Over 13 primate species all live in the jungles of Kibale National Park making it one of the most sought after primate safari destinations. Kibale National Park is truly the primate capital of the world. The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is the highest in Africa. The most famous of its 13 species is the chimpanzee, our closest relative. Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzees represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. The forest is also home to East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus and the rare I’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates include the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto.
Kibale National Park is a celebrated primate safari destination in Africa offering the best chimpanzee trekking experiences, chimpanzee habituation experience, primate walk/forest walks, etc. The 795sq.kms Kibale Forest National Park lies in Western Uganda, 6 hours’ drive from Kampala.
Other than primates, Kibale National Park is generally a rich Uganda safari park offering plenty for nature lovers to see, experience. Over 375 bird species also share the same habitat with numerous primates, plus countless mammals, reptiles, butterfly species to mention but a few.
Here is the list of 13 primates of Kibale National Park
The 13 different primate species of Kibale National Park, Western Uganda
- Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes
- Olive baboon Papio anubis
- L’hoest monkey Cercopithecus l’hoesti
- Blue monkey C. nictitans
- Red tailed monkey C. ascanius
- Vervet monkey C. Pygerythrus
- Red colobus Piliocolobus badius
- Black and white colobus Colobus guereza
- Grey cheeked mangabey Lophocebus albigena
- Potto Perodicticus potto
- Greater galago (bushbaby) Otolemur crassicaudatus
- Needle-clawed galago (bushbaby) Euoticus
- Dwarf galago (Pigmy bushbaby) Galagoides thomasi
A total of about 1500 chimpanzee live in the scenic forest of Kibale National Park. It comes with over 5 habituated chimpanzee communities which makes Kibale an outstanding chimpanzee trekking destination. There is a 99% chance of viewing chimpanzees in the lush forest of Kibale considering the huge concentration of these rare apes and availability of many habituated chimpanzee communities.
Chimpanzees are among the closest human relatives in the wild sharing up to 98.7% of their DNA with humans. They are also considered to be the most intelligent species in the world and an encounter with them in the wild blows your mind away.
Note, there are 2 options to interact with chimpanzees in Kibale- tourists can go chimpanzee trekking and permits are available at USD200 per person. Or go chimpanzee habituation experience also often referred to as CHEX – spend the whole day following the semi habituated chimpanzee community and permits for this particular experience cost USD250 per person.
Red tailed monkeys
Red tailed monkeys are some of the interesting and beautiful primates of Kibale. They are also popular as the spot-nosed monkeys and they take name considering the nature of their color. They have red colored tails and like other primates of Kibale, the red tailed monkeys depend on fruits.
L’Hoest monkeys are unique primates of their own. Most of their bodies have short dark grey fur but with strikingly beautiful white beard and saddle pattern on the back. They are short by height with body length of about 12.5 to 27 inches and the tail length of 19 to 39 inches. Their weight does vary depending on the sex- the females weigh 3.5kgs and males weigh 6kgs.
Black and white colobus monkeys
The black and white colobus monkeys can’t be missed to be spotted on Uganda safari in Kibale National Park or especially while you are on chimpanzee trekking. They exist in large numbers hence higher chances of sighting them even during a nature walk or as you drive through the park. They take their name from the nature of their body color- they grow fully black and white beard. Black and white colobus live in 3-15 members per group or troop and they depend on leaves, roots, fruits and more.
Kibale is a stronghold of olive baboons. These are often spotted on primate safari in Kibale playing on the road or while you explore the forest during a guided nature walk, chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation. Baboons weigh about 24kgs and males grow 70cm tall, females weigh 1.4ks and grow up to 60cm tall.
The blue monkeys are among the only 20 guenon monkey species and in Uganda, there are only 3 of these incredible species. They derive their name from the dark blue grey color coat on their bodies. Generally, they aren’t blue as such but rather their faces feature blue appearance. They live in groups of 4-12 members and they are among the easiest primates to see in Kibale National Park.
Vervet monkeys are interesting creatures on their own. They are among the social primates and dominance is by hierarchies. When the male becomes mature/reaches sexual maturity, he moves to the nearby group and fighting abilities, age, allies etc often determine their hierarchies.
Red colobus monkeys
The Uganda red colobus monkeys come with rust-red cap and dark grey, black face. When born, they are completely black. The red colobus monkeys have long feet, tails which plays an important part of balancing when climbing or leaping on the trees.
Grey cheeked mangabeys
Also referred to as the white cheeked mangabeys, the grey cheeked mangabeys are among the 13 primates of Kibale National Park. They have dark brown fur and they look like the small hairy baboon. These primates are being habituated and soon to be opened for tracking.
Pottos are small primates living in Kibale National Park. They grow 14 inches long and weigh between 1.8 and 3.5pounds. When born, a baby potto can be white and creamy then the hair turns grey, reddish or even brownish. The eyes of pottos look like those of the Domidoff Galago.
Other primates of Kibale National Park include bush babies, Uganda mangabeys and patas monkeys. With diversity of primates, a visit to Kibale National Park for primate trekking never leaves you disappointed.