Primate Holidays

Golden Monkey Trekking

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park : While on a primate safari at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, one of the most incredible things you can do is go golden monkey trekking. There are only about 3,000 to 4,000 golden monkeys alive in the wild. Named “golden monkeys,” their varied coats include black, grey, and a stunning orange-gold. Unlike gorillas, who tend to roam around quite a bit, orangutans can have as many as a hundred members in a same group. The golden monkey’s diet consists primarily of bamboo leaves, but also includes a wide variety of other forest foods, including as seasonal fruits, flowers, sprouts, leaves, lichens, and small invertebrates.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the bamboo forests where golden monkeys call home. These monkeys are endemic to the Virunga Volcanoes. The golden monkey is a native of Africa’s Albertine Rift Valley, where it lives in close proximity to the critically endangered mountain gorilla. The Kisoro area in southwestern Uganda is where you’ll find the park. In Uganda, the best place to go in search of golden monkeys is Mgahinga National Park.

Visitors to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can go “golden monkey trekking,” or on a walk through the jungle in search of the monkeys. Guests are briefed on the day’s events at 8 a.m. before setting out on the Gahinga route in search of the golden monkeys. The golden monkeys bring the forest to life with their antics, making lots of noise as they swing from bamboo tree to bamboo tree in search of food. After encountering the monkeys, visitors have only one hour with them before they must return to their starting place. Since the monkeys are found in lower places, the entire process is not too taxing and can take up to three hours. Golden monkey trekking safari is not permitted in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for those younger than 12 years old.

Good hiking shoes, long-sleeved shirts, rain coats, insect repellants, binoculars for the birders, energy-giving food, and water for hydration are all essential for a successful golden monkey trekking safari in Mgahinga. A walking stick can prove useful as well. Hire a porter at the outset of your hike to carry your gear and keep you steady on slick terrain by pulling or pushing you.

Permits to undertake golden monkey trekking safari must be purchased in advance, and each visitor is only allowed one. The one-time-use permit costs $60 for non-residents and $50 for residents, while East African natives pay just UGX40,000 per person. Permits can be bought either directly from the Ntebeko Park Headquarters or from a reputable tour company on the ground.

Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is open all year for golden monkey trekking safari. Any time of year is a good opportunity to visit the park so that you can take part in the event. You may get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park from Rwanda by plane or by car. From Kampala, a trip to the park takes about 9-10 hours by car. Visitors can book charter aircraft from Entebbe or Kampala to Kisoro and then take a transfer to the park. Visitors can also fly directly into Rwanda and take a vehicle trip of about four hours from Kigali to Mgahinga via the Cyanika or Katuna border.

If you’re visiting the park and would like to spend more time with the golden monkeys, you can choose to participate in a golden monkey habituation session. During the habituation process, visitors observe and learn about the golden monkeys from researchers and specialists. A permit to participate in a golden monkey habituation event costs just $100 for tourists from outside East Africa or for those living in East Africa.

There are other safari activities in Mgahinga other than golden monkey tracking that travelers can take part in, say gorilla trekking, bird watching, nature hikes, visiting local communities and the Batwa cultural trail among so many others.