Golden Monkey Tracking In Mgahinga National Park : The World Conservation Union has listed the little-known taxonomic primate species (golden monkeys) associated with bamboo as “endangered,” and Mgahinga National Park provides the opportunity to track them during your Uganda safari tour. The golden monkey, a native of the Albertine Rift, is distinguished by its bright orange-gold body, cheeks, and tail, which contrast with its black limbs, crown, and tail end.
Until a few years ago, this pretty monkey was widespread in Rwanda’s Gishwati Forest Reserve. The majority of this habitat was destroyed by refugees who returned after the 1994 genocide, but there may still be a small population in Nyungwe Forest National Park, further south in the same country. The golden monkey, whose population was estimated to be between 3,000 and 4,000 in 2003, is fortunately the numerically dominant primate within this small range.
These endemic and threatened primates live in this area alongside other mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, the world-famous mountain gorilla, buffalo, forest elephants, and other mammal species. Due to the fact that, unlike gorillas, monkeys are small, do not build nests, leave few signs of their presence on the forest floor, and occasionally exhibit quiet behavior, especially in the presence of their main predator, the eagle, it is very difficult to even find the monkeys at first and for many months after that.
Now that they are accustomed to our presence, the group lets us peek into their daily lives. Every day in the forest is different because the monkeys decide how it will go. Simply put, we never know how a workday will turn out, which is what makes it so exciting. You’ll frequently face difficulties. The weather is one of our biggest problems. It is best to trek with the golden monkeys or gorillas below 2,500 meters in elevation because it is less likely to experience strong winds, heavy rain, or extreme cold.
The day’s events are significantly influenced by the weather. The monkeys stay quiet and in the middle of the canopy because they have trouble hearing predators, and when the trees blow, it is difficult to tell whether the sound is the wind, the monkeys moving, or both. The wind makes it easier to track the monkeys as they trek down the slopes. Since the monkeys seek shelter when it rains and remain still, we can see them more closely. The forests are amazing to walk through every day, even on holidays, regardless of the weather. With all of that said, the forest is undoubtedly the most beautiful place to be when it is raining and the mist settles among the moss and hanging vegetation.
GOLDEN MONKEY TRACKING PERMIT
A golden monkey permit in Uganda costs $50 per person for foreign non-residents, $40 per person for foreign residents, and Shs 20,000 for East African residents going on a primate safari in Uganda. This price includes admission to the park, a guide, and one hour with the golden monkeys. These permits can be purchased on-site at the Park headquarters in the Ntebeko Visitor Center. Tourists who want to spend more quality time with the golden monkeys and learn more about them can visit this Park for the engaging golden monkey habituation experience, which costs only $100 per person.
How the activity is conducted
Golden monkey tracking begins with visitors arriving at the Park headquarters by 7:30 a.m. for a pre-tracking briefing (on the dos and don’ts of tracking the golden monkeys). This is similar to gorilla trekking. At 8:00 a.m., the actual trek starts. Due to the fact that golden monkeys live in lower areas than gorillas do, hiking through the forests to see them is less taxing than going in search of gorillas for more than three hours. Tourists are permitted to spend an hour with the golden monkey family in order to take pictures and observe how they interact. The minimum age requirement for this activity is 12, and there is no minimum number of tourists that must track each group.
The cost of lodging varies when visiting Mgahinga National Park. Depending on what a visitor wants, there is opulent lodging where safari lodges offer tastefully decorated guestrooms and suites that are very comfortable to stay in at affordable rates, as well as basic lodging. There are numerous lodging options close by for people who want to track golden monkeys in Mgahinga National Park. Here are some recommendations:
The Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp: Just outside the park’s boundaries is the Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp, which provides cozy and reasonably priced lodging options like Bandas (thatched huts) and camping facilities. The camp supports the local community and offers a distinctive perspective on mountain ranges.
Mount Gahinga Lodge: Mount Gahinga Lodge, which is close to the park’s entrance, provides opulent lodging with a breathtaking view of the Virunga Mountains. To make your stay enjoyable, the lodge offers well-appointed cottages, a restaurant serving both local and foreign cuisine, and a variety of other amenities.
Traveler’s Rest Hotel: The Traveler’s Rest Hotel is a historic establishment that has been hospitably receiving guests for many years and is situated in the nearby town of Kisoro. The hotel offers cozy lodgings, a dining room, a bar, and a garden area. If you’d rather stay outside the park, it’s a practical choice.
Lake Mutanda Resort: This eco-lodge offers stunning views and a peaceful setting close to Lake Mutanda. The resort offers safari tents and cottages with suite amenities. They also offer other activities like canoeing and nature walks in addition to having a bar and restaurant.
Kisoro Tourist Hotel: The Kisoro Tourist Hotel is another option in Kisoro town and provides inexpensive lodging with minimal amenities. The hotel offers a variety of room sizes, a restaurant, a bar, and helpful staff.
These are merely a few instances; Mgahinga National Park is close to additional lodges, guesthouses, and campsites. They offer a bar, a restaurant, and outdoor pursuits like canoeing and nature hikes. It is advised to take into account aspects like proximity to the park, amenities offered, price range, and personal preferences when selecting accommodations. Additionally, find out if the hotel you’ve chosen can help you plan excursions like tracking golden monkeys and other park adventures. When choosing where to stay while visiting Mgahinga National Park, keep in mind to consider the reviews, ratings, and recommendations of previous visitors.
The Best time to Visit Mgahinga National Park for Golden Monkey tracking
Golden monkey tracking is best done in Mgahinga National Park between the dry seasons, which are typically from December to February and June to September. These months typically experience drier weather, which makes the trails easier to access and lowers the likelihood of experiencing torrential downpours.
The likelihood of clear skies also rises during the dry seasons, which can improve your overall experience and present better photo opportunities. It’s possible that the trails won’t be as muddy, improving the comfort of the trek.
It’s crucial to remember that rain can fall at any time of year in Mgahinga National Park due to its erratic climate. It is therefore always advisable to be outfitted with weather-appropriate clothing and equipment.
In Mgahinga National Park, golden monkey tracking is possible all year long, though the dry seasons are typically advised. If your travel dates are flexible, you might also think about going in the off-peak months (March to May and October to November), when there may be fewer tourists and lodging and permit costs may be less expensive.
It’s important to note that golden monkeys are not always available for tracking, and their movement patterns are not solely influenced by the weather. No matter the time of year, the park rangers and guides can help you find the golden monkeys because they are familiar with their habits.
For any specific updates or changes regarding the ideal time to visit Mgahinga National Park for golden monkey tracking, it is advised to check with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), local tour operators, or travel advisories before making any final travel arrangements.
What to pack for Tracking in Mgahinga National Park
It’s important to pack appropriately for golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga National Park to ensure your comfort and safety during the trek. Here are some crucial things to think about:
Strong Hiking Boots: For navigating the muddy trails and uneven terrain, sturdy hiking boots with ankle support are essential. Make sure they are comfortable and offer enough grip.
Lightweight Clothing: To stay comfortable during the trek, dress in lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing. To account for variations in temperature throughout the day, layering is advised. Wearing long-sleeved clothing can shield you from the sun, bug bites, and vegetation scratches.
Warm Jackets: Pack a waterproof jacket or poncho to protect yourself from sudden downpours or rain showers. To further protect your possessions, think about bringing a small backpack rain cover or a waterproof bag.
Hat and sunglasses: Cover your face and neck with a hat with a wide brim to protect you from the sun. To shield your eyes from the sun’s glare, UV-protective sunglasses are also necessary.
Insect repellent: Use insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes and other insects that may be present in the forested areas by rubbing it on exposed skin.
Snacks and Water: To stay energized throughout the trek, pack some small snacks like energy bars, nuts, or dried fruits. To stay hydrated throughout the day, it’s also crucial to pack enough water.
Camera or a pair of binoculars: Bring a camera or a pair of binoculars to capture the beauty of the golden monkeys and the local wildlife. Be sure to bring extra memory cards and batteries to prevent running out of space.
Daypack or backpack: Carry a convenient daypack or backpack to carry your belongings, such as water, snacks, a camera, rain gear, and any other necessities. Choose a pack with adjustable straps that is lightweight for a better fit.
Sunscreen and lip balm: Use sunscreen with a high SPF to shield your skin from the sun’s rays. Lip balm with SPF should always be carried to avoid chapped lips.
First Aid Kit: A basic first aid kit that contains necessities like Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any personal medications you may need is always a good idea.
Keep in mind to travel light and stay away from unnecessary items that could make you uncomfortable on the trek. It’s also a good idea to ask the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or your Achieve Global Safaris’s travel Consultant if there are any additional suggestions or requirements for what to bring when tracking golden monkeys in Mgahinga National Park. You can get in touch with us to arrange the trip of a lifetime for you.