Uganda is an outstanding destination when it comes to primate safaris! This relatively small country houses over 20 primate species. The two most sought after primates of Uganda are gorillas and chimpanzees.
Meet the Gorillas
The gorilla is the largest living primate in the world. More than half of the population of Mountain Gorillas in the world is located in Uganda. The gorilla is omnivorous in nature, and dwells predominantly on the forest ground. One such forest is the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The gorilla can be classified into two species: the Western Gorilla and the the Eastern Gorilla. All the two species are in danger of extinction. The primary reasons for this include large-scale poaching, loss of habitat, and demand for bush meat.
Uganda’s gorillas belong to the Mountain Gorilla. These great apes are found in two national parks; the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Gorillas thrive in groups. The Silverback gorilla is responsible decision-making, safety, and care of the group. The Silverback is usually a 12-year-old male. The Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park are two parks that boast of a large gorilla population. In neighboring Rwanda, the Park de Volcans is famous for Gorilla tracking.
Fruits and foliage are the primary sources of food for the mountain gorillas. The diet of the gorillas is similar to the diet of the chimpanzees. Most of the tourists landing in Uganda take part in Gorilla tracking. This safari activity can be availed by obtaining a permit.
The chimpanzee is another primate found in large numbers in Uganda. The chimpanzee, popularly called as chimp, is the species that is closest in resemblance to the humans. They share 98% of the genes of humans.
The primary area for chimpanzee trekking is the Kibale National Park. Other species of monkeys too are plenty in number. Ngamba Island Sanctuary is another tourist hotspot famous for the chimpanzee population. The average adult male chimpanzee is three meters tall with a weight between 35 and 70 kg. The female on the other hand is two to four feet in height with a weight between 26 and 50 kg.
The life expectancy of chimpanzees is 40. Those bred in captive centers are known to live till the age of 60. There has been tremendous effort to conserve the species. Support has been garnered throughout the world. In Uganda, the Jane Goodall Foundation is the primary foundation for the conservation of chimpanzees and gorillas. Support is also pooled by the African Pearl Safaris.
Uganda is known for the Ebola disease. You should keep in mind that the disease is not airborne. The disease is spread through bodily contact, especially blood. It is rare for tourists to contract this disease; however, adequate knowledge about preventive measures is always desired. The Ministry of Health of Uganda sends field investigators to play an active role in investigation, control, diagnosis, and health communications. Most information on the outbreak of the disease is available online. Currently, there are no US travel restrictions to Ebola-hit areas.