Whether you are going in search of orangutans, gorillas, or lemurs, here is our pick of the best places around the world to catch a glimpse of these three very different primates. From the rainforest of northern Borneo to the lush African jungle in Uganda and the wilds of Madagascar, which of our closest animal relatives will you spot first?
Spot orangutans in Borneo
With a round pot-belly, ginger hair and a cheesy grin, what is not to love about a playful orangutan? Located in the rainforest of northern Borneo, the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary is a wonderful place to see these playful creatures up close. Founded in 1964, this rehabilitation centre works to provide orphaned and injured orangutans with the care they need to be reintroduced to the wild. Visitors can observe the orangutans during meal time from elevated walkways that wind through the centre, and learn about the conservation efforts in place to ensure their future survival.
A close encounter with these majestic creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For years mountain gorillas have been hunted and exploited by humans and today only 1,000 are thought to remain in the wild, though this number has been on the rise in recent years thanks to conservation efforts. The permits required to trek into the gorillas’ habitat have helped set up and finance patrols to protect the creatures from poachers, and continue to be a key factor in the survival of the species. Mountain gorillas can be observed in their natural habitat on a trek through the rainforests of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.
Madagascar is home to over 50 species of lemur, from tiny pygmy mouse lemurs to the larger indris, with new species being discovered virtually every year. Before you see one you are bound to hear these vocal primates, whose sounds range from grunts, to chirps and eerie wailing calls. If you want to lure one of these curious primates out of hiding then produce a tasty piece of fruit and you’ll soon hear a rustle in the trees. Before you know it you may have a confident bushy-tailed lemur clinging on to your shoulders with one hand and grappling for the fruit with the other.