Primate species in Kibale forest national park : Primate trekking is one of the top tourist activities in Uganda, with Kibale forest national park being the best destination for primate tours.  Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. This park is located in the Kabalore district, the western part of Uganda. It has a high concentration of ape population.

Kibale national park

Primates of Kibale National Park

Kibale is the habitat for many wildlife however, it is famous tourist destinations in Uganda for primates thus the primate capital of Africa. The richest ecosystem in Africa or the primatologist’s dream; but one thing that rings on about Kibale National Park is its diversity and abundance of primate species. There are about 13 species of primates recorded. These include; Chimpanzee, L’Hoest Monkeys, Red-Tailed Monkeys, Black and white Colobus Monkeys, Uganda Red Colobus, Grey – Cheeked Mangabeys Monkeys, Uganda Mangabeys, Vervet Monkey, Olive Baboons, Blue Monkeys, Demidoff Galago, Patas Monkey, Potto just to mention a few


Kibale national park is the best destination for chimpanzee trekking and habituation in Africa. A chimpanzee is the most intelligent animal with 98 percentage with human DNA. It can cry, laugh, and show various emotions as a human do. They have the ability to adopt the use of tools. If you are visiting during rain, you can watch Chimps using leaves as an umbrella. Their natural habitat includes chimpanzee habituation and chimpanzee in the rainforest and woodlands of Savannah. There are over 1,000 individual chimpanzees in the forest. Only 80 among them are human-habituated and welcome the trekkers.

How to identify

  • This species does not have a tail.
  • They can walk with their two legs.
  • Their bodies are fully covered with furs except for their face, fingers, toes, palms, and soles.
  • Males weigh up to 40-70kg and females weigh up to 27-50kg. They can stand a height of 3.3-4.9 feet.

L’Hoest Monkeys

These are also known as Mountain Monkeys. You can find L’Hoest Monkeys abundantly in the Kibale forest. Having a large cheek pouch helps them to store food. These monkeys live in small groups of females with one male. When a male grows up, he has to leave the group but the female stays in the group.

How to identify

  • They have a dark coat with a chestnut color across the back.
  • They can also be identified by their white beard.
  • Their tails are long and hook-shaped.
  • They are born fully covered with fur and with eyes open.

Red-Tailed Monkeys

This ape family is known as the spot-nosed monkey, red-tailed guenon, or black-cheeked-white-nosed monkey. They have a big cheek pouch to protect their food from other primates. The pouch can hold as much food as the stomach does.

How to identify

  • As its name suggests, it has a red tail.
  • They also have white cheeks, and a nose with black or dark grey body furs.

Black And White Colobus Monkeys

You can find these monkeys almost everywhere in the forest. They do not have thumbs, which is another unique feature of this family.

How to identify

  • Colobus Monkeys are born with white fur and a pin face.
  • As they grow, their body is covered with a black coat, and their beard, back, and shoulders remain white. This justifies their name as Black and white Colobus Monkey.

Uganda Red Colobus

You will find these apes leaping from tree to tree with their tails helping them balance. These apes live in very large groups with 20 to 80 members. The group is led by a male. The head of the troop is chosen by the process of succession.

Uganda Red Colobus

How to identify

  • They can be distinguished by their rust-red cap with a grey to black colored face.

Grey – Cheeked Mangabeys Monkeys

They can be named Grey-cheeked or White-cheeked Mangabey as per color. You can trek this primate family in Kibale and Semiliki National Park. They are currently undergoing through habituation process to optimize visitors’ experience.

How to identify

  • They look similar to hairy baboons with a mane around their neck
  • Have grey or white cheek color

Primate species in Kibale forest national park : Uganda Mangabeys

Before 2007, this family was a part of the Grey-cheeked Mangabeys. Later, they are recognized as their special family.

How to identify

  • They look almost similar to the Grey-cheeked Mangabeys.
  • Comparatively smaller than Mangabeys.

Vervet Monkey

Vervet monkey (Chlorocebus) are seen in the trees. They seldom move on the ground. This is why Kibale National Park is very much suitable for their habitat. Their favorite activity is grooming. You will find them removing parasites from each other’s bodies. The male dominant receives this treatment the most.

How to identify

  • They are identified by their Greenish-olive or Silver-grey colors.
  • Always found on the trees.

Olive Baboons

You are definitely going to catch a glimpse of these Baboons while your driveway into the forest. They are omnivores and very fond of human leftovers. Be careful with your food!

How to identify

  • Baboons look scary because of their dog-like heads and long fangs.
  • They are covered with Green-grey fur coats.
  • Males are 28 inches tall with about 50kg mass. Whereas females are 24 inches tall with about 24kg weight.

Primate species in Kibale forest national park : Blue Monkeys

They make small groups of 4 to 12 monkeys. You can easily find them on your trekking.

How to identify

  • The dark-blue-grey color justifies its name as Blue Monkey.
  • You can also find a white throat and a white fur patch on its chest.

Demidoff Galago

These Bush Babies are the tiniest primates of Africa. With their large eyes and sharp ears, they can see and hear things at night. Thus, they are nocturnal animals. They maintain balance with their long tail. If you plan to see these cute tiny creatures, you can go for night trekking.

How to find

  • They are mostly found in bushes.
  • They have big eyes.
  • They have long tails

Primate species in Kibale forest national park : Patas Monkey

Patas monkeys are also called as Military Monkey. It is the fastest monkey with a speed of 35 meters per hour. Unlike other troops, these monkey troops are led by females. Males are only for breeding. In case of danger, males will alarm others.

How to identify

  • Red fur
  • Have soldier-like mustache

Primate species in Kibale forest national park : Potto

This nocturnal primate also has large eyes like Bush babies. Potto is a very cautious animal and spends most of the time on trees. It can hold a branch with enough grip for a long time.

How to identify

  • It is a small monkey 14 inches long and weighs only 1.8 to 3.5 pounds (0.816k to 1.587kg).
  • They are born with a white and creamy color.
  • Adults are reddish, grey, or brown.

Other things to do in Kibale national park

Chimpanzee Habituation Permit

If you are not satisfied with spending a short time with chimpanzees from afar, the Chimpanzee Habituation is for you. You can monitor and learn about their habitats for 4hrs. You are also allowed to record the amazing moments with them with your camera.

Bird watching

Over 372 birds live in the Kibale forest. You can opt for this park on your Uganda safari for birding experienceAn experienced bird guide will help you to spot different birds. This will give you a great feeling of being surrounded by these colorful musical creatures.

Nature walk

With the company of an experienced guide and armed park ranger, you can explore the forest on foot. The park offers both diurnal and nocturnal nature walks. You can explore different wildlife, listen to the sweet chirpings, and see the colorful butterflies during the day. It starts from Kanyanchu Visitors Centre and takes up to 2 to 6 hours. There are plenty of creatures to see at night too. You will regret it if you miss the night bush, Potto, several cats, civets, etc. You can hear cricket cry during your night walk

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