Among the top tourists attractions in Africa for safaris are the primate watching experience in the most known destinations that are habitat to these primates found in the topical rain forests and mountains. If planning for a primate safaris in Africa, dont miss visiting the smaller primates of Africa such as Baboons and Monkeys are of the more common inhabitants. They live in trees and mountains and their most feared predator.
Africa Safari Journeys
Africa is one of the major interesting destination to visit though it looks as the dark continent into the eyes of many people from the western countries.However,Africa’s uniqueness is reflected in a number of interesting features or wonders that are associated with this iconic part of the planet earth “Africa’. Being a wildlife destination, it’s still being looked at as the primates territory. Whoever thinks of going on an African safari, he thinks of Kruger national park south Africa, Serengeti national park in Tanzania and Ngorongoro crater , Masai mara national park in Kenya, but am sure no trip to Africa can be complete without a visit to endangered mountain gorillas in virunga massif ( virunga massif comprises of the 3 national park that replaced the oldest Albert national park ( Virunga National Park) in Congo DRC or the greater Zaire, but now the park was subdivided into 3 major parks known as , Volcanoes national park, Mgahinga national park and Virunga national park.
Major Primates in Africa open for Watching
There are 4 major primate species found in Africa and they all share 97% human DNA test that means it’s our responsibility to save our closest apes before their extinction . Once a specie is lost, its lost for good, the major cause for this has been due to increased human activities that has led to much pressure and competition between humans and the scarce resources that is happening on our continent Africa.
Bonobos in Central DRC,
These are some of our closest ancestors for we share 98.7% human DNA, they are only and only found in the Congo basin, these primates share unique feature which almost differentiates them slightly from humans, bonobos are proved to be among the peaceful apes where any grudge in the society can be amicably solved with a single dose of sex , scientifically sex acts as lubricant to calm down the situation almost the same way how married couple could solve affairs and in this way, life could come back to normal. These guys have gone far to be wise in such way that females are the dominant leaders in the societies which means there will be endless peace in the ecosystem unlike human who are always at war due to greed for power and never been contented with the little that they have thus giving a big thumb to the bonobos, in fact this is the opposite among the mountain gorillas where only the dominant male silver back is the leader of the group and owns sole ownership of all females in the group. This has not been the case with the bonobos given the case of how things are done in the book of the animal farm where “the big ones survive”.
The gestation period of bonobos is 240 days equivalent to 34 weeks/8month compared to 280 days which is 9 months for the humans. This justifies the remaining small difference in percentage between humans and Bonobos but all in the family of primates since they all have same features of primates such as, 5 apprehensive hands and feet, brain, shoulders and hips. Bonobos have a life span of 40 years.
This is another sub specie of primates that share the close DNA as humans, chimpanzees are graded as among the endangered species by IUCN, because of their scarcity due to human trafficking with an intention of keeping them as pets and the desire for money. More credit efforts has been given to Jane Goodal for her work towards saving the endangered primates in their wilderness, her institute at Gombe national park in Tanzania and Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary , chimpanzees are spread in many places in Africa like , Kibale forest national park, Budongo forest part of Murchison falls national park, Virunga national park, kyambura gorge, Mikeno sector part of Virunga national park and Nyungwe forest national park.
Chimpanzees are known to be well interacting and they live in big numbers, chimps eat almost everything that humans eat, their life is entirely lived on insects, fruits, ants and meat from black and white colobus monkeys which is their favorite meat next to ficus tree fruits. Chimpanzees can live up to 50 years, they have a highest level of socialization where the group is headed by the alpha male , the biggest group can reach up to 30 chimps, hunting is done jointly as group. Chimpanzee reach maturity at age of 13 years and only a single baby is born. Jane Goodal has made the life of chimpanzees common into the eyes of many primatologists, whoever travels to Uganda cannot miss going on either normal chimpanzee trekking in kibale forest national park, where the trekking permit costs $150 while chimpanzee habituation experience cost $200
Gorillas are classified into 3 sub species which include the mountain gorillas beringei beringei,Eastern Lowland Gorillas, western Lowland gorillas, (gorilla gorilla) cross river gorilla (beringei brauei), These gorillas are spread across west Africa although Eastern Lowland gorillas are found only found in Democratic republic of congo in the famous parks of Kahuzi biega national park & maiko national park yet the western lowland gorillas across Congo, Equatorial Guienea and Gabon. It has been difficult to estimate the number of lowland gorillas due to their habitat being dense and less accessible to gorilla doctors who normally carry out gorilla census.
Gorillas have been ranked among the endangered species by IUCN of which this body calls for every ones efforts towards saving the lives of the great apes, basing on the recent census there’s over 798 mountain gorillas left in the world from the recent census done by gorilla doctors. The major threats to mountain gorillas has been largely from human activities due to competition for land for agriculture something that has led to the destruction of the habitat.
Man has gone ahead to put up measures to increase sustainability of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, by setting up several organizations which are playing key roles to ensue there’s harmony and continued support of mountain gorillas. In the process to conserve mountain gorillas, humans as the cleverest among apes and have gone ahead to save their ancestors or close relatives by setting up various measures through which some revenue is raised. Among these is through gorilla trekking as well as setting up carrying capacity measures.
Western Low land gorillas, This sub specie of gorillas is just as the name describes.They are dominantly found the central African republic , Angola, Cameroon and equatorial guinea congo basin in the ituri forest and also within the kahuzi biega national park and gorilla pass Eastern Lowland gorillas goes for $400 and the Habituation experience for the gorilla is 600$$$ with a big magnitude in price difference they are in and they live in the mountains of Kahuzi and Biega forest family of G.gorillas and in family of Hominid. These gorillas are less habituated compared to the mountain gorillas they live close proximity with the villages and other communities which are conservationist in conservation .one to book these permits is booked at kawuzi biega park head offices.
Mountain gorillas, Mountain gorilla live across the virunga massif in the territories these inclusive of the great virunga national park formally known as the Albert cook national park currently it’s the virunga national park in Congo Drc around the mikeno sector and Bukima regions. In Rwanda mountain gorillas occupy the lesser volcanoes national in the areas around kinigi and kwam chechru, these are the former territory where the late Dianne fosey used to operate from.
Mountain gorilla live within a life expectancy between 35-50 year and no one know how its life span is in captivity, female gorillas reach maturity at 10 year the ,female have a gestation period of 8.5moths and only a single baby is born, its very rare for gorillas to produce twins irrespective of where mountain gorillas live, they have a uniform way of living but the life of mountain gorillas is at threat due to increased human activities and pressure on land and other natural resources, unlike the western and eastern low land gorillas, but mountain gorillas have been made popular into the eyes of karisoke research centre which was started by the late dian fossey through her activities such as currying out the daily protection of mountain gorillas in their natural habits, they do this by making sure that gorilla population is monitored and taken good care of , the organization does the responsibility of education the communities and future generation about the importance of protecting the natural habitat not only that but also the organization take the role of helping the communities around the protected areas by giving them subsides in form extending other social services like free medical facilities, electricity and health.
Another area where to see Mountain gorillas is Bwindi impenetrable forest and mgahinga national park , all these 2 places are found in the south western part of Uganda in the northern sector of Bwindi. If one is to see gorillas in Uganda, its advisable to book
Gorilla families distribution Bwindi natural habitat Open for Uganda Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla distribution in the wild is influenced by a number of factors political social and natural factors will determine the population size of the gorilla individuals in particular group. Also, I think it’s key to note that this is a changing situation. Un habituated groups can become habituated for gorilla trekking and vice versa that’s before you factor in gorilla politics. Habituated groups can split on grounds of fighting for superiority in the group among the silverbacks, or become unstable and unsuitable for visiting- for example in the event of the death of a silverback, this happened last year when the only silverback in the “M group” died due to falling off from the branch of the tree which it had climbed. This led to the crumbling of this gorilla family to join other groups leaving the ”M group” non existing.
Bwindi as habitat for a number of a thousand living organism including the primates so, protecting this forest, means you’re directly or indirectly protecting the planet earth and ensuring sustainability of the endangered species. While on gorilla trekking, a lot has been written on various topics about gorilla trekking such as comparison of gorilla trekking Bwindi Vs volcanoes national park. In fact the degree of which is better or worse depends on number of factors but all in all, They both ‘look good’ regardless of the exact location you find them. Family size may vary and thus the number of young ones in the group determines your enjoyments and the timing at which you find these gorillas inn, even the weather forecast at the time of visit, even the mood and experience of who is your ranger guide on the trek etc but on the whole you will enjoy your audience.
A . EASTERN PART (Ruhija) this part lies about 26km away from Kabale town and about 50Km away from Buhoma, one can access this point any time and on time for the gorilla trek , one can spend a night at Buhoma and trek the gorillas in Ruhijja however it requires one to set off from Buhoma as early as 6:00Am. The same as if one is leaving Kabale or Lake Bunyonyi trekking at Ruhijja. although, one can stay at Ruhijja for there is a good number of lodges operating from this point.
- Bitukura.(8 gorillas in the group)
- Oruzogo.(24 gorilla individuals)
- 3.Kyaguliro.(9 individuals.)
b) NORTHERN PART(Buhoma)
- Rushegura.( This is the oldest gorilla family that stays around buoma , the oldest point where gorilla trekking began from in the late 90s .
- Mubare.this group that disappeared after the death of the silverback thus leading to crumbling of the group since the males alone couldn’t take the group any further. Thus this marked the end of the m group.
d) Mgahinga National park
- Nyakagezi family. This roams between Mt Muhabura, Mgahinga, and Sabinyo. Its known as the best gorilla family with 4 silverback and 3 babies that leave everyone on the trek speechless.
How to Book & Secure a primate Permit for Trekking
These permits that the writer tries to explain include the gorilla permits and the Chimpanzee Permits.
A permit is strictly restricts one person per permit and there 3 ways of acquiring a pass , the bet option is through your local travel agent or directly boo it through the reservation office of UWA( Uganda wild life authority)R,DB Rwanda development board through the new irembo booking system, Virunga national park for congo, the same process applies to gorilla permit booking
In Nyungwe forest, chimpanzee trekking costs $90, and a permit is valid for a single entry and all activities begin in the morning at 8Am in the morning, it’s worthwhile to add primates trekking onto your bucket list on top of the African big five game safari.
That’s why we call upon all human as the only saver to the endangered chimpanzees , by creating sensitization and mass awareness about the importance of saving the natural habitat, by saving the natural habitat, this means saving the lives of thousands of other living species that live in this eco system with the primates. Measures such as established carrying capacity to the daily number of visitors who go to visit these chimpanzees, not only that but also stopping animal trafficking has also been set up to see that there’s sustainability of these scarce apes.
A big thumb goes to Jane Goodal and her efforts to save chimpanzees in Africa. Unlike their counterpart the bonobos, chimpanzees and bonobos are difficult to track since they can move for long distances through tree to tree without touching the ground in search for food though they both make nests every day by 6:00pm, they begin to make nests where they can spend the night, nests are built in the tree branches which acts as comfortable bed that is made up of leaves and small tree branches. Gorillas make nests on the ground.
Classification gorilla trekking options for Gorilla Tours
Short gorilla trekking
While going on gorilla trek, there several options that arise after the organizers realized the challenges that are associated with gorilla trekking , These uniforms rules are derived from the various questions that most clients come up with. We offer a range of options for trekking the classic easy trek. You can choose to go for the easiest trek, this is normally designed for elderly people, those with flights that same day and trekking can range between 1-2 hours and those with mobility issues,to join other trekkers in an easy group at times on special requests, we can arrange a private exclusive trek for you.
medium gorilla trekking, with this option, the difference is in the walking/trekking distance and terrain where to get to find the gorillas.Gorillas are mostly sighted around 2400m-3400m as the case for trekking in volcanoes park.The medium trek goes for about 3-4 hours to get to where the gorillas live or are but still after finding the gorillas, still you have to continue walking with gorillas until one hour is over so some level of fitness may be required to coup up with the speed of gorillas , in gorilla trekking there is no exclusive gorilla trekking unless on buys all the recommended carrying capacity in a group 8 permits , otherwise the trekking will be mixed up with other people from different companies, nationalities.
Long gorilla trek
You’re all advised to note if you wish to join a trek that’s is long trek, means those who op to go on such trek must be in perfect state to go hike across up trails and down trails and one must be in perfect state this is majorly for strong and young people who can walk for many hours in the jungle gorilla trekking is different since every day is a different experience depending on the place, weather of the day and location where you find the gorillas.