Background_Primates

Primate Viewing

It is easy to underestimate Tanzania’s primate diversity, which stands at around 20 species

since most primates are essentially arboreal (living in trees),and are thus better adapted to forested habitats than to the savannah country focused on by most safaris.

Our primate viewing take place in Udzungwa National Park, which is part of the Eastern Arc Mountains and is a haven to primates and the only National park in Tanzania having eleven primate species.

Of the primate species recorded in the park,

  • the Iringa Red Colobus,
  • Sanje Crested Mangabey,
  • Matundu dwarf galago,
  • Mountain dwarf galago and
  • the recently discovered monkey Rungwecebus Kipunji,

are found nowhere else in the world except in the tropical rainforest of Udzungwa.

The thumbless forest-dwelling colobus monkeys have a rather streamlined appearance, created by their small heads, very long tails and spidery limbs. Strongly arboreal, they seldom venture to the ground and subsist almost entirely on leafy leguminous matter, processed by a ruminant-like digestive system.

The critically endangered Iringa red colobus is endemic to the Udzungwa Mountains and probably numbers no more than 1,000 in the wild.

Smaller than baboons but larger than guenons, mangabeys are dull arboreal monkeys associated primarily with low-altitude rainforest in central Africa. Tanzania supports one very localised endemic species in the form of the Sanje crested mangabey, which was unknown to science until 1979. Unique to the Udzungwa Mountains, it is thought to number around 2,000 in the wild.

Remarkably, two populations of a previously undescribed grey-brown monkey were discovered in southern Tanzania in 2003. Originally thought to be a type of mangabey, this shaggy and exclusively arboreal monkey is now assigned to a monotypic genus, the first primate discovery of comparable magnitude in 83 years. Known by its local name of kipunji, it is thought to number about 500 in the wild, split between Mount Rungwe and Udzungwa.

  • Udzungwa National Park

    The park offers excellent hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities. A variety of trails are available to suit different abilities, including the  half day hike to Sanje Waterfalls

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