Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda : Golden monkey trekking is a popular primate safari activity only possible within the Virunga region of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo where the rare and endangered golden monkeys can be found.

Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

Golden monkeys scientifically known as Cercopithecus Kandti are rare species of the Old-World Monkey (Cercopithecidae) that is mainly found in the highland bamboo forested regions of Central Africa. Golden monkeys are endangered species due to harvesting of trees in their habitat for timber and clearance for agriculture, charcoal production and livestock grazing as indicated by reports by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The golden monkeys are beautiful primates with a distinctive appearance with reddish – gold fur on its back in strinking contrast to the black coloration of its feet, legs and tail. A male golden monkey is larger, weighing between 4.5 and 12 kg (10 – 26 lb) and tall at 48-67 cm (19-26). Females are much smaller weighing between 3.5 and 4.5 kg (8-10 lb).

The golden monkeys have a life expectancy of up to 19 years.

If you are planning a golden monkey trekking safari in Uganda and Rwanda, here is the vital information you need to know for a mind-blowing experience.

Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga, Uganda

In Uganda, golden monkey trekking is done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park located in southwestern Uganda protecting the Uganda’s side of the Virunga Mountains, Mgahinga is one of the only four destinations where tourists can see golden monkeys and mountain gorillas in the wild at a close range.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the place where you can see golden monkeys in Uganda, the park’s golden monkey population is estimated to be between 3164 and 5059 individuals. One group is fully human habituated with about 30 individuals and it is available for daily golden monkey trekking excursions. The other group is reserved for research and the daily four – hour habituation experience.

There are two daily treks to see golden monkeys in Mgahinga, the first is the standard half – day golden monkey trekking adventure that offers visitors only one hour with the beautiful golden monkeys in the bamboo forests.

The more captivating and unique golden monkey trek which is unique to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the golden monkey habituation experience.

These golden monkeys open for golden monkey trekking experience has been part of a long-time study which makes them friendly and gives visitors a chance to spend time with them.

For golden monkey habituation experience, visitors get a chance to learn about the golden monkeys in deeper depth, learn about their habitat and the behind- the-scenes primate science in a period of 4 hours.

Golden Monkey Trekking Permit & Price

To join the daily guided treks to see the golden monkeys in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you need to have a golden monkey trekking permit which costs $ 60 per person for foreign non -residents, $ 50 for Foreign Residents and UGx 40,000 for East African Community Citizens. The permit is an access ticket that allows you to enter the jungle and comes with armed rangers for protection against any threats in the jungle, an expert local tracker guide and the time you spend with the primates. The permit does not include park entrance which is $ 40 for foreign non-residents, $ 30 for foreign residents and UGX 20,000 per person for East Africa Citizens.

Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a bit less strenuous and it takes about 30 minutes to 2 hours of trying to find their location. Nonetheless, golden monkeys are more active and exciting to watch and will keep you on your toes trying to keep up with their antics.

 Where to stay in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park on Golden Monkey Trekking Experience

Accommodation options to stay at during your golden monkey trekking safari in Mgahinga include Gahinga Lodge, Birdnest Bunyonyi, Lake Mutanda Resort, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gahinga Lodge among others.

Golden Monkey Trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Popularly known for mountain gorilla trekking adventure in Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park also offers excellent trekking excursions on which you see golden monkeys in the wild similar to those in Mgahinga.

Unlike Mgahinga, Volcanoes National Park doesn’t offer golden monkey habituation experience.

Volcanoes National Park hosts two-human habituated golden groups with the largest consisting of about 80to 100 individuals, daily excursions head out at 08:00 am from the park’s headquarters at Kiningi so visitors are expected to be there by 07:00 am for briefing before the trek.

Noe: to avoid disappointments, visitors are advised to book their golden monkey safaris as well as permits through a tour operator.

Where to stay in Volcanoes National Park for Golden Monkey Trekking in Rwanda

There are several accommodation options in Volcanoes National Park, these include Bisate Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Gorilla’s Nest, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge among others.

Best Time To See Golden Monkeys

Trekking to see golden monkeys is possible throughout the year, but the best time to go is during the drier seasons from June to August and December to January. In this period the trails are easier to navigate during these months and spending time with the golden monkeys is more enjoyable when it is not raining.

However, it is important to note that dry seasons in Uganda and Rwanda are peak seasons for tourism with millions of visitors, this means that most desirable lodges are fully booked and there is high demand for golden monkey permit. We highly recommend booking your golden monkey permit as well as accommodation in advance particularly between June and September.

The low seasons from March to May and from October to November are characterized by high rainfall, misty forests and challenging trails. However, for adventurous travelers who are fine with the weather. These seasons offer the opportunity to enjoy the trails with the crowds and the lodges offer discounted rates.

Your Packing List For Golden Monkey Trekking

To enjoy seeing golden monkeys in the wild, you should have the perfect items with you and these should include things to keep you dry, warm and protected from the jungle as its tiny inhabitants. Since you will be staying and hiking in high – altitude rainforests where it gets chilly and can rain anytime.

Bring a pair of lightweight waterproof hiking shoes, a jacket and a backpack (more preferably a waterproof one). During the treks, your body should be covered up to protect you from the bugs and prickly thorn branches, so carry long-sleeved shirt and trousers with pockets to carry your phone. Wear a cap to cover your head and glasses to protect your eyes.

Golden monkeys can hide in the bamboo forests and you will have to zoom in to catch a good shot, if you don’t carry a professional camera. At least bring a pair of binoculars.

In the evenings, it can get chilly at the lodge where you will be staying. Bring a sweater or warm jackets and a pair of warm socks to keep your legs warm.

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