The Great Apes of Africa: An Ultimate List and Itineraries

The Great Apes of Africa: An Ultimate List and Itineraries. Encountering Africa’s great apes in their natural environments is one of life’s most extraordinary experiences. Learn more about the great apes of Africa, where to find them and the best way to see them in their natural habitat.

Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) live in two different areas. One is in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda, which goes into the Sarambwe Forest in DR Congo. The other is in the Virunga Volcanoes conservation area, which is made up of three national parks in Rwanda, Uganda, and eastern DR Congo. The Grauer’s gorilla, or Eastern Lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), can only be found in the eastern lowlands. In the last few decades, the populations and ranges of all great ape species have shrunk by a large amount. Not only are all of the great apes listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, but the populations of all of them are also going down, except for mountain gorillas.

There are only about 2,000 Eastern Lowland gorillas and less than 300 Cross River gorillas left in West Africa. About 6,600 Sumatran orangutans are thought to still be living in the wild. You can find the Western Lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, DR Congo, and the Cabinda area of Angola.

These 11 areas of forest are on either side of the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. They are home to the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). The Pan paniscus monkey has been on the IUCN Red List as an Endangered Species since 1996. The species is only found in the middle Congo Basin in DR Congo. It lives in small groups south of the Congo River. Pan troglodytes, the chimpanzee, lives in 21 countries in Equatorial Africa. However, it has been on the IUCN Red List as Endangered since 1996.

The Eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) is one of the four subspecies of the chimpanzee. The Central chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) is another. The Cameroon–Nigeria chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) is a fourth that lives in West Africa. As a whole, these four subspecies live all over Africa, from southern Senegal and Guinea in West Africa to western Uganda and western Tanzania in East Africa, across the Congo Basin. The orangutan is the only great ape that lives in Asia. It is thought that it used to live all over Indochina.

Today, there are two different kinds living on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. They are further split into three sub-species of Bornean orangutan.

Mysterious Congo – In the Realm of the Great Apes

List of The Great Apes of Africa


COMMON NAME: Chimpanzees
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pan troglodytes
TYPE: Mammals
DIET: Omnivore
GROUP NAME: Community
SIZE: Four to 5.5 feet
WEIGHT: 70 to 130 pounds

Chimpanzees, like humans, are quite gregarious, can live to be more than 50 years old, and provide long-term care for their young. Indeed, chimpanzees and humans share nearly all of our genes, making them our closest cousins.

In their native Central African forest habitat, chimpanzees spend the vast majority of their time perched high in the trees. Although they can walk upright for up to a mile, chimpanzees typically move on all fours when they descend to Earth. Termite mounds are fished out using sticks, and water is absorbed by bunches of leaves.


There is still controversy amongst experts as to whether the world’s two smallest populations of mountain gorillas, which are actually subspecies of the eastern gorilla, are indeed two distinct species. A little over half call the Virunga Mountains—a chain of dormant volcanoes that forms the border between the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda—home. The rest can be discovered in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It was long believed that mountain gorillas may go extinct by the end of the twentieth century due to the extreme risks they faced over the years following their 1902 discovery, including war, hunting, habitat degradation, and sickness.

Mountain gorillas, as the name suggests, inhabit mountainous regions with dense forest cover, often between 8,000 and 13,000 feet in elevation. When compared to other great apes, they stand out with their thicker and more abundant fur. They are able to endure habitats where temperatures frequently dip below freezing because to their fur. However, gorillas have been subjected to more hazardous and, at times, fatal circumstances as people have expanded into their habitat, pushing them farther and higher into the mountains for longer durations.

Thanks to conservation initiatives, the subspecies’ once-doubtful future has taken a turn for the better in recent years. Mountain gorilla populations have grown in both countries despite persistent human population expansion, poaching, and civil unrest.

Mountain gorilla

Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla – The Day I Got In It’s Way

COMMON NAME: Mountain Gorilla
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Gorilla beringei beringei
TYPE: Mammals
DIET: Omnivore
GROUP NAME: Troop, band
SIZE: Standing height: 4 to 6 feet
WEIGHT: 300 to 485 pounds

One of the biggest primates still alive today, this enormous ape is a subspecies of the eastern gorilla. In contrast to their lowland relatives, these apes have longer hair and shorter limbs; they also have big hands and feet, a huge chest, and powerful arms. They are able to withstand colder climates thanks to their thick black hair.

The Virunga Mountains in central Africa are home to approximately half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, who number in the hundreds. Gorilla beringei is the scientific name for mountain gorillas, a subspecies of the genus Gorilla. Their home is at an altitude of 8,000 to 13,000 feet in the mountains, as their name suggests.

Eastern gorilla

The eastern lowland gorilla, which is often referred to as Grauer’s gorilla, is the largest of the four subspecies classified as gorillas. A stocky build, huge hands, and a short nose are the distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from other gorillas. Similar to other gorilla subspecies, eastern lowland gorillas primarily consume fruit and other herbaceous materials for their diet. This is despite the fact that they are relatively small.

Both the mountain gorilla and the eastern lowland gorilla have suffered as a result of the years of civil instability that have occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The lowland tropical rainforests in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo are the habitat of the eastern lowland gorilla. Over the course of the past half-century, its range has shrunk from 8,100 square miles, which is about equivalent to the size of the state of Massachusetts, to approximately 4,600 square miles at the present time. Currently, it is possible that this subspecies only occupies 13% of its historical range. In the middle of the 1990s, there were approximately 17,000 eastern lowland gorillas. However, according to estimates provided by scientists, the population has decreased by more than fifty percent since that time. For many years, it has been hard to conduct an accurate count of the animals because of the violence that has been occurring in the region.

Throughout the duration of the turmoil, the gorillas have been susceptible to being poached, even in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, which is home to the biggest population of protected eastern lowland gorillas. In addition to the illicit mines that were built up, the park was invaded by rebels and poachers. In spite of this, park staff are working to regain control of the property with assistance from the World Wildlife Fund and other organisations.

Western lowland gorilla

The western lowland gorilla is the gorilla subspecies that is the most widespread and has the greatest number of individuals. Some of the countries in which populations can be found are Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Equatorial Guinea. Additionally, substantial parts of Gabon and the Republic of Congo are also home to populations. As a result of the fact that they live in some of the most dense and inaccessible rainforests in Africa, the actual number of western lowland gorillas is unknown. There are still significant populations, including those that are found in wetlands that are isolated from one another and in the marshy woods of the Republic of Congo.

It is possible to differentiate Western lowland gorillas from other subspecies of gorillas by their slightly smaller size, their brown-grey coats, and their auburn chests among other distinguishing characteristics. They also have smaller ears and larger skulls, with brow ridges that are more prominent than those of humans. A large population has not been able to prevent the western lowland gorilla from experiencing a decrease. The gorilla population has decreased by more than sixty percent over the past twenty to twenty-five years due to the practice of poaching and the spread of disease. In spite of the fact that all of the dangers that western lowland gorillas face would be eliminated, researchers estimate that it would take around seventy-five years for the population to recover.

Silverback Gorilla

The silverback mountain gorilla is a kind of adult male mountain gorilla that may be identified by the silvery hair that covers its back. They are famous for shows of hostility and dominance, including as whooping, charging, chest pounding, tree slapping, and, less frequently, physical duels. In addition to this spectacular sign of adulthood, they are also known for these behaviours.

The average silverback weighs 430 pounds (195 kilogrammes) and has a height of 5 feet (1.5 metres of height). Silverbacks are exceptionally powerful and have the ability to lift more than 1,763 pounds (800 kilogrammes) of dead weight. Approximately twice as much as a weightlifter who has received adequate training. When it is in the wild, a silverback will utilise its enormous strength to bring down trees in order to get to the fruits they contain. Because of this, mountain gorillas are considered to be a keystone species in Virunga because of the substantial impact they have on the ecology of their particular environment.

Cross River Gorilla

Although they have a similar look to western lowland gorillas, Cross River gorillas are a subspecies of the western lowland gorilla that is in a critical state of extinction. However, their skulls are distinct in shape, and their teeth are of a different size. They typically have fur that is either redder or grayer than that of eastern gorillas.

Like all other gorillas, the Cross River gorillas are social and live in groups, with the dominant male silverback serving as the leader of the assembly. Their group size, on the other hand, is often less than that of other subspecies, with fewer than six members in each group. The majority of their diet consists of plant matter, including fruit, shoots, and leaves.

Regarding this rare subspecies of gorilla, very little is known about them, with the exception of the fact that their numbers are low and their environment is greatly fragmented, which may pose a threat to their survival. By means of the Ymke Warren Memorial Conservation Award, the Gorilla Organisation provides financial support to African primatologists who are conducting research on the Cross River gorillas.


A Rare Look at the Secret Life of Orangutans

There are three kinds: the Bornean, the Sumatran, and the Tapanuli, which was just recently identified as a new species in 2017. The islands of Borneo and Sumatra are the only places in the world where these great apes actually exist in the wild. There is a significant threat to the survival of all three orangutan species. Some estimates claim that there are less than 800 Tapanuli orangutans, fewer than 14,000 Sumatran orangutans, and slightly over 100,000 Bornean orangutans left in the globe. However, it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of orangutans that are still alive in the world. Bornean orangutans have darker red coats and rounder cheeks than their Sumatran cousins, despite the fact that they may appear to be pretty similar due to their fluffy ginger fur but are actually quite different. For example, mature male Sumatran orangutans have a beard and a moustache, and adult female Sumatran orangutans also have beards. However, there are certain similarities between the two species.


TYPE: Mammals
DIET: Omnivore
SIZE: Head and body: 20 to 34 inches; tail: 16 to 23 inches
WEIGHT: 33 to 82 pounds

It is possible to identify five distinct species of baboons. Not a single one of them resides in Arabia or Africa. Baboons are estimated to be among the largest primates in the world, with males of several species weighing anything from 33 to 82 pounds on average. Not considering the hefty tails that can be of varied lengths, the bodies of baboons range in length from 20 to 40 inches.

Despite the fact that some baboons are found in tropical forests, the majority of them are found in semi-arid environments such as savannas.

Baboons, like other monkeys from the Old World, do not have tails that are prehensile, or capable of gripping. However, they are able to climb trees and do so in order to sleep, eat, or keep an eye out for threat. They spend a significant portion of their time on the flooring.

The Great Apes of Africa Itineraries

The Great Apes Of Africa Expedition In Uganda And Rwanda

National Geographic Expeditions, Great Apes of Uganda and Rwanda

This is a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife adventure to meet the African great apes in Uganda and Rwanda.

A continent that is brimming with life and natural beauty that never ceases to amaze, Africa is a continent that includes a stunning diversity of species. The big apes, which are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, are among the unique populations that call this place home. These majestic creatures are admired for their intellect and complex social systems, which captivate the hearts and minds of people who are passionate about wildlife and adventure travel from all over the world.

“Great apes” is a word that is used to describe a group of giant primates that are related to humans and share a common ancestry. Gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans are all members of the Hominidae family, which they are categorised as according to the scientific classification system. Africa is the only continent that is home to three of these great ape species (with the exception of orangutans), which makes it an intriguing destination for people who are interested in nature and conservation.

It is highly recommended that you go on the Great Apes of Africa Expedition if you are looking for an amazing wildlife adventure in Africa that will leave you in a state of amazement. This fascinating tour will take you deep into the beautiful rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda, where you will have the extraordinary opportunity to meet face to face with these African great apes in their native habitats. This is a special opportunity that you will not find anywhere else.

You will get the opportunity to engage in conversation with some of the most committed individuals in the field of great ape conservation if you participate in the African Great Apes expedition. The journey will take you through the heart of Uganda’s impenetrable jungles to meet a gorilla family, and you will be able to appreciate the magnificent golden monkeys that are endangered in the Virunga mountains of Rwanda. All of these experiences will take place while you are trekking alongside a chimpanzee group that is always on the move. The story of your exploration of the natural world will be etched with everlasting memories thanks to this immersive experience, which promises to provide a symphony of magnificent encounters with the legendary great apes of Africa throughout your journey.

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