Golden Monkey Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

golden monkey

Gold­en Mon­keys are beau­ti­ful, excep­tion­al pri­mates that can only be found on the slopes of the Virun­ga vol­ca­noes shared by Rwan­da, Ugan­da and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Con­go. In Ugan­da, gold­en mon­key trekking takes place only in Mgahin­ga Goril­la Nation­al Park, which is locat­ed in the dis­trict of Kisoro in south-west­ern Uganda.

They are col­ored in black, grey and have a unique and beau­ti­ful shade of orange-gold, grant­i­ng them the phrase “gold­en monkeys.”

Gold­en Mon­keys pre­fer to camp in the bam­boo sec­tions of the for­est where they feed on young bam­boo shoots. Alber­tine Rift Val­ley is home to gold­en mon­keys and moun­tain goril­las, both of which are crit­i­cal­ly endangered.

One of the most incred­i­ble activ­i­ties one can do while on a pri­mate safari in Mgahin­ga Goril­la Nation­al Park is gold­en mon­key trekking. They are a crit­i­cal­ly endan­gered species, with only 3000–4000 indi­vid­u­als remain­ing on plan­et earth and live in large groups of up to 100 led by an Alpha male and do not relo­cate as much as moun­tain goril­las because they stay in one place for extend­ed peri­ods of time. Gold­en mon­keys eat bam­boo leaves and shoots, sea­son­al fruits, flow­ers, sprouts, leaves, lichens, and oth­er for­est invertebrates.

Gold­en mon­key trekking in Mgahin­ga Goril­la Nation­al Park entails hikes through the for­est in search of gold­en mon­keys in their nat­ur­al habi­tat. The activ­i­ty begins at 8 a.m. with a brief­ing on what to expect, after which trav­el­ers set out on the Gahin­ga trail in search of the gold­en mon­keys. The gold­en mon­keys make the for­est come alive with their mon­key activ­i­ty, jump­ing from one bam­boo tree to anoth­er as they play and eat. Once encoun­tered, trav­el­ers are only allowed one hour with the mon­keys before return­ing to the start­ing point.

The activ­i­ty alto­geth­er isn’t stren­u­ous and it can take about 2 — 3 hours as the mon­keys live in low­er areas and also depend­ing on where they nest­ed the pre­vi­ous night and how far it is from the start­ing point. Chil­dren below the age of 12 can­not do gold­en mon­key track­ing in Mgahin­ga Goril­la Nation­al Park.

Pack­ing list.

To track gold­en mon­keys in Mgahin­ga, vis­i­tors must have prop­er equip­ment, which includes good hik­ing shoes, long-sleeved shirts, trousers or track­suits, rain jack­ets, insect repel­lents, binoc­u­lars for bird­watch­ers, ener­gy-giv­ing snacks or lunch, and water for refresh­ment dur­ing the hike. A hik­ing stick could also be use­ful or you can also hire a porter at the start of the trek to assist you, with car­ry­ing your back­pack or sup­port­ing you on slip­pery paths by pulling or push­ing you, while keep­ing a good mood in mind.

Trav­el­ers must pur­chase gold­en mon­key track­ing per­mits in advance, which allow only one per­son to par­tic­i­pate in the activ­i­ty. A trekking per­mit costs $60 for for­eign non-res­i­dents and UGX 40,000 for East African cit­i­zens and can only be used once.

Per­mits can be pur­chased on-site at Nte­beko park head­quar­ters or by a rep­utable tour company.

Gold­en Mon­key Habit­u­a­tion Experience.

Trav­ellers can also take part in gold­en mon­key habit­u­a­tion expe­ri­ence where they learn about nature and behav­iors of gold­en mon­keys in the com­pa­ny of researchers and experts. One needs to pur­chase a gold­en mon­key habit­u­a­tion expe­ri­ence per­mit at only $100 for for­eign non-res­i­dents and UGX 100,000 for the East African citizens

Best time to vis­it Gold­en monkeys.

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 a chance to take part in the activ­i­ty. Mgahin­ga goril­la nation­al park can be accessed by both air and road, and also from Rwanda.

By road, one can dri­ve from Kam­pala for about 9–10 hours to the park. Sched­uled flights are avail­able for book­ing from Entebbe or Kam­pala to Kisoro airstrip from where trav­el­ers get trans­port­ed to the park.

The park is eas­i­ly accessed from Rwan­da too, 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.

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, as well as are oth­er activ­i­ties in Mgahin­ga Goril­la Nation­al Park oth­er than gold­en mon­key track­ing that trav­el­ers can take part in, like goril­la track­ing, bird watch­ing, nature hikes, vis­it­ing local com­mu­ni­ties and Gold­en mon­key track­ing in Mgahin­ga Goril­la Nation­al Park is a great activ­i­ty that trav­el­ers vis­it­ing the park can take part in togeth­er with goril­la tracking.

Trav­el­ers must first pur­chase gold­en mon­key track­ing per­mits, which allow only one per­son to par­tic­i­pate in the activ­i­ty. The per­mit costs $60 for for­eign non-res­i­dents and res­i­dents and UGX 40,000 for East African cit­i­zens and can only be used once. Per­mits can be pur­chased in advance from UWA offices or through a rep­utable tour company.


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