Primates are types of mammals with a larger brain and great sense of stereoscopic resilience. These animals have protruding digits at the endings of their limbs. These kinds of animals take longer to development into adults than the other animals but these have a longer life span. Other than the humans that live on every continent in the world, most primates live in the tropical forests and this why the primates in the wild are found in Africa, Asia and America continents. Some of the known primates include mankind, monkeys, gorillas, lemurs, gibbons, chimpanzees, orangutans, baboons and bush babies. African has the largest concentration of primates in the world and the most common primates in Africa are monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, bush babies and gorillas.  However not all countries in Africa have the amazing primates, there are few lucky countries with these intelligent animals and Rwanda is one of the few ones due to its possession of the tropical, montane and bamboo forests where the primates best feel at home. Among the many primates Rwanda has three species namely the gorillas, chimpanzees and the monkeys and in essence the mentioned species of primates are the most interesting ones to watch in their wild.

Rwanda is blessed with a number of wildlife species that inhabit the jungles of the major Virunga volcanoes in the northwestern part of the country as well as in the forested areas of Nyungwe and Gishwati Mukura. Some of the unique wildlife species Rwanda has to offer are primates including rare animal species that a tourist on a Rwanda safari should not miss tracking while on a tour or safari in this beautiful country.

The major primates in Rwanda include the following;

The Chimpanzees

A large population of these can be found in Nyungwe forest located in southwestern Rwanda. Over 98% DNA of these wild animals is similar to humans, which explains why most of their characteristics are almost the same as for humans. They mainly feed on fruits, leaves, shoots and other edibles that the forests provide. Chimpanzees live in groups but are very mobile as they usually move from one place to another in search for food.

To enjoy more of the chimpanzees in Rwanda, just prepare and head for chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest national park. Nyungwe forest national park is the only place in Rwanda where tourists can enjoy chimpanzee tracking. There are trails in the forest that tourists under the guidance of guides follow to discover more about their closest relative. The good news is that chimps in Nyungwe forest can be tracked at anytime of the year.


These are very common and easily sighted. Important to note is that there are different categories of monkeys in Rwanda and the major examples include l’hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, owl faced monkeys and blue tailed monkeys. Most of these can be got in Nyungwe forest national park except for the golden. The golden monkeys inhabit the jungles of volcanoes national park and can be viewed by tourists on mountain gorilla treks. Just like chimpanzees, monkeys can also be tracked at any time of the year and tracking them gives tourists an opportunity to experience the real African jungle.

Monkeys can also be tracked in the newly established national park – Gishwati Mukura also located in the western part of Rwanda.


These are other unique primates one can encounter while in the land of a thousand hills. To differ from monkeys, baboons predominantly live on land/ground and have a muzzle similar to that of a dog which is not the case with monkeys. Baboons in Rwanda can be viewed in the major savanna areas especially in Akagera national park that is located in northeastern Rwanda and the only savanna park in the country.

Tourists on game drives can see them as they move from one place to another. Just like monkeys, baboons also live in groups and very dangerous incase any predator tries to attack their young ones since they can fight to death. Baboons are very unique and anyone interested in primate tracking in Rwanda should not leave the country before seeing them.

Mountain Gorillas

They are among the rare primate species on earth and are presently remaining in only three countries in the world Rwanda inclusive. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda can be got volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of Rwanda. They live in the forested mountains of Karisimbi, Mikeno and Bisoke and Rwanda in general has 10 habituated mountain gorilla families however 7 of them are the ones that are usually trekked by tourists.

Trekking the mountain gorillas starts very early in the morning and only 8 tourists are allowed to trek one mountain gorilla family a day. Mountain gorilla encounters are very unique and unforgettable which explains why a number of tourists from different parts of the country go to Rwanda to be part of the wonderful experience.