Best places to watch Apes in Africa

Africa is well known for its forests, savannahs and plains game together with all its attendant predators. Most people tend to experience this fascinating ecological interaction with a two or three centre safari based in East Africa or South Africa. However, the magnificent primates of East Africa often get relegated to second place but are equally if not more impressive than their mammalian clawed & hoofed cousins. Mountain Gorillas, of which there are only just over a thousand individuals remaining, are truly iconic in every facet and provide an awe inspiring experience.

Follow the trackers, as they lead you through the dense magical forest, pointing out signs of our distant relatives, leading you closer with every step. The moment you are among them is one never to be forgotten, listen to the sounds as these remarkable creatures communicate with one another and forage for food, watch the young playfully leap through the foliage chasing each other, similar to our own children as they engage in a game of tag. Watch them with the same interest and inquisitive stares, it’s as if we were watching ourselves. It is a very different experience from one we would get watching the normal wildlife on a standard safari and offers a connection with nature that is far deeper.

The best places to interact with Gorilla’s are in Rwanda’s Parc National de Volcans, Uganda’s Bwindi Forest and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Parc or the lowland Gorillas at Kahuzi Biega. There are various places to stay, all beautifully designed and make the perfect base to begin your adventure. Selecting the best operators is key, with professionally trained trackers who know their way around the mountains and more importantly know the gorilla families, their traits and personalities.

Chimpanzees our nearest cousins are equally fascinating, endearing and endangered. Trekking them in the high montane forests of Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania is rewarding, inspiring and memorable. Key places are Uganda’s Kibale Forest and Semliki Forest. Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream and Rwandas Nyungwe Forest. Many other rare and endangered primates can be seen in these wilderness locations, including the Golden Monkey, Red Colobus, Grey Mangabey, and L’Hoest Monkey. Learn more about the fascinating conservation projects that have been set up to protect these intriguing animals that are so closely linked to us.

Access, travel logistics, permits and accommodations are easily arranged by us at Bespoke Safaris. To find out more and the best time to travel, we can organise a tailor made trip to any of these locations, please contact Simon Ball at Bespoke Safaris in Nairobi, Kenya.