Things to do in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

When is the Best time to go for gorilla trekking safari
April 1, 2018

Things to do in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Apart from gorillas, Uganda is highly endowed with various primates that also fetch a lot of revenue to the country and such primates include;

Chimpanzees

The average weight of an adult well grown male chimpanzee is between 35 and 70 kilograms, with a height of approximately 3 meters whereas an adult female chimpanzee weighs between 26 and 50 kilograms and a height between 2 and 4 feet. A chimpanzee’s life expectancy is at 40 years whereas that for those living in captivity can extend up to 60 years.

In Uganda today, Efforts to actually conserve the chimpanzees are extensively acknowledged and well supported.  Actually The Jane Goodall Foundation has played a major role in the overall conservation of not only these Chimpanzees but the Gorillas as well found in Uganda.

Chimpanzees are the closest relatives to humans sharing about 98% of their DNA composition with humans.  They are Sociable, intelligent as well as communicative and among their very fascinating traits is the ability to utilize tools like rocks for crushing nuts, empty pods for hollowing out water plus sticks for capturing termites from their holes. These skills are for long been passed on from generation to another and researchers say that different troops have specialist tasks, basing on their habitat as well as diet. Chimps stay in groups of 10 – 100 members. They can babysit each other’s young, kiss, groom one another and even hold hands. The young chimps become independent at the age of 4 year. Nonetheless, chimps can be aggressive and unsociable, mainly if disturbed and provoked.

Although they spend some time on ground, they normally feed and do make their sleeping nests up in the trees. Their diet varies comprising of leaves, seeds, fruit plus flowers.

Baboons

Known by different sub- species names, baboons are unmistakable given their heavy build and dog-like faces and can be differentiated from other monkeys found in Uganda, and races differ only in superficial appearance. There are four types of baboons found in the sub-Saharan African of which only the olive baboon is found in Uganda. The other types of baboons that are not found in Uganda include Yellow baboons.

Baboons live in complex troops numbering between eight and 200 individuals. There is no dominant male as males frequently move between troops. Baboons are omnivorous. They forage openly in savannah-woodland for tubers, grasses, fruits insects and occasionally for small vertebrates. They are highly adaptable and for this reason they are the most widespread primate in Africa.

Baboons are the size of a large monkey with a shoulder height of 75cm, length of up to 160cm and body mass of between 25 to 45 kg. They are active during the day. They occur in all National Parks except the three montane ones and are also found in forest reserves.

In Uganda, baboons can be seen at Queen Elizabeth, Semiliki and Kibale National Parks, at Karuma wildlife reserves, Mabira forest reserve and at a few other conservation areas.

Black and White Colobus monkey

Unlike chimpanzees, the truly magnificent and unmistakable black and white colobus monkey spends most of its life in high forest canopy and rarely, if ever, visits the ground. It’s conspicuous because of its black-furred body which is off-set by remarkable white highlights; a facial fringe, a flowing ‘cloak’ and a tuft to its long tail.

‘Colobus’ derives from the Greek word for crippled for the primate has a useless stump in place of a thumb. This though doesn’t prevent it from making agile leaps through the canopy of up to 30m including very daring drops of up to 15metres, all of which are spectacular sights. It’s easily located by its frog-like croaking. It is probably the most widespread and common forest monkey in Uganda, and occurs in most sizeable forest patches and even in woodland.

Red Colobus monkey

It has very few distinguishing features but it’s a relatively large monkey with a reddish-greyish coat and a slightly tufted crown. It’s sociable and community set up is of troops of 50 or more individuals.  These troops do not coexist but scatter.In Uganda,red colobus monkey can be seen at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale and Semiliki National Parks, and at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary where they are especially common.

Vervet Monkey

Also known as the green savannah or grivet monkey, it is the most common monkey of the savannah and woodland although it’s associated with a variety of habitats. At least four species are in Uganda: the black-faced vervet, Naivasha vervet, Mara tantalus and Stuhlmann’s green monkey. Vervets are recognized by their grizzled grey hair and somber black faces fringed with white. They live in troops numbering up to 30 individuals. Males and females are physically of the same characteristics except for their distinctive bright blue scrotums-an important signal of status in the troop.

They are diurnal and forage for fruits, seeds, leaves, flowers, invertebrates and the occasional lizard or nestling. They grow up to 130cm long including the 60cm tail and weigh between 3.5 to 8 kg. They are very common and widespread in Uganda, even outside of National Parks, but they are absent from forest and afro- alpine habitats. In Queen Elizabeth, Semiliki and Kibale National Parks, they are seen.

Patas Monkeys

It’s a terrestrial primate restricted to dry savannah of north-central Africa. The race found in Uganda is the Nile Patas since they are believed to have their origin in areas around the great river Nile. They can easily be confused with vervet monkeys except that it’s lankier, has a reddish- brown coat and a distinctive black stripe above the eyes whereas the Vervet is greyer and has a black face. In Uganda, it is restricted to the extreme north and can be seen at Murchison Falls and Kidepo valley National Park.

Blue Monkey

It’s also known by other names such as gentle monkey, samango monkey, diademed guenon and white- throated guenon. Similarly, the Vervet Monkey is slightly larger and much darker. Blue monkeys have blue – to –grey coats, black-grey faces with black shoulders, limbs and tail. They are common in most Ugandan forests. They are more arboreal than Vervet Monkeys and they feed largely on foliage, fruits, bark, gum and leaves. Social groups may be as large as 30 but generally number between four and twelve. They are gregarious and usually associate with other primates.They measure about 140 cm of which 80 cm is tail and weigh from 8 to 10kg. Blue Monkeys are active during the day but often difficult to see among the foliage.

However, except for Murchison Falls and Lake Mburo National Parks, Blue Monkey occurs in the rest of Uganda’s parks and in almost every other forest in the country. They are easy to see at Queen Elizabeth, Kibale and Semiliki National Parks.

L’Hoest’s Monkey

It is a handsome guenon with a black face and white whiskers that partially cover its ears and habitually carries its tail in an upright position, a peculiar habit exclusive to it among guenons. It is difficult to see because of its preference for dense secondary forest and its terrestrial habits but in Uganda, L’Hoest’s monkey is likely to be seen in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale, Bwindi or Maramagambo Forest.

De Brazza’s Monkey

It is thick in build, has a hairy face with a reddish-brown patch around its eyes, distinctive white band across its brow, white moustache and beard and a relatively short tail. It’s much localized in East Africa, and is most likely to be seen in the confines of Mount Elgon and Semiliki National Parks.

 Red-tailed Monkey

It has a brownish coat, white cheek whiskers, a coppery tail and a distinctive white, heart-shaped patch on its nose. It is widespread in forested habitats. Red-tailed monkeys live in flexible communities which swell into groups of up to 200 members, break up to smaller family units, sometimes to pairs and at others to just a single individual. They associate with other monkeys and regularly interbreed in the Kibale Forest besides which they also are found in Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth and Semiliki National Parks, as well as Budongo, Mpanga and several other forest reserves

Grey-cheeked Mangabey

It is a greyish-black monkey, with a shaggier coat than that of other guenons. Has light-grey cheeks and a subtle mane. They have a preference for lowland and mid altitude forests. In Uganda, Kibale Forest and Semiliki National Park is where they are likely to be seen because here they are common.

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