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Uganda - Primate Capital
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Dear Friends

I've recently returned from leading another amazing safari in Uganda.  
 
One of the chief draw cards here is of course the endangered mountain gorilla and we were enthralled by these gentle giants in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.  Uganda, though, is home to so many other primates and is often referred to as the primate capital of the world.

Below is a gallery of some of the eleven diurnal primates we were fortunate to observe in their natural habitat on our Uganda safari.

Our safari also visited the great lakes and savannahs of Uganda where we observed elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards and almost 300 birds.

Primates to look for on a Uganda safari
Black-and-white Colobus
Colobus guereza
Uganda Red Colobus
Piliocolobus tephrosceles
Abundant and widespread in the forests of Uganda, these striking monkeys are commonly seen and heard. Colobus monkeys are unique among primates in that they do not have thumbs.  They are strictly leaf-eaters with specialised stomachs to aid digestion.
This endangered monkey occurs in only a few pockets of moist forest in Uganda and Tanzania.  They are not only vulnerble to habitat loss and degradation but are also preyed on by chimpanzees, particularly in the Kibale Forest NP.
Patas Monkey
Erythrocebus patas
Grey-cheeked Mangabey
Lophocebus albigena 
These terrestrial monkeys occur across the dry savannah of northern Uganda.  Large troops are regularly encountered on the grassy plains of Murchison Falls NP, sometimes standing upright to better scan for predators in the tall grass.
Although easily overlooked in their rainforest habitat, mangabeys are often seen raiding crops on the forest periphery at Bigodi Swamp, Kibale and Bwindi NP.  Large cheek pouches help to stash their loot for later digestion in dense cover.
L'Hoest's Monkey
Allochrocebus lhoesti
Red-Tailed Monkey
Cercopithecus ascanius
Listed as vulnerable due to declining populations in much of their range, this largely terrestrial monkey occurs in a diversity of forest and adjacent crop land.  Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a great place to view family groups of 10-15 out foraging.
These omnivorous monkeys are fairly widespread in rainforests in Uganda and are easily recognisable from their white noses and red tails. They regularly associate with the colobid and mangabey monkeys.
Vervet Monkey
Cercopithecus aethiops
Olive Baboon
Papio anubis
Highly successful with a broad diet and at ease both on the ground and in trees, this is the most widespread monkey of Africa. They occur in all but desert, very open grassland and high forest. Several subspecies occur but it is an easily recognisable species.  Being vulnerable to a great number of predators they are highly alert to any potential danger.
The third largest primate in Uganda, after the mountain gorilla and the chimpanzee, olive baboons are unmistakable and conspicuous in a wide range of savannah and forest habitats.  Living in large troops, sometimes over 100, baboons have a broad diet of seeds, fruit, resin, insects, eggs and nestlings and occasionally young antelope.
Eastern Chimpanzee
Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii
Cousins - the most human-like of all the great apes, chimpanzees share almost 99% of our DNA.  Highly social, they live in large, complex communities. Essentially frugivores, with half their diet being fruit, they also eat leaves, insects, honey and eggs, and are very accomplished hunters, feeding on monkeys and young antelope.  Every evening each adult makes itself a bed for the night, mostly very high up in the trees.  Infants and juveniles will share with their mothers until they learn these skills for themselves.  Kibale Forest is a stronghold with around 1500 chimps and is one of the best places to view them.
Mountain Gorilla
Gorilla beringei beringei
A true ecotourism success story, the mountain gorilla is today well protected in most of it's range and enjoying an increasing population.  The mountain gorilla population now stands at around 900 individuals with over half of these in Uganda, 400 in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and 80 in Mgahinga. The most majestic of the great apes these gentle herbivores form close-knit family groups and, like us, have an extended socialisation period.  Along with humans, the only primate to make a bed and sleep on the ground.  It's a true privilege and humbling experience to be able to observe these amazing creatures in the wild.
Want to see some of these incredible primates in their natural habitat?

Why not join one of our Uganda safaris in 2018.  I'll be leading two safaris next year combining the forests of Uganda with the vast open plains of Kenya - see below.  Send us an email or visit our website for more details.
Cheers
Martin
Uganda and Kenya Safari 30 June - 13 July 2018

A 14-day safari exploring the forests and lakes of Uganda and the plains of the Maasai Mara in Kenya.   Highlights include safari drives, nature walks, boat trips and trekking chimpanzees and mountain gorillas. A no-frills safari using rustic accommodation, priced from only US$5,850. See 'Upcoming Safaris' on our website or contact us now for details.  
Kenya and Uganda Safari 14 July - 30 July 2018

A 17-day safari exploring the best of East Africa.  Starting in Kenya we visit private conservancies in Amboseli and the Maasai Mara where we enjoy nature walks and open vehicle safari drives.  We then visit forests, wetlands and lakes of Uganda where we search for mammals and birds, spend a whole day with chimpanzees and trek mountain gorillas.  Priced at US$8,250. See 'Upcoming Safaris' on our website or contact us now for details.  
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