Example trip: Discover the Primates
Primates in Uganda
Primates have more than 90% of their genetic material in common with humans. Among them are the chimpanzees and gorillas in Uganda (but also, for example, the bonobos in Congo and the orang otang in South-East Asia).
This example trip was designed to see the primates and monkeys of Uganda. Uganda is famous for its apes and monkeys: the small and lively Golden Monkeys, the shy Blue Monkeys and Vervet Monkeys, the impudent Baboons and of course the famous Chimpanzees and the rare and impressive Mountain Gorillas. The latter ones are severely threatened with distinction. There are approximately 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the world, and more and half of them live in Uganda. Usually we go to areas where these animals live. There we are welcomed in a visitors' centre by a sepcialised ranger/guide, who takes you on foot to the rain forest, to the dwellings of these apes or monkeys. However, in some places it is possible to invite a primatologist (researcher of apes). Of course, this will cost more, but it adds to the experience: you learn a lot more and you learn to observe these intriguing animals better. As you can also read elsewhere on this website, a part of the extra costs is used to support the local human community.
Golden monkey Mountain Gorilla
Double track policy
People who have the preservation and survival of these animals at heart, have also learned that the their protection is impossible without involving and supprotin the local human communities. This can be done in different ways. At some places, it is possible to bring the tourists in contact with the local population who can present their culture and way of living, for example by organising tours through their village, dancing and singin performances, cooking and eating together etc.
Sometimes such a village has facilities for lodging and there are possibilities to participate in their activities. In other places coffee plantations were set up, where local people are trained in improvement of crop breeding. In some cases the project is specially aimed at the empowerment of women, as is the case in Kyambura. Some of the possibilities: chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest, a two-day sportive hike to the volcanoes (see picture below), crater lakes, and the giant lobelias. Sometimes it is possible to stay overnight in a hut.
Example trip 'Discovering the Primates'
- Early start with the Golden Monkeys
- On the way to the Volcano (Sabinyo or Mgahinga)
- Gorilla tracking Muhavura
- Climbing the Muhavura Volcano (either in one day or with an overnight)
- Optional if the weather is good: Batwa trail/of een bezoek aan de pygmeeën
- Climbing down Muhavura
Note: This example tour can be well combined with the National Parks of Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth and Kibale Forest,to which a chimpanzee tracking or an extra gorilla tracking can be added. Other monkeys that can be spotted here are: baboons, blue monkeys, black-and-white colobus, Vervet monkeys, the red-tail monkey. For hikers, this is a challenging combination with a multi-day tour in the Rwenzori Mountains. Two parks where you can rest and relax are Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mburo.