Golden Monkey Trekking in Uganda
Golden Monkey Trekking in Uganda is yet another adventurous activity with rich experience that one can add on the Uganda primates Safari. The golden monkey species belong to the old world monkeys that reside in the Virunga volcanic region of East and Central Africa, the Golden Monkey belongs to the family with the botanical name (Cercopithecus Kandit). Therefore, Golden Monkeys can only be found in Mgahinga National park which is also home to the Mountain gorillas in Uganda. Golden monkeys in Uganda are located in the southwestern part of Uganda on the bordering Virunga mountain ranges which separate 3 individual countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Golden monkeys are the most beautiful of all the monkey species with the most striking golden fur coats, from which the name `Golden Monkey` was derived. Golden Monkeys inhabit in lower areas of the mountains which are mainly covered with the bamboo forest because they like feeding on bamboo shoot. In Rwanda, the Golden monkeys specifically occupy the North-western part in Volcanoes National park, while in Uganda; they occupy the southwest in Mgahinga National park. Indeed one can agree that it’s restrained to boundaries of highland forests; it is also significant to note that the Golden monkey is red-marked on the “list of seriously endangered species.
Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga National Park
Golden monkey trekking was introduced in Mgahinga national park to complement the only existing mountain gorilla family called the Nyakagezi family for purposes of diversifying tourism in Mgahinga gorilla national park, increase the number of travellers to Mgahinga national park and increasing tourism activities to be offered in the park. There are about 3000-4000 golden monkeys in the higher altitudes of the Virunga conservation area whereby Mgahinga national park inhabitants some of them. Unlike the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys live in big numbers whereby a group has a range of up to 30 to 40 members or above. A group of golden monkeys is called a troop. Golden monkeys live in troops with a relatively large number of members in each troop. In Uganda, there are about 6 troops of Golden monkeys has been habituated in Mgahinga national park available for visitors to trek. One of the troops is also reserved for research purposes in Mgahinga National park.
Golden monkey trekking in Uganda takes place in the mornings when they leave their sleeping areas and wonder in the forest searching for food and spend most of their time in the bamboo nearer to the base of the mountain after which they return to sleep in the bamboo trees in groups of four or more individuals. The search of the golden monkeys’ starts with a briefing at the park headquarters at 07:30 hours and the actual trek begins at 08:00hours, the search will last for about 2 to 5 hours and you will be granted to spend 1 hour with them. There are very high chances of encountering the golden monkeys because they live in large numbers of up to 40 members and they spend most of the time swinging on the canopies of the bamboo trees from which they pick shoot at the tops, sometimes they can be seen on the ground. The good thing with golden monkey trekking in Uganda is that they are photogenic and they do not feel so shy to move within a short distance from people/visitors. The exact encounter with the golden monkeys lasts for an hour and this time is limited because of the need to conserve these beautiful creatures.
Before Golden monkeys are exposed for human consumption, Golden monkeys are first habituation because of their shy and wild nature. If visitors are allowed to see golden monkeys before they are habituated because they tend to be wild and move away from human beings. Golden monkey habituation is processes of getting troops of golden monkeys get used to the presence of people around them. This experience can also be offered to visitors who want to do research on the golden monkeys. This is some kind of special treatment given to visitors who wish to get more detailed understanding and behaviour of the golden monkey for more than the one hour that is given during Golden monkey trekking. Visitors are actually allocated 4 hours to study the Golden monkeys with the help of researchers and experienced trackers.
Golden monkey trekking is only allowed for people ages 15 year old and above and the trekking fees are standard and provided by the Uganda wildlife Authority. A golden monkey trekking permit costs US$100 per person inclusive park entrance fees and trekking fees. The golden monkey permit allows the visitor to interact with the golden monkeys for about an hour maximum. Mgahinga national park can be accessed from Kisoro district in Ntebeko village where we also find the park head offices.
In conclusion, Golden monkeys in Uganda are rare species still surviving in the wild also considered endangered due to their limited population. Travelers should therefore take time to interact and spend with the rare species for a phenomenal and extraordinary experience. Most travellers in Uganda prefer to combine golden monkey trekking and mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Other activities in Mgahinga National Park include the Batwa Pygmy community experience, Volcano climbing, nature walks and birding safaris to mention a few. Add golden monkey trekking experience in your gorilla trekking package and enjoy your time to trek and learn about these remarkable creatures that will leave beautiful memories in your minds.