Where are Primates found around the world?

There are an amazing 233 types of primates found on earth and because we ourselves are a member of this family, there has always been a particular fascination with them, especially our closest relatives which include Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and Bonobos.

We often talk about the similarities between humans and some primates, including opposable thumbs, hands with fingernails and touch-sensitive pads, and of course their ability to use tools to feed and in some cases fight with rival groups.

The diversity of this group of animals is truly astonishing, from the pygmy marmoset weighing less than 100g to the magnificent Silverback Mountain Gorillas standing at close to 2m in height and weighing well over 200kg.

Most primates are well adapted for a life in the trees, with strong clavicles and flexible shoulder joints. They can also hold their body in an upright position, although unlike humans this has not become their main way of movement. They have large brains relative to their size and are highly social, with numerous vocalisations; many of which reaffirm the strong social bonds in the extended family groups in which they often live in.

What types of Primates are found in Africa?

It is fascinating that out of the 216 species of primates found in Africa, 105 of them are only found on the island of Madagascar, with the remaining 111 found on the mainland. African primates include sub-groups such as great apes, lemurs, baboons, colobus monkeys, geladas, guenons, mandrills, mangabeys, and Patas monkeys.

Where are Primates found in Africa?

Primates are found in most of Africa’s 54 countries, from the Barbary macaque found in Morocco and Algeria to the famous Gorillas and Chimps found in central and eastern Africa countries like Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo, to the Olive Baboons of South Africa. The Zanzibar red colobus is one of Africa’s rarest primates and is currently listed as highly endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Primate hotspots in Africa in terms of diversity and the number of species you might see on your bespoke primate watching holidays are Uganda with its 20 primate species to the incredible Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda, which has an incredible 13 different monkeys and apes, including chimpanzees, blue monkeys, owl-faced monkeys, and the stunning Angolan Colobus monkeys.

 What types of Primates are found in Asia?

There are 98 species of primates found in Asia and of these 19 are members of the Prosimian group which includes both Tarsiers and Lorises, 57 are Old World monkeys such as Macaques and Doucs, there are an incredible 18 Gibbon species and of course Orangutans and humans.

 Where are Primates found in Asia & India?

Some of the best places to see primates in Asia are Borneo and India as there is a well-developed wildlife tourism industry in these two countries and you have more chance to see them in a genuine wilderness setting, rather than the sad site of overweight monkeys being fed at temples or city parks. These poor creatures overdevelop diseases like diabetes due to the ‘kindness’ of the human race.

We organise a very specialised primate watching holiday in the northeast state of Assam, where you have the chance of seeing India’s one great ape – the Hoolock Gibbon – as well as rare primate species such as the Slow Loris and Stump-tailed Macaque. We also organise primate safaris in south India, with the chance to see the magnificent Lion-tailed Macaque and Nilgiri Langur.

What types of Primates are found in Europe?

Humans have a bit of a monopoly when it comes to where primates are found in Europe, although to give ourselves a little company and amusement we decided to import Barbary macaques from North Africa to Gibraltar. The macaque population had also been present on the ‘Rock’ long before Gibraltar was captured by the British in 1704 and according to records, before the reconquest of Gibraltar from the Muslims.

Having recently visited Gibraltar we can state that the population is still doing well – approximately 300 individuals in 5 different troops. Despite the numerous signs strictly forbidding visitors to feed them, that tends to be the very first thing many people do when taking the lift up to the rock. Yes, we consider ourselves to be the highest form of primates, but time and time again I do not see this in practice.

Where are Primates found in North America?

You may already know that there are no primates in North America but it is very interesting to reflect on why that is the case, especially when there are monkeys in Mexico and how difficult can it be for them to cross the border walls?

Even though the formation of the Isthmus of Panama made it possible for monkeys to move into the US, they didn’t because they had evolved to prefer a tropical climate full of trees. Since the vast majority of North American states don’t offer this type of forest – the New World monkeys did not ‘colonize’ the States. Monkeys are found in central and southern Mexico but there is not the type of habitat north of that to present the opportunity for a natural migration north.

What types of Primates are found in Central and South America?

All of the primates found in South America, Central America, and Southern Mexico are known as New World monkeys and consist of 5 families. These monkeys differ from Old World monkeys in several physical aspects, the most prominent of which is the nose. Platyrrhini (the Parvoder for this group of primates) means ’flat nosed’ and New World monkeys have noses that are flatter, narrower, and ‘side facing’ when compared with the Old World monkeys. In addition, New World monkeys are the only primates with prehensile tails and a magnificent example of this can be seen on our Amazon wildlife holiday to Cristalino Lodge where you can see Spider Monkeys right outside your jungle accommodation. New World monkeys range in size from the pygmy marmoset (the world’s smallest monkey), at 14 to 16 cm and 200g to the Southern Muriqui, at 55 to 70 cm, and a weight of 12 to 15 kg.

Where are Primates found in South and Central America?

Two primate hotspots in Central and South America are Costa Rica and Brazil and Wildlife Trails organise primate watching holidays to both destinations. Despite the horrendous loss of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil in recent years and the complete indifference of the Bolsonaro government to this environmental disaster, Brazil remains home to the greatest number and diversity of primates in South America with an amazing 53 species, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Lying deep inside the Amazon jungle and surrounded by virgin forest, the Pousada Rio Roosevelt Lodge is one of the best places in the world to see primates in the wild.

Although Costa Rica only has 4 species of monkeys which include the white-faced capuchin, Mantled Howler, Geoffrey’s Spider monkey, and Central American Squirrel monkey, it remains a great location to see them and places like Manuel Antonio National Park, Osa Peninsula, and Tortuguero are some of the best places to see monkeys in Costa Rica.


Our Clients Say About Us


We went to Alaska, which Wildlife Trails sorted out for us. I chose Wildlife Trails because Allan was more knowledgeable than others I emailed, and more helpful. We went to Anchorage, Seward, er, Nikiski, Kodiak and Katmai. At Nikiski we stayed at Daniels Lake Lodge B&B in a log cabin by the lake. It was an amazing place and was the wildest and most remote of our journey. We saw a black bear and 3 coyote on the road. Had a great day out with Alaska West Air near there. We had bears right beside our boat at Big River Lakes near Wolverine Creek, saw bald eagles and plenty of salmon in the river. They gave us a scenic flight on the way back flying right over double glacier and its ice field - so close we almost landed on it. Really breath-taking. We booked up Juneau Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure Tour ourselves through Alaska Shore Excursions - local tour operator was Liquid Alaska Tours. This was excellent. We did canoeing, went in an ice cave under the glacier and used crampons to climb on top of it. A fantastic day out. Would recommend these. Also had a great day out at Brooks Falls watching the bears catching the salmon that were jumping up the waterfall. Well worth the trip. Wouldn't recommend Jayleen's Alaska whale watching trip. We didn't see anything but a lighthouse for most of the morning. Cost us a fortune for 6 hours when we saw more on the 2 hour cruise with Alaska Tales for a fraction of the cost. These are a new company. We didn't have many on the boat so didn't have to fight the crowds to see the whales and they took us straight to them so didn't waste any of our time. To see black bears close up we went to AnAn Bear observatory. A mother and cub came very close to where we were standing on a platform. At the other places we saw brown bears. A great trip all in all. As I stated above Wildlife Trails are very knowledgeable and helpful. They always replied quickly to any emails I sent asking them a lot of questions (some I should have been able to work out myself). When we had problems they were always contactable to help us sort them out. The ferry they booked for us went on strike but Wildlife Trails had sorted us out a flight in its place before we even knew there was a problem, so the holiday ran very smoothly. I would recommend Wildlife Trails to anyone and I have already booked another trip with them next year.

ByDawn and Steve
Fantastic Canadian adventure

We had a two week holiday on Vancouver Island.. we went on a whale watching tour and saw Orcas, Humpbacks, Dahl porpoises, white striped Dolphins, seals and Sea lions. We then did a Grizzly bear r and saw lots of Grizzlies as well as loads of Black Bears. The highlight of the holiday was a three day kayaking trip which was fantastic. Kayaking with Orcas and Humpback whales was incredible Our holiday was completely organised by Wildlife Trails, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.. everything was planned to perfection and they made the entire holiday exactly what we asked for

ByChris and John
Outstanding from planning, throughout the whole trip and home again

We had a 13 day tour to India, mostly wildlife as this was what we wanted and a little element of city & culture. Day in Delhi staying at the Imperial, apart from noisy traffic getting to the el it was an iconic place to be, so much hitory and staff who had been there 30yrs and proud of what they did. then onto 5 days at Ranthambor - 2 incredible Tiger sightings with so many other species, onto Agra and the Taj Mahal and then the Saptura National Park. Great time was taken in the planning, we were given lots of options as to how to make the trip up including time of year and how to maximize wildlife sighting.