Primate Watching in Rwanda- Gorillas, Chimpanzees Baboons, Monkeys

primate-watching-rwandaGorilla-trekking-Rwanda, Chimpanzees-Rwanda, Nyungwe-Forest Rwanda, Rwanda-Primate-Watch. Rwanda is among the best destinations on the African continent to watch the different primates living in this part of the world. Rwanda has about thirteen (13) different primate species living within its forests

The Mountain Gorillas – Gorilla Trekking Rwanda

Millions and millions of tourists visit Rwanda each year primarily to trek Gorillas. Mountain Gorillas are the most endangered ape species in the entire world. It is estimated that there are only 800 of these remaining in the entire world. Gorillas cannot survive in captivity like zoos but only live in their natural habitat and across the continent these can only be seen in three countries and that is the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

In Rwanda gorilla trekking can best be done within Volcanoes National Park on the mountain slopes of Virunga Volcanoes found in Rwanda and it starts very early in the morning. Gorillas live in small groups (families) of up to 40-50 members. As you search the verdant forests in Volcanoes National Park for these gorillas, you will encounter different types of wildlife including several birds, different monkeys like the golden monkeys plus a variety of tree species. The activity is done in small groups of 8 people each.

Once you find them you will spend an hour with them and take photographs and observes the giant hairy apes. It’s one of the best wildlife encounters you will encounter on earth. You will be required to present a trekking permit to be allowed to take part in this activity. It costs $750 per person per day.

 Chimpanzees –Man’s closest Living Relative

Scientists have proved that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives to man sharing over 98% of their DNA with people. In Rwanda, chimps can best be seen the forests of Nyungwe National Park. Chimpanzee trekking begins very early just as the gorilla trekking activity and it is a very exciting activity. All chimp treks are led and guided by experienced and knowledgeable park rangers the park.  You will also be allowed to spend some time with the chimpanzees once you locate where they are.

The activity is done in groups of six (6) people and it will require you to have a chimp trekking permits which costs $90 per person each day.

Olive Baboon

These can be seen in Nyungwe Forest as well as Akagera National Parks. They have olive coats, and their nose is so much similar to that of a dog. They are very playful and don’t fear people. We always advise our clients to live their vehicles properly locked up and their backpacks nicely zipped up because baboons on several occasion have been seen stealing items especially food stuff from tourists.

Golden Monkeys in Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park

Golden Monkeys scientifically known as (Cercopithecus kandti) are listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List, can best be seen within Volcanoes National Park within the Bamboo Forests as well as in the northeastern part of the country in Gishwati Forest.

They are a very beautiful monkey species with the coats of their skin having a characteristic golden color. They are very beautiful and very interesting to see due to their playful nature.The Volcanoes National Park has two groups of golden monkeys open for tourism activities and these include: the Kabatwa Group which lives on Mt. Sabyinyo within the Bamboo forest, and comprises of 70 members, then the Musongga group living on Mt. Karisimbi and comprising of 100 members.

Other interesting Primate Species worth checking out on your Primate – Watch – Safari in Rwanda include:

The L’Hoest’s Monkeys

Commonly seen in Nyungwe Forest national Park and some few sighted within Gishwati Forest in northeastern Rwanda. This species is widely spread in the Albertine Rift. they have a characteristic white beard that stands out from their black coats.


This is a nocturnal species and not commonly seen by tourists unlike other primates in Rwanda. These can be seen in Nyungwe Forest as well as Akagera National Parks. Their bodies are covered with a grey-brown coat, and have uniquely pointed fingers and toes which give them a tight grip.

 Owl-Faced Monkeys

This monkey species is mainly seen in Nyungwe Forest National Park and it closely related to their counterparts the L’Hoest’s Monkey. These have a pointed nose that looks like a beak and their oval faces resemble that of an owl with a characteristic white band of hair that runs down the length of their nose.  They are generally shy and quite an elusive species to see.

Angolan Colobus Monkeys

The coats of these monkeys are black dotted with sheds of white, and the live in big numbers. In Rwanda they can best be seen within Nyungwe Forest National Park


These are another nocturnal species which you can see in Rwanda. They were named so due to their characteristic cry similar to that of a baby.

Dent’s Mona Monkey

This monkey species is mainly seen in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Although they live in small numbers with one male dominating the group, they are a very social species that enjoy interacting with other types of monkeys such as the Colobus Monkeys and the Gray Cheeked Mangabeys. They have a characteristic brown back and a long tail covered with black colored fur.

Blue Monkey

This monkey species is mainly seen in Nyungwe Forest National Park. They mainly inhabit the top most parts of the trees and live in groups of up to 30 or 40 members with just a single male.

Vervet Monkey

These can be seen in Nyungwe Forest as well as Akagera National Parks. these prevalent monkeys have a grey coat covering their bodies apart from the faces which are totally black. They usually visit people’s gardens as they search for food.

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