Golden monkey trekking: To begin with, golden monkey trekking is one of the most amazing activities that one can do while visiting Mgahinga National park.
Golden monkeys live in bamboo forested areas and they can only be found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Also, these primates are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley, and they share their home with the equally endangered mountain gorillas. Furthermore, the park is located in the South-western part of Uganda in the district of Kisoro.
About golden monkeys
Golden monkeys are an endangered species with only 3000-4000 individuals still present in the world. They have a number of colors such as black, grey and a beautiful shade of orange-gold which is why they are called golden monkeys.
Additionally, they live in large groups of up to 100 individuals and each group is led by an Alpha male. These primates do not move as much for they stay in one location for a time unlike the gorillas. They feed on bamboo leaves, seasonal fruits, flowers, sprouts, leaves, lichens and small invertebrates which are abundant in the forest.
Golden monkey trekking
Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park involves travelers hiking the forest in search of the golden monkeys in their natural habitat.
The activity starts at 8 am with an orientation of what is to be expected. Thereafter, the travelers head out in search of the golden monkeys using the Gahinga trail. The forest comes to life with the noise and monkey activity that the golden monkeys exhibit. They jump from one bamboo tree to another as they play and eat.
Travelers are allowed only one hour with the monkeys. Afterwards, they track back to the starting point. The activity altogether isn’t strenuous and it can take about 3 hours as the monkeys live in lower areas. Also, children below the age of 12 cannot do golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Requirements for golden monkey trekking
To successfully track golden monkeys in Mgahinga, travelers need to have the right gear like good hiking shoes, long sleeved shirts, rain jackets, insect repellent, binoculars for the birders, energy giving snacks and water for refreshment during the hike. A hiking stick could also come in handy. You can also hire a porter at the start of the trek to help you during the trek, say carrying your backpack or support you while on slippery paths by pulling or pushing you.
Golden monkey trekking permits
Travelers need to first purchase golden monkey tracking permits, which will allow one to take part in the activity. The permit costs $60 for foreign non-residents and residents. On the other hand, East African citizens pay UGX40,000 only per person, and the permit can be used only once. The permits can be purchased from the park headquarters of Ntebeko, or through a reputable tour company, Pamoja Tours and Travel.
Best time for the activity
Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be done throughout the year. You can visit the park at any time of the year and be guaranteed of taking part in the activity.
You can access Mgahinga gorilla national park by both air and road, and also from Rwanda.
By road, one can drive from Kampala for about 9-10 hours to the park. Charter flights are available for booking from Entebbe or Kampala to Kisoro from where travelers get transported to the park. The park is easily accessed from Rwanda as well. Travelers can opt to fly into Rwanda directly and be transported by road on a 4 hours’ drive from Kigali to Mgahinga through the Cyanika or Katuna border.
Golden monkey habituation experience
Travelers who would like to spend a longer time with the golden monkeys can opt to have a golden monkey habituation experience in the park. The habituation experience has travelers learning the nature and behaviors of the golden monkeys in the company of the researchers and experts. One needs to purchase a golden monkey habituation experience permit at only $100 for foreign non-residents and residents and UGX100,000 for the East African citizens.
Other activities in the park
Besides, golden monkey trekking, there are other activities such as gorilla tracking, bird watching, nature hikes, visiting local communities and the Batwa cultural trail among others which are available for tourists.
Where to See Golden Monkeys
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda: This national park now has two habituated troops of golden monkeys. The largest and most visited group lives around the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo with about 100 individuals.
Golden monkey troops can also be found in the Gishwati Forest Reserve. A small group is also believed to be surviving in the Nyungwe Forest National park. However, tracking is not organized for visitors in the Gishwati Forest Reserve and Nyungwe Forest National park. The groups found here are not habituated and remain wild.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda: There are two habituated golden monkey troops in Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Mgahinga national park in Uganda is probably the best place to track golden monkeys. The park offers a four hour golden monkey habituation experience where visitors are given more time to observe and understand the lives of the primates alongside international researchers, experienced trackers and guides from the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Golden monkey can also be found in the Virunga national park and Kahuzi-Biéga in the Eastern part of DR Congo. This activity is not yet fully open to visitors in Congo for several reasons including insecurity.
If you are interested in golden monkey trekking, kindly contact Pamoja Tours and Travel for an exceptional adventure. Our priority is your satisfaction and long lasting memories.