Monkeys are widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa. Almost every Sub-Saharan African country has monkeys in its natural forest. However, there are certain places where you can be able to easily see these monkeys than others.
The 8 Best Places to See Monkeys in Africa
8. Diani Forest, Kenya
Located along one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world, Diani Forest is home to Vervet, Black and White Columbus, and Sykes monkeys. Not far off Mombasa, a tourist port city that is second largest in Kenya, you can actually combine your beach safari with monkey business while lazily strolling along the beach against the cool sunny breeze. The Black and White Columbus<1>, one of the endangered species in Africa, gladly show off its fine fur as it graciously maneuvers the mangrove trees along the coastal stretch – a common encounter while visiting this magnificent tourist destination.
7. Kibale National Park, Uganda
Kibale National Park<2>, Uganda, rests within the expansive Central African monkey belt that stretches from western Uganda via northern Rwanda into the north-eastern DRC. Within this belt rests the world’s largest population of mountain gorillas. Kibale National Park is unique in the sense that is one of the few remaining tropical forests in East Africa. This also endows it with unique species of animals. Among these species includes a variety of monkeys, such as the Red Columbus, black and white Columbus, chimpanzees, and golden monkey, among others. The most tourist attraction to this National Park is the mountain gorilla monkey. While in Uganda, there are other monkey species which you can find in other national parks. These include a red-tailed monkey and blue monkey in Queen Elizabeth National Park<3>; golden monkeys in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park<4>; grey-cheeked mangabey in Semliki Wildlife Reserve; Patas monkey in Murchison Falls National Park<5>, among many others.
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6. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Located in Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park<6> is home to the largest number of the endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga Conservation Area. It is a prime spot in the gorilla tourist circuit in the East and Central Africa. Other notable monkeys within this Park include the golden monkeys. Virunga Conservation Area is an expansive area covering three East and Central African countries – Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC. Among other notable Parks within this area are the world famous Virunga National Park in the DRC and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda.
5. Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania
Located in north-western Tanzania, Mahale Mountains National Park rests within the Virunga Conservation Area. Together with its sister Park – the Gombe National Park, they are home to Africa’s last remain species of wild chimpanzees. Apart from wild chimpanzees, Mahale Mountains National Park<7> is also home to red colobus, Angola colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys. There is an elaborate monkey trekking safari, where, with guided experts, you can walk on foot as you track a variety of monkeys within the dense, wild bushes of Africa. You can also take a boat ride or a jeep ride depending on the specific site that you would want to visit.
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4. Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
Home to the rare Gelada baboon<8>, Simien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site<9> located in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia. This park has mountains characterized by spectacular jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp-dropping precipices at 1500m – thanks to the millions of years of active erosion. Other notable attractions in Simien Mountains National Park<10> are the Walia Ibex, Simien fox, bearded vulture, among other 54 species.
Gelada Monkey at Simien National Park
3. Kruger National Park, South Africa
While Kruger National Park<11> is famous for its Big 5 wild games, and of course the ostriches, it is rarely mentioned when it comes to monkeys. Located in the heartland of South Africa, this Park boasts of a few rare species of monkeys. These include Pigmy Marmoset<12>, Mandril, Vervet, Samango, Chacma Baboon, among others. Apart from monkeys, as a bonus, you get to enjoy the site of ostriches, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, buffaloes, antelopes, among so many other wild species. The Park boasts of elaborate tourist infrastructure which includes ostrich rides, jeep rides, horseback rides, and even tour-guided walk trekking. After a long tiresome day of touring, the five-star lodges and camps beckon you for a heavenly break and rest – an experience unmatched elsewhere on earth.
Pigmy Marmoset strolling together with vervet monkey in Kruger National Park
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2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Located in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park<13> is part of the Virunga Ecosystem. Virunga ecosystem is world famous for its unique species of mountain gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site<14>. As such, it is a protected wildlife zone. This is extremely important since mountain gorillas are an endangered species. Despite them having 97% DNA resemblance to humans, they are hunted by humans for their flesh. Also, rapid deforestation in this region threatens to wipe off their natural habitat – the only home they know. Apart from the mountain gorilla, other monkeys that call this Park their home include the common chimpanzee, L'Hoest's monkey, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, vervets, among others. A visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a thumbs-up salute to the tireless effort done by both local and international community to save this rare and endangered species – the mountain gorilla.
1. Virunga National Park, DRC
Located in the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site<15> that is famous for its huge population of mountain gorillas. Virunga National Park<16> has been grossly affected by the guerilla warfare which has endangered both tourism and conservation effort to protect the mountain gorilla. This civil war has also caused a heavy toll on the mountain gorilla population since the mountain gorillas are an important delicacy in this part of the world. The guerilla militia hunts them for an easy source of the bush meal. So dangerous has it been such that the Park has been closed severally in recent past. Among those killed in this warfare includes locals, tourists, game rangers, government soldiers, UN Peacekeeping soldiers, among others. It has been one of the most dangerous places to visit in the world. I Hope this Third-World war, fueled by the international conspiracy to loot DRC’s rich fortunes, will end soon so that mountain gorillas can have peace and DRC save its rich mineral fortunes from further looting.
Monkeys are the closest species to humans. Scientists have confirmed that chimpanzees, the closest of them all to humans, share 98% of its DNA characteristics with humans – so close! Yet, in some places, monkeys are being treated to cruel cold-heart barbarism by humans. Their habitats are being destroyed while some of them are being hunted for meat. This sorry state of affairs can be reversed if we dedicate ourselves to paying frequent homage to human’s closest species. They need our care. They need our love. They need our warm-hearted embrace. A visit to at least one of the 8 best places to see monkeys in Africa, as listed herein, will be a testimony of your compassion to their welfare.