Golden monkey trekking
Golden monkey trekking : Golden monkeys are some of the endangered species of primates left in the world. They live in bamboo forested areas and are only found in the Virunga volcanoes where Mgahinga gorilla national park is found. They derive their name from their beautiful colors; black, grey and a shade of orange black that has them being called the golden monkeys. These primates feed on bamboo leaves, seasonal fruits, flowers, leaves, sprouts, lichens and small invertebrates that are all around the forest. There are about 3000-4000 individual golden monkeys left and they live in large groups of up to 100 led by an alpha male. They stay in one place for a time not like gorillas which move from place to place in a very short period of time while on a Uganda Safari.
For golden monkey trekking, just like gorilla trekking, one will need hiking shoes, long sleeved clothes, sunscreen, insect repellants, rain jackets, drinks for refreshments and areca would come in handy. You can also hire a porter to help with your backpack or assistant you while on the slippery paths. Trekking starts at 8am with orientation of what to expect before heading out using the Gahinga trail to search for the monkeys. Travelers enjoy the monkeys playing and eating as they jump from one tree to other making joyful noises. The participants are allowed one hour with the monkeys they have encountered before returning to the starting point but the whole activity may take 3 hours. It is important to note that children below 12 years are not permitted to go for golden monkey trekking.
To participate in this activity, one must acquire a trekking permit which can be purchased at the park headquarters in Ntebeko or through a reputable tour company. Permits for for $100 for the international tourists, $90 for foreign residents and 40000 Ugandan shillings only for East Africans and can only be used once. These permits are per person not groups for Uganda Safaris.
Golden monkey trekking can be done throughout the year. You are guaranteed of participation in the activity at any time of the year, during the wet and dry seasons. Mgahinga gorilla national park can be accessed by road, air and from Rwanda. By road, it is 8 hours from Kampala via Kabale, by air it is one hour from Entebbe to Kisoro airstrip which is near the park. From Rwanda, one can opt to fly in to Kisoro airstrip or take the road which is 4 hours from Kigali through Cyanika or Katuna border. Charter flights can be booked in advance from Kampala or Entebbe.
Along with golden monkey trekking, one can decide to maximize the experience by doing other activities like gorilla trekking, bird watching, nature hiking and doing the Batwa culture trail. The Batwa depended on the forest for food, medicine, fruit gathering, honey collection and hunting, for several years before they were relocated out of the forest recently. When visiting these unique people, you’ll get entertained by their traditional dancers at the Ngarama cave and you’ll be intrigued by stories of their unique culture.
Accommodation can be booked in or near the Mgahinga gorilla national park. The price ranges from $30 to $3000 depending on your affordability. Some accommodation options include; travelers rest hotel, Mount Gahinga safari lodge, Kisoro tourist hotel, Chameleone hill lodge among other accommodations. You can look online for places you can stay when golden monkey trekking that fit your range of prices. Look at what they offer before you decide so you can make the best choice. Remember to book early to avoid inconveniences after your trek and to just be organized before your trip. Enjoy your golden monkey trekking experience at Mgahinga.