The endangered mountain gorillas are Uganda’s star attractions; the bulkiest of living primates, and among the most peaceable. Staring into the pensive brown eyes of these gentle giants who share 95 % of their genes with humans, is as humbling as it is thrilling; no less so when one realizes that fewer than 800 individuals survive. These are divided between Bwindi. Volcanoes and the virunga National park.
These have greatly attracted many tourists to come for gorilla trekking safaris to Uganda. Within Uganda, five habituated gorilla troops, four in Bwindi and one in the Mgahinga National park. These can be visited by a total of 30 tourists daily. Uganda is home to man’s closest relative, the chimpanzees; a delightful ape whose evocative pant- hoot call is a definitive sound of the African rain forest. The chimpanzee communities have been habituated for tourism at Kibale Forest, Budongo Forest and the Queen Elizabeth National park’s Kyambura Gorge. A community of orphaned chimps; most of which were confiscated from the poachers, can be visited on Ngamba Island. This lies on Lake Victoria, 45 minutes by motorboat from Entebbe.
The monkeys are exceptionally well represented in Uganda. Indeed, Kibale forest boasts the greatest primate variety and density in East Africa; with five or six species likely to be observed over the course of one afternoon walk. Elsewhere, Mgahinga National park hosts habituated troops of the rare golden monkey; while Murchison falls is one of the few East Africa strong holds for the spindly, plains-dwelling patas monkey. Also the fossilized 20 million year old bones of the morotopithecus; which is the earliest known ancestor of modern apes and the humans, were unearthed in the past years. The primates have greatly helped in increasing the number of safaris to the country.