage among dozens of edible plants and fruiting trees, compete for mating opportunities, and learn to avoid dangers such as stepping on venomous snakes just as they would in the wild. As a result, the bonobos at the Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary, living in their forested microcosm, show all the naturally occurring behaviors observed in wild bonobos.