Gorilla safari wildlife

Wildlife


THERE ARE GREAT APES BUT OTHER GREATS TOO

Gorillas

You can’t have a gorilla safari without one although there are actually four species. The main one to be seen on wildlife watching expeditions is the mountain gorilla, found in two locations: the Virunga Mountains, a range of extinct volcanoes that border the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The eastern lowland gorilla is the largest of all, but with desperately dwindling populations. They reside in the tropical rainforests of the Congo Basin, but years of civil unrest have reduced their habitats drastically. Calmer times bode well for tourism but it is still early days. The denser and more remote the better, in terms of rainforest habitat for the western lowland gorilla, with widespread populations across the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon, although numbers have also been in serious decline. The cross river gorilla is indigenous to Cameroon and Nigeria, where deforestation has been a major threat to their populations.

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzee tracking is not only fascinating but a lot of fun. Kyambura Gorge in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is a leading habitat and you will feel like a child on an adventure again chasing these chaps. So very different from the more submissive mode that you need to assume when you see the gorillas.

Golden Monkeys

Named because of the golden patch on its back, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda are great spots for these golden moments. This is because of the prolific highland bamboo forest in these regions, which is the staple diet of the Golden Monkeys. They are particularly prolific in the rainy season, as they enjoy eating the young fresh bamboo that erupts during this time. They sleep surrounded by their food, at the top of bamboo plants, which they weave together to create a bed. It is important to support the conservation of these animals as they are on the IUCN Red List for endangered animals, caused by illegal deforestation of the bamboo forest, much of which is linked to the recent war in Congo, home to part of the Virunga volcanic range.

Tree climbing lions

The Ishasha plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda are very well known for their tree climbing lions, which are particularly fond of Ishasha’s fig trees. There are only two populations of lions that do this as part of their daily activity. These ones and one found in Lake Manyara National Park in southern Tanzania.
Photo credits: [Gorillas: Derek Keats] [Chimpanzees: Afrika Force] [Golden Monkeys: Marie de Carne] [Tree climbing lions: Noel Reynolds]
Written by Catherine Mack
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