Primate Trekking

    Primate trekking

    Primate trekking in Africa is not for the fainthearted, but the soul-quenching reward is worth more than any of the sweat and tears visitors may shed in their search for these captivating creatures.

    Primate Trekking

    What to expect

    Great apes such as gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, and also lemurs call the African continent home—from mist-shrouded mountains to dense rainforests across various countries. Through a careful and scientific approach, these wild primates have been habituated to human presence in their natural habitat. Their havens are situated in tropical rainforests, savannah grasslands, on rocky mountain tops and close to Mother Earth.

    When planning a primate trekking experience in Africa, visitors should make notes of a few important tips to ensure memorable encounters in the wild.

    A few important tips

    — It is advised to budget well in advance if primate trekking is on the bucket list. These experiences come with a hefty price tag. This includes travelling to the preferred destination, accommodation, permits that are mandatory for all treks, payments to porters, and guides. 

    — Trekkers should be both physically and mentally fit for this experience. Trekking through the jungle can take hours—traversing up and down mountain slopes. 

    — It is best to wear appropriate clothing such as proper hiking shoes, waterproof trousers, a raincoat, and a hat. 

    — Remember to bring a proper camera to capture the moments, but trekkers should be aware that flash photography is not allowed. 

    Some of Africa's primates

    The chimpanzee has an arsenal of communication tools, from sound to facial expressions and posture, that it uses in an array of situations.

    Around 100 species of lemurs occur nowhere else in Africa other than in Madagascar. The most fascinating fact is that of these species, most were only discovered in the last 30 years.

    Sharing 99% of the DNA of homo sapiens, gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans. They are the largest primates, and two species (with four subspecies) call the tropical forests and mountains of Central and West Africa home

    Best Destinations for Primate trekking

    Africa is abundantly rich in rewarding safari destinations for those whose quest it is to spend precious time in the company of these unique species. These countries provide a window into the homes of the continent’s primates that are fiercely protected by dedicated rangers who often sacrifice their lives performing their duties.

    Volcanoes National Park lies in northwestern Rwanda and made up of rainforest and five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains.

    The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in southwestern Uganda and attracts tourists for the famous gorilla trekking.

    Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania—is home to Lake Tanganyika where Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees have been habituated.

    Lope National Park lies in Central Gabon. No other region in Central Africa is considered more vital for primates than this National Park. 

    Virunga National Park is located in the eastern part of the DRC and home to the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas.