Schistosomiasis is one of the world's most widely distributed and prevalent parasitic diseases. Less widely recognized is that some species of Schistosoma, including several that commonly affect humans, also cause disease in other mammalian species; in particular, infections in non-human primates are known. With interest increasing in emerging zoonotic diseases, the status of schistosomiasis as a zoonotic infection is in need of re-appraisal, especially in light of advances in application of molecular screening and epidemiological tools where newly reported infections raise general animal welfare and conservation concerns. Focusing on Africa, this review provides a summary of the occurrence of schistosomiasis in non-human primates and discusses new ways in which surveillance for schistosomiasis should be integrated into more effective conservation management and disease control strategies. Emphasis is on the more common forms of human schistosomiasis, their clinical manifestations and epidemiological significance in terms of infection reservoir potential.