Best places to see Africa’s primates
African wildlife includes a number of primates seen across many countries, such as baboons and monkeys, as well as others which are found in just a few places, or in the case of lemurs, just one. It’s these primates with more localised ranges, which feature on people’s ‘must see’ lists, that I’ll look at in this article – gorillas, chimps and lemurs.
Gorillas come in two varieties – mountain and lowland. The former are found in Uganda and Rwanda and we’ve previously compared the tracking experience in both countries in our blog “How Rwanda and Uganda Differ” and suggested staying in Clouds Lodge, Uganda or Bisate Lodge in Rwanda. The latter live in the jungles of the Republic of Congo one of the wildest places on earth. We featured renowned travel journalist Lisa Grainger’s thoughts on her trip there in a previous article “Gorillas In The Jungle” and we recommend Ngaga Camp.
Chimpanzees live in rainforest and wet savannah across several countries in central and East Africa. It’s possible to combine gorilla tracking with chimp spotting in both Uganda and Rwanda, albeit in different national parks.
However, I’d argue the finest chimp viewing is from Greystoke Camp in the Mahale Mountains alongside Lake Tanganyika where the families have been habituated for the longest time and spend large periods of their day on the forest floor. The walk to see them is often steep and tough, but the viewing itself is generally magnificent. For more detail on each of the locations, please see the specialist chimp tracking article we wrote to coincide with the David Attenborough programme on chimpanzees as part of his Dynasties series “Chimpanzee Tracking In East Africa.”
Most people will know that lemurs are found in Madagascar since ring tailed lemurs featured front and centre of the film of the same name. They may not realise they are only found here and that the island’s diverse habitats support over 100 species and sub-species of lemur.
Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island with very different rainfall patterns and vegetation on the east and west of the island and also the north and south. The distances mean that better trips involve flying, to avoid long days between areas in a vehicle, and to access camps like Anjajavy and Mandrare River Camp. This ensures a wide variety of lemur species, as well as many of Madagascar’s other endemic wildlife, can be spotted by combining areas with different habitats. For information on the different lemur species, national parks and where you might stay, take a look at our article on lemurs “Lemurs of Madagascar.”
We would be delighted to help with planning your a safari holiday to include the best places to see Africa’s primates. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.